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  • Locations: Liberia, Costa Rica
  • Program Terms: Spring
  • Restrictions: UC applicants only
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2019 10/31/2018
Rolling Admission 05/05/2019 05/14/2019

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.

Indicates that deadline has passed
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Program Type Detailed: UC Faculty-Led Program Program Type General: Faculty-Led
Level of Study: Graduate, Undergraduate Academic Theme: Law, Criminal Justice, and Social Work
Credit Offered: UC Credit Click here for a definition of this term Registration Term: Spring
Eligibility Restrictions: CAHS Students Only Language Courses Offered: No
Language of Instruction: English Click here for a definition of this term Language Prerequisite: No
Housing Options: Host Family Program Lead Faculty: Xan Boone
Program Advisor: Matthew Paul
Program Description:



Program Overview

Guanacaste is located in the North of Costa Rica and shares a border with Nicaragua.   Previously part of Nicaragua, it was annexed to Costa Rica in 1824.   The population is primarily mestizo, or mixed descendants of Spanish and Chorotega Indigenous groups. 
The primary economic activities are agriculture (cattle, sugar, cotton, and rice) and tourism.  The opening of the international airport in Liberia stimulated a boom in construction and tourist development throughout Guanacaste and led to an increase in tourist earnings.   Most of Costa Rica’s primary Pacific Coast beach destinations are located in Guanacaste.
The official point of entry to Costa Rica from Nicaragua is Penas Blancas, located about 1.5 hours north of Guanacaste’s capital city Liberia.  However, all along the Nicaragua/Costa Rica/Guanacaste border there are many blind spots where Nicaraguans cross without documentation, in search of economic opportunities and better living conditions. 
Nicaraguans living in Costa Rica and Guanacaste, work primarily in agriculture and construction.  Women work as domestic workers.  Some Nicaraguans migrate between Guanacaste and other provinces in search of agricultural work.  Others migrate back and forth between Nicaragua and Costa Rica.  Much of the money earned by Nicaraguans in Costa Rica is sent back to support their families in Nicaragua.   Remittances have become one of the main sources of foreign exchange in Nicaragua.

For our service project, we are going off the beaten path to the small rural communities of Bolson and Ortega, located about an hour and a half away from Liberia.    This is a perfect location to learn about the true culture, history, economy and people of the Guanacaste region.
The two communities are surrounded by sugar plantations, the primary economic activity.  In addition, the towns are near the Rio Tempisque and Palo Verde National park and many of the residents work in tourism on the river, as park guards, or in conservation efforts.   Much of the sugar cane work is done by Nicaraguan workers.    
The communities count on bus transportation, a clinic, two elementary schools, a soccer field, a restaurant and bar, and a community center.  They have potable water and sewage systems. We will live with families in simple but adequate conditions.    We will work with children’s groups, youth and adolescents, women, and the elderly population.   Community members and Viva Nicaragua! Center will give talks about Nicaragua and Costa Rica relations and Guanacaste.   We will visit schools and clinics to learn about the country’s model universal healthcare system and public schools.    Local guides will take us on a boat tour of the Rio Tempisque, we will visit sugarcane plantations and talk with Nicaraguan workers, make tortillas with our families, and learn about the customs, dance, music and the community’s Chorotega and Spanish roots. 

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Costa Rica is a beautiful country. We will be traveling to the northernmost part of CR, near the Nicaraguan boarder. This is an area with a large population of indigenous Costa Ricans. This is a very safe area and we will be able to work with the local communities as well as visit local agencies. Beyond the service work, we will participate in cultural activities and visit a beach.

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Who Can Participate?

Only students from CAHS will be allowed to enroll in this course.

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Academic Program and Course Information

All students in this program are required to enroll in SW 4141 section 001 (undergrad) or SW6131 -001 (grad) for a 1-3 flexible credit hours in the Spring term.

This course is a 1-3 flexible credit hour course that is taken in spring semester. Course days and times TBD. There are several assignments prior to departure, generally focused on learning about the culture, history and people of Costa Rica. We also have a large focus in the class of getting to know one another, travel expectations and preparation for our work while in CR. The class can be taken for 1, 2 or 3 credits in order to encourage those who want to travel but are not in need of elective credit hours to take the course with little to no cost to them in terms of the credit hours. The travel portion of the course will cost additional money. That cost will be billed to the student's account so that the student can manage the additional cost however they see fit through the bursar's office. Please see the proposed budget in the budget section of this application.
Tuition and fees are assessed based on total enrolled hours for a term. This includes the hours associated with the study abroad class. Students who enroll for more than 18 hours for the term will be assessed additional per credit hour fees over and above the flat fees associated with being enrolled full-time (for most students full-time is 12-18 hours).
Co-op students selected to participate in this program are required to enroll in the course during the designated term, regardless of when the student may be on co-op.  If the course is during a term when the student is on co-op, tuition and fees will be charged per a student’s residency status and college, based on the part-time per credit hour rate.
A student can see his/her full and part time tuition rates and college fees here (use left-side navigation menu to click into the relevant academic year):

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Professor Boone has been full-time faculty in the School of Social Work at UC for 11 years. She began leading study abroad courses 7 years ago. She has taken students to El Salvador and Nicaragua, and will add Costs Rica this academic year. She is passionate about these experiences therefore the course and the travel are full of very hard work combined with culturally significant activities and a lot of fun.

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Living Arrangements

Students stay in "home-stays" or hotels while in Costa Rica. There will be 2-4 students in each home stay. Some students will share a room and others will have their own room. These are families tin Costa Rica and have been vetted by the NGO Viva Nicaragua! with whom we partner for the travel experience. Students will not only sleep in the home stay, but they will be provided 3 meals a day from their home stay family. These homes have no air conditioning, but each student has a fan. There is rarely hot water, however, rarely does one want hot water in the Nicaraguan climate.

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Getting There

Travel arrangements will be made by me. We will all travel together from Cincinnati to Liberia, Costa Rica with one layover. Travel details TBD

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Program Costs

2019 Program Costs: $2500

Included in Program Cost:
  • Housing / accommodations
  • International airfare
  • Some meals (All breakfasts included)
  • In-country transportation for program-planned activities
  • Cultural excursions/entrance fees
  • International emergency and evacuation insurance
  • Professional translator and private guides
  • Discussions with Guest Lecturers
Not Included in Program Cost:
  • Tuition – (at your standard tuition rate)
  • Passport application/renewal fees (~$165)
  • Country Entry Fee ($10)
  • Tips ($10)
  • Checked bags (~$30)
  • Recommended/required immunization/vaccination fees (~$)
  • Some meals (~$)
  • Personal spending/souvenirs (~$)
This program has been awarded a $400 UC International Scholarship (matriculated, UC degree-seeking students only).  UC International scholarship requires a minimum 2.0 GPA.

Note that both program charges and UC International scholarship will be posted separately on a student’s OneStop bill on the semester in which the course for the study abroad experience is given.  Program charges are posted shortly after students commit to the program through the online application process.  Scholarships are posted after all students 1) register for the course connected to the study abroad experience, and 2) complete all study abroad online paperwork.

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UC Financial Aid and Scholarships

For full details on using your financial aid to help pay for your study abroad experience, you should contact UC Financial Aid.

UC International awarded over $800,000 in student scholarships last year. Please refer to the UC International webpage for more information.

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Passports and Visas

A valid passport is essential to your international travel and study abroad. If you are planning to travel abroad, it's best to apply for a passport now as processing times may vary. Please see for more information.

In order to obtain country-specific visa instructions and resources, refer to your host country’s embassy web page. One way to access this information is via the US Department of State’s webpage at:

UC International is happy to guide UC faculty, staff and students to possible resources about visas for study abroad. Although, applying for the necessary visa for travel is the responsibility of the individual UC traveler. Entry requirements change frequently, and we advise you to pay close attention to consular updates. It is your responsibility to know and address the requirements for your host study abroad destination.

Applying for a visa can be a complicated process. Some UC travelers choose a third party to assist with this process, for example Travisa or A Briggs (mention UC for a possible discount).

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Health and Safety Abroad

UC International is committed to student and faculty safety while abroad. The following are a few resources for travel abroad.

UC faculty, students and staff are responsible for their own health and safety abroad. The US Department of State, Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) and International SOS are excellent resources for country specific information.

UC partners with International SOS medical and security advice. UC code is 11BCAS000010

UC students, faculty and staff can utilize International SOS in the following ways:
  • Sign up to receive email alerts for medical and security information, customizable to various locations abroad
  • Read about travel health information with medical advice, food and water safety, and cultural tips
  • Explore travel security with personal safety tips and travel risk ratings for locations abroad

UC faculty, students and staff traveling abroad should register their travel abroad through the US Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in case of an emergency abroad.

All UC students participating in a University of Cincinnati sanctioned or funded international travel program are required to purchase and maintain insurance while abroad. UC International partners with CISI to provide insurance for UC students.

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Contacts for More Information

Xan Boone
1515 West French hall, office 1607
College of Allied Health Sciences School of Social Work

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This program is currently not accepting applications.