Costa Rica Community Development CourseSupport long term initiatives to fight educational inequality in Costa Rica
Join our comprehensive service learning course in Quepos, Costa Rica. Contribute to sustainable long term community projects while completing supplemental educational assignments. Gain a deeper understanding of international development, global citizenship, and intercultural competency.Enquire Now
This inter-disciplinary course, accredited by universities and colleges around the world, introduces students to international service-learning and sustainable development, both in content and practice, in Quepos, Costa Rica.
Through lectures, discussion, research, service, and reflection (beginning two weeks prior to their departure and continuing two weeks after their return home), students in this course engage in meaningful, context-driven service-learning at home and abroad. Emphasis will be placed on relating long-term project goals with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and engaging in daily reflection surrounding the experience, which will be lead by qualified group facilitators who are trained to enhance individual student development. The course curriculum will be tailored to your students’ academic needs as well as any faculty requirements.
A GVI service-learning course provides students with access to skill development and practical experience while engaging with a rigorous curriculum. By participating in this course, students will be prepared and encouraged to discuss and contribute to solutions for critical global issues related to sustainable development, within a local community and alongside an international team. By providing students the opportunity to live and work within the “classroom” of their chosen field of study, they will develop professional capacities associated with intercultural competency, global citizenship, teamwork, problem-solving, and leadership.
For full details of the curriculum, you can download our Service Learning Curriculum PDF here.
Participants in this course will:
- Experience global learning contexts associated with international service-learning
- Learn about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and how they are implemented both domestically and abroad;
- Explore their role as a development actor through in-country service-learning and reflection;
- Develop greater intercultural competency, global awareness, and a sense of global citizenship; and
- Enhance personal and professional capacities of writing, reflection, communication, flexibility, adaptability, teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving.
The Project in Quepos:
The objectives for each GVI project are based on specific United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In Quepos, students will largely contribute to need-based community development projects in Quepos’ surrounding township areas, that primarily improve the general infrastructure and learning environments for local disadvantaged children. These initiatives collectively incorporate the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals listed below:
- SDG no.1: End poverty in all of its forms everywhere
- SDG no.4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning
- SDG no.9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and forest innovation
- SDG no.10: Reduce inequalities within and among countries
- SDG no.16: Promote just, peaceful, and inclusive societies
The course will focus on improving basic human rights through educational development, infrastructure improvement, and reciprocal cultural exchange. Students will critically examine their individual and collective on the ground impact asking pertinent questions in order to evaluate their successes and challenges. They will receive continuous support from qualified staff members who will help relate and connect the students involvement with the community development projects and the SDG’s.
Please note that courses can tailored to a group’s in-class curriculum; however, specific work will always be dependent on the needs of the community and our local partners at the time.
Our projects are located in the beautiful town of Quepos, in the Puntarenas Province of Costa Rica. Quepos is about 157km south of the country’s capital city of San Jose, and is known as the gateway to the world-famous Manuel Antonio National Park. Surrounded by palm plantations and rain-forest, the town contains an array of wildlife, including monkeys and exotic birds such as the toucan. In and around the national park the area is famed for its beautiful beaches and hiking trails, making this location an exceptional place to visit and be a part of the Tico way of life.
This course varies in duration, depending on project requirements as well as cultural expeditions or activities. The below outlines a one week course; however, your in-country service can run for as many weeks as set by your academic curriculum, objectives, and requirements.
Two weeks prior to departure, students will be assigned readings and assignments. These assignments make sure they have a basic cultural understanding of Quepos and it’s local conservation-based issues; a foundational understanding of international service learning and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; and begin a dialogue surrounding global engagement. Materials will be chosen based on collaboration with the group’s educational leader to ensure the work fits within the group’s in-class curriculum.
Day 1- Arrival at San Jose Airport and Transfer to Base
On arrival, the group will be met at San Jose’s International Airport by a GVI representative or staff member. Students and accompanying teachers or chaperons will be transferred to their hostel accommodation where they will have time to settle in and rest. There will be an initial welcome presentation and introduction to the GVI staff, history and background of the projects, as well as a health and safety breakdown. In the evening a reflection period will take place in which participants will debrief and review their initial reactions and observations on the experience and location.
Day 2- Arrival in Quepos
Accompanied by a GVI staff member or representative, the group will journey by bus 3.5 hours to Quepos where the trip will be based. The group will meet for an afternoon orientation and welcome session. The week’s logistics, duties and responsibilities will be explained, and students will be given an introduction to the service-learning structure. Materials and tools will also be prepped so as to maximize productivity for the upcoming days.
Days 3-5- Daily Structure: Service, Education, and Reflection
Students will be transported daily to the project construction sites where they will work side-by-side local community members and our partner organizations. Specific projects will depend on the needs of the centers at the time, and could involve engagement in construction and renovation projects, as well as creative activities, basic healthcare and hygiene programs, and sports development initiatives.
All service elements will be connected to a greater understanding of the cultural context in which the students are working. Assignments, in the form of lectures, readings, written response papers, journal entries, group presentations, and miscellaneous creative projects will be conducted daily to enhance student learning from their service involvement. Daily reflection sessions will act as the bridge that connects and helps to synthesize the many aspects of the experience.
Particular emphasis will be placed on the ways in which participants are working towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Students will critically examine their part in this process, by analyzing their contributions, challenges, and observations.
Day 6- Presentation of Work and Exploration
The group will spend the day presenting the work they have done and the impact they have been a part of to the local partners in Quepos. In the afternoon the group will spend time exploring the surrounding area. The exact activity will vary based on group preferences, but may include a visit to the stunning beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park, partaking in a surf lesson, or trekking through the rain-forest and taking in the local fauna and flora.
Day 7- A Fond Farewell
GVI field staff transfer the team back to the airport and bid them a fond farewell! GVI will endeavor to keep the group informed of any updates there might be in the field, with particular reference to the projects participants contributed to during their time in Costa Rica.
Students will continue to engage with active reflection and educational expansion two weeks after leaving Quepos, with emphasis placed on incorporating the international experience, and insights gained which are then applied to the students’ home context. Assignments will involve generating ideas to continue global engagement, connecting the experience to personal and career goals, and reflecting on the insights gained while in the field.
What’s Not Included
Please note prices are subject to seasonal fluctuation and will vary depending upon the needs of the group. **Optional extras include travel insurance and flight services
My expectations were surpassed by miles. I had a better time than I could ever have dreamed of having.Sara Morrison, UK