Costa Rica Conservation CourseContribute towards protecting the incredible biodiversity of Costa Rica
Live on a remote research station while partaking in our conservation focused service learning course. Learn about rainforest ecosystems while assisting with turtle, jaguar, bird, and forest conservation projects. Complete educational assignments which complement the on the ground experience.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 Jalova, 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 objectives for each GVI project are based on specific United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In Jalova, students will largely contribute to pre-established environmental monitoring and research initiatives by collecting and reporting critical data. Emphasis will also be placed on increasing awareness surrounding pertinent conservation issues and knowledge of the local environment. These initiatives collectively incorporate the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals listed below:
- SDG no.6: Ensure access to water and sanitation for all
- SDG no.7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all
- SDG no.12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
- SDG no.13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact
- SDG no.15: Sustainable manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss.
The program will focus on gaining a better understanding of the local ecosystem in Jalova and preserving it’s biodiversity. Other elements that may be examined are water security, climate energy, and access to clean energy. 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.
GVI’s Jalova base is a research station in the Tortuguero National Park. The park is bordered by the Caribbean sea, where you will find a beach that’s home to one of the largest nesting colonies of Green Turtles in the world. The other three sides of the park are home to protected rain-forest. All transportation into the park is via canoe or motor boat along the canal and river systems. Students will spend their time surrounded by amazing scenery and wildlife in the canals, tropical rain-forest, and Caribbean beaches.
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 Jalova 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. Participants will be transferred to their hostel accommodation and given 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.
Day 2- Arrival in Tortuguero
Accompanied by a GVI staff member or representative, the group will journey by bus 3.5 hours and then 45 minutes by boat to base. The group will meet for an afternoon orientation and welcome session where they will discuss the week’s logistics, duties and responsibilities, and receive an introduction from the local partners. Materials and tools will also be prepped to maximize productivity for the following days. 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.
Days 3-6- Daily Structure: Service, Education, and Reflection
The exact project will be based on the requirements of our local partners at the time. The group can expect to be involved in a variety of environmental awareness activities, discussions, and lectures. This may include bird walks, biodiversity surveys, species identification, and rain-forest ecology.
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 7- A Fond Farewell
GVI field staff will 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 and with particular reference to the projects students contributed to during their time in Costa Rica.
Students will continue to engage with active reflection and educational expansion two weeks after leaving Costa Rica, 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