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Globalization and Community Health Field School in Costa Rica
Monteverde, Costa Rica; San Jose, Costa Rica (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Summer
This program is currently not accepting applications.
Courses Offered: Click here to view
Dates / Deadlines:
There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Language of Instruction:
Language Requirements:
Program Type:
USF Sponsored
Level of Study:
Graduate, Undergraduate
Open to:
Active USF Student
Credit Offered:
USF Credit
Program Advisor:
Nancy Di Bella
Minimum GPA:
Academic Good Standing
Sponsoring College:
Arts and Sciences
Program Primary Subject:
Program Description:
man and boy  

Program Overview

*Please note that this application is for GRADUATE (and upper level undergraduate who are not applying for the NSF funded study) only.  If you are seeking to apply for the undergraduate NSF grant funded study, please click here: *

**This program is open to both USF and non-USF students.  Non-USF students can click the "Apply Now" button and use their email address to begin an application.  Please note that before the selected students (they will be notified of this status after the application closes and the faculty review all applications) can accept their spot on the program, they must first go through our "How to Apply" page on the Education Abroad website to gather instructions on how to apply to USF as a non-degree seeking, transient student (and pay the $30 fee).  We will inform those students when it is time for them to take this step.**

The overseas component of this program will run June 9 - July 19.  Please note that this course has an online component before the overseas study from May 19 - June 6.

This unique program takes place in the highlands of northwestern Costa Rica. Monteverde, the program site, is part of the  famous Monteverde Reserve Complex, an area of preserves protecting over 100,000 acres of endangered tropical forest. USF partners with the Monteverde Institute (MVI) to offer the Globalization and Community Health Field School. The Monteverde Institute is a non-profit educational and research association, which works in partnership with  universities around the world and provides educational, cultural and social programs to the Monteverde community.  The summer field school offers graduate and upper-level undergraduate student training in qualitative and quantitative methods used to conduct community-based health related research in areas undergoing changes associated with globalization.  In addition to learning the methods, students work in small groups conducting research on issues identified by the local community and present their results to various stakeholders.

By participating in this program students will:

  • Study quantitative and qualitative methods for collecting and analyzing community health data  
  • Work in teams to design and carry out community-based research on various health topics (e.g., nutrition, reproductive health, environmental health, sexually-transmitted infections, and occupational health)
  • Collaborate with Costa Rican physicians and nurses and conduct a health clinic in a rural community
  • Learn about the Costa Rican health system and about different projects run by the University of Costa Rica School of Public Health and  Non-Governmental Organizations
  • Experience cultural immersion through optional Spanish language training and home-stays with Costa Rican families
  • Present their research findings and learn how to give presentations to different audiences including community members, health researchers, and social scientists

Check out this great video that a student from last year's program created!

Also, don't forget to read our news article that made the main page of USF's website last summer!

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Bordered by the Pacific Ocean on the west and the Caribbean on the east, Costa Rica is part of the land bridge between North and South America; its nearest neighbors are Panama to the southeast and Nicaragua to the northwest.  Its geographic location and climatic conditions give rise to an incredible diversity of ecosystems. A mountainous spine, also known as the continental divide, runs the length of the country dividing it into three general areas:  the Pacific coastal plains, the Central Valley and the Caribbean coastal lowlands.

Monteverde, the program site, is situated in Costa Rica's central highlands, in northwestern Costa Rica.  It is part of the famous Monteverde Reserve Complex, an area of preserves protecting over 100,000 acres of endangered tropical forest.  The Monteverde community was founded by North American Quakers in 1951.  The Montverde cloud forest reserve lies adjacent to the community.


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Host Institution

The program collaborates with the School of Public Health of the University of Costa Rica, several governmental and non-government organizations, and hospitals and clinics in the capital city and Puntaranas province, as well as in Monteverde. Research areas focus on nutrition, reproductive health, water and sewage, and more. Local members from Monteverde serve as community advisors for students as they carry out their research projects.


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Academic Program and Course Information

The Globalization and Community Health Field School is offered by the Department of Anthropology and attracts students from medical anthropology, public health, nursing, pre-medicine, and other health-related areas. The field school fulfills the methods requirement for graduate students in anthropology and, with authorization from PH faculty, can fulfill the field experience and special project requirements from public health.

Courses (six semester credit hours, required)

  • ANT 4495 / ANG7487 (3 credits) Methods in Cultural Research
  • ANT4930 / ANG 6465 (3 credits) Special Projects in Anthropology

Credit Type

Students enrolled in this program will be enrolled in direct USF credit.

The overseas component of this program will run June 9 - July 19. Please note that this course has an online component before the overseas study from May 19 - June 6.

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David Himmelgreen, Professor and Project Director
Nancy Romero-Daza, Professor and Project Director

Nancy Romero-Daza, along with David Himmelgreen, has directed over six seasons of the Globalization and Community Health Field School in Monteverde, Costa Rica.  She has also conducted two research projects in Monteverde in collaboration with the Monteverde Institute, the host institution for the field school. At present, Himmelgreen (PI) and Romero-Daza (Co-PI) are running a three-year research project funded by NSF on the impact of tourism on food security in the area.

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Program Costs

Program Cost for 2014:  $6755  

Payment Schedule
    Deposit Due (non-refundable)   $500
3/14/2014   25% Total Cost Due (Deposit factored in)   $1155
3/21/2014   25% Total Cost Due (Second Installment)   $1700
4/11/2014   25% Total Cost Due (Third Installment)   $1700
4/25/2014   25% Total Cost Due (Final Installment)   $1700
    Total Program Cost   $6755


The deadline for applying to the program is February 24th.  Please bear in mind that the remainder of the first 25% of the program cost is due on March 14h - we must have received this check by this date or have email verification that the check is on the way in order for your space to be reserved in the program.

 Please note, that if you are not a USF student, you will also need to apply to USF as a non-degree seeking student through us, the additional cost of which is $30, plus a $10 transcript fee.

A $500 program deposit is due at the time of program acceptance by the Program Directors in order to confirm a space in the program and to be registered for USF course credit.

Final balance of the program fee is due by April 25th.  This deadline is firm as it corresponds to when fees must be forwarded for your program.

Instructional and administrative costs
USF instructional cost and the administrative cost are due once credits and fees have been posted by the Education Abroad Office to the student's OASIS account. 

 Included Program Features:

  • Nine weeks of classes and structured research (3 weeks online, 6 weeks in Costa Rica)
  • Instructional equivalent of six USF credit hours (graduate and undergraduate levels)
  • Homestay accommodations with all meals
  • All program-related excursions and site visits
  • Guest lectures by internationally renowned anthropologists, nutritionists and other international health experts
  • Group ground transportation to and from San Jose airport
  • CISI Emergency Medical and Evacuation Insurance
  • Monteverde Intitute fees

Not Included in Program:

  • International airfare
  • Personal spending

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Living Arrangements

After the first few nights of hotel lodging in San Jose, the program moves to the highlands and to Monteverde. Here, homestay accommodations are used, in which students live with local families carefully selected by the Monteverde Institute.  This arrangement provides a more in-depth understanding of the daily life and customs of Costa Ricans, who are noted for their friendliness.  Also, language acquisition is much enhanced by daily interaction with the homestay families and the opportunity to practice speaking Spanish outside the classroom.   Another advantage of homestay lodging is that it includes all meals, thereby making the program more economical for the student. 

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Who Can Participate?

Upper-level undergraduate and graduate students of anthropology, public health and related disciplines will benefit most from participation in the field school program. Prospective participants should contact the USF program directors to inquire about the procedure for submission of applications. Acceptance into the program is at the discretion of the program directors.

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How and When to Pay

Please click here for further details regarding payment.

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Getting There

Program participants may make individual flight arrangements to arrive in San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica. The Monteverde Institute will arrange airport pick-up for those who arrive within a certain timeframe on the first day of the program. Further information on this will be provided by the Monteverde Institute.

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Medical Insurance and Travel Documentation

USF provides program participants with sickness/accident and emergency medical evacuation insurance valid for the dates of the program.  Those who will travel independently, either in advance of the program or after the program ends, must ensure that they have insurance coverage valid outside the U.S.  

Please click here for more detailed information.

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Financial Aid and Scholarship Funding

Many funding opportunities are available to USF students who are planning to study abroad.  Please see our funding page for further details.

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Safety & Health

Participant's safety and well-being are paramount to USF.  Please click here for detailed safety and health information given in our Pre-Departure Guide before you travel.  Also, don't forget to read up on country-specific information on the U.S. Department of State and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites. 

There are no vaccinations required at present for travel to Costa Rica.  Malarial mosquitoes are not a problem in the highlands.  Because Monteverde is located in a cloud forest, students should expect wet and often muddy conditions.  Students should be aware that this program involves an active schedule and entails a good deal of walking, on mostly unpaved surfaces. Those with health concerns or special requirements should discuss this with the Education Abroad Office and program director.

Scams Common in Costa Rica:

Thieves in Costa Rica often work in small groups. The most prevalent scam involves the surreptitious puncturing of tires of rental cars, often near restaurants, tourist attractions, airports, or close to the car rental agencies themselves. When the travelers pull over, "good Samaritans" quickly appear to help change the tire - and just as quickly remove valuables from the car, sometimes brandishing weapons. Drivers with flat tires are advised to drive, if at all possible, to the nearest service station or other public area and change the tire themselves, watching valuables at all times. Another common scam involves one person dropping change in a crowded area, such as on a bus. When the victim tries to assist, a wallet or other item is taken.

Personal Safety in Costa Rica:

While no country is free from threat to one's safety or health peril, Costa Rica is comparatively stable and secure.  Costa Rica has had democratic elections since the 19th century and has no military.  Sadly, the disparity in wealth between the poorest of Costa Rica's citizens and visitors to this country has led to an increase in theft, particularly in the capital city of San Jose.  Students should be vigilant and alert to their surroundings. For example, they should carry with them no more money than needed for one or two days, and certainly not their passport, which should remain locked up in a safe place.  A local orientation upon arrival will provide cautions and advice on how to stay safe and avoid becoming a potential target.

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Special Terms

Students should review carefully the Education Abroad Participant Contract, included in the Education Abroad application process. It describes students' responsibilities with regard to participation, and includes information on insurance, and cancellation and refund policies. Students will be asked to electronically sign this document.  To view this document before applying, please click here

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Contacts for More Information

Questions regarding study abroad, program enrollment, registration and payment of fees:

Heather Hartman
USF Education Abroad Office, CGS 103
Phone: (813) 974-4314

Questions pertaining to the research program in-country, courses or credits:

David Himmelgreen, Associate Professor and Project Director
Phone: (813) 974-1204

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This program is currently not accepting applications.