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Programs : Brochure

This page is the brochure for your selected program. You can view the provided information for this program on this page and click on the available buttons for additional options.
  • Locations: Monteverde, Costa Rica; San Jose, Costa Rica
  • Program Terms: Summer
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2017 02/15/2017 ** Rolling Admission 06/10/2017 07/22/2017

** 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.
Fact Sheet:
Language Requirements:
Level of Study:
Credit Offered:
USF Credit
Program Advisor:
Nancy Di Bella
Sponsoring College:
Arts and Sciences
Program Primary Subject:
Engineering, Social Sciences
Program Description:

man and boy  

Program Overview

*Please note that this NSF grant funded study is open to UNDERGRADUATES only.  If you are seeking to apply for the graduate study (or non-funded upperlevel undergraduate 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 10 - July 22.  Please note that this course has an online component before the overseas study from May 19 - June 9.

 The “REU Site, Globalization and Community Health Field School: Combining Social Science and Engineering” is an intensive 9-week summer program conducted in Monteverde, Costa Rica, in association with the Monteverde Institute.  The field school’s goal is to provide students with rigorous training on both qualitative and quantitative methods from anthropology and environmental engineering, and to guide them in conducting interdisciplinary community health research in areas of the world undergoing rapid change as a result of globalization.

The field school is designed for students in anthropology, public health, environmental engineering, and other related fields. It is structured to provide students with the opportunity to visit a health clinic, government agencies, and community based organizations, as well as to interact with personnel from the Ministry of Health, the School of Public Health at the University of Costa Rica, and with community organizers.

Under the guidance of faculty members from Anthropology and Engineering, students conduct research in local communities on issues related to health that can be addressed from a cross-disciplinary perspective. Topics of special interest include: small scale agriculture and the management of grey water, and animal and human waste. Students present their results in English and in Spanish, in an academic and community setting. In addition, students design and participate in a day-long education fair in one of the local towns and immerse themselves in the culture of the area by living with home-stay families.

Check out this great video that a student from the 2013 program created!

Click here to read this blog entry by one of the engineering participants: BLOG

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The program will begin in San Jose, Costa Rica.  There, the students will visit non-governmental organizations that focus on the topics that the students will be addressing through their research; these sites include water management plants and ACEPESA (the Central Americaan Association for the Economy, Health, and the Environment).  Thereafter, students will go to the Monteverde (rural mountain area) where they will learn qualitative and quantitative community health methods from anthropology and civil and environmental engineering, design their research projects, and carry out the research in small inter-disciplinary teams. The students will participate in homestays with local Costa Rican families which will allow them to work on their Spanish language skills and learn about Costa Rican culture. During the field school, students will have a three-day weekend so that they can relax and explore more of the Monteverde zone or visit other regions of Costa Rica such as the Pacific Coast (3 hours away).


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Host Institution

The program collaborates with several governmental and non-government organizations in the capital city, as well as in Monteverde. Research areas focus on small scale sustainable agriculture, water and sanitation. 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 coordinated by medical anthropology and civil environmental engineering faculty in collaboration with the Monteverde Institute (MVI), a research institute with 30 years of work in the local community.  This program is very intensive and requires students to dedicate a minimum of 35 to 40 hours a week. 

Students can opt to enroll in six academic credits (tuition not funded by NSF grant).

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 10 - July 22.  Please note that this course has an online component before the overseas study from May 19 - June 9.


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Nancy Romero-Daza, Professor and Project Director, Medical Anthropologist
David Himmelgreen, Professor, Bio-cultural/Nutritional Anthropologist
Sarina Ergas, Professor and Program Co-Director, Civil and Environmental Engineer 

Nancy Romero-Daza and David Himmelgreen have directed over ten seasons of the Globalization and Community Health Field School in Monteverde, Costa Rica.  They have also conducted several research projects in Monteverde in collaboration with the Monteverde Institute, the host institution for the field school. Their research has centered on topics such as the impact of globalization on community health, including food insecurity, reproductive health, occupational health, and environmental health.

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Program Costs

The National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1156735 covers the vast majority of the costs for this program.

Included Program Features:

  • Group ground transportation to and from San Jose airport
  • Six weeks of classes and structured research in Costa Rica
  • Homestay accommodations with all meals
  • All program-related excursions and site visits
  • Guest lectures by internationally renowned anthropologists, nutritionists and other international health experts
  • International airfare
  • Weekly stipend

Required Additional Costs to consider:

  • Non-Degree Seeking Student application fee (if not a current USF Student) - $30 NON-REFUNDABLE
  • Non-Degree Seeking Student transcript fee (if opting for credit) - $10
Optional Additional Costs to Consider:
Instructional and Administrative costs to take classes for credit - TBD
Personal Spending (varies)

Students must "commit" to the program, after being accepted by the Program Directors in order to confirm a space in the program.  

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

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Living Arrangements

After the first few nights of hotel lodging in San Jose, the program moves to the highlands of 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 (junior and senior) undergraduate students of anthropology, public health, environmental engineering and related disciplines will benefit most from participation in the field school program. Language proficiency is required since the students will conduct research in Spanish. Students who are considering graduate level education are especially encouraged to apply. Prospective participants should contact the USF program directors to inquire about further details regarding the grant and academics of the program. 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 overseas component 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 country-specific safety and health information given in our Country Study Report. Make sure 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:

Nancy Di Bella
USF Education Abroad Office, CGS 103
Phone: (813) 974-1969

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

Nancy Romero-Daza, Professor and Project Director
Phone: (813) 974-2138

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