Soils, Crops and Water of Costa Rica

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Soils, Crops and Water of Costa Rica - Fall 2019
Costa Rica
Wednesday, November 20, 2019 to Thursday, November 28, 2019
Type of Travel: 
Travel Course
Application Deadline: 
Saturday, August 10, 2019
Program Director(s): 

Travel to Costa Rica to see land, water and cropping system and do a field study of the soils, crops and water uses in Costa Rica. The main activity is interactive visits to farms (pineapple, coffee, avocado, vegetable, dairy) that will include examination and discussion of soils, soil data, crops, cropping methods, water use and marketing strategies. 

Program Goals
To introduce students to the tropics of Central America such that they appreciate the challenges and opportunities that location offers in terms of agriculture, the environment and the culture.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the soils, crops and water sources and uses in Costa Rica
  • Be competent with comparing and contrasting Costa Rica and central USA agriculture and environmental quality
  • Value the people, culture & place of Costa Rica
  • Appreciate English and Spanish language.

Participant Selection Criteria

  • Open to all students with an interest in and willingness to travel through northern Costa Rica. Slight prefernce will be given to students majoring in Agronomy, Environmental science and GLOBE
  • Ability to walk unaided through Cost Rica fields and across sometimes hilly landscapes
  • No big dietary limitations
  • In good academic standing, recommended by academic advisor

Course Information

You will earn a total of 3 credits for the AGRON 496 or Globe 496 or En Sci 496 during Fall Semester

AGRON / En Sci / GLOBE 496- This course has a  pre-departure course component and a travel component.

For Pre-departure part of the course, class will meet during the fall semester at a location and a time TBD. This course will

  • Set the tone for the program
  • Discuss academic portion 
  • Lay out expectations and procedures 
  • Answer your questions and concerns
  • Cover topics about itinerary, accommodation, meals, safety, health, logistics, travel documents, finances and more

Travel portion of the course will take place during the Thanksgiving Break

Students must take both the on campus course and complete the travel component.

Program Fee
$3,000 (includes roundtrip airfare, some meals, lodging, CISI health insurance, in-country arrangements)

Other Fees
$105 study abroad administrative fee charged by Study Abroad Center in 3224 MU (charged directly to U-bill)

Out of Pocket Expenses
$175 Passport and mailing*
$250 some meals, souvenirs, toiletries, cell phone fees, visa (if required), vaccines and preventative medications

*If you are a first time traveler in CALS and need a passport, click here to find out how you can get the cost of your passport reimbursed

Scholarships available to students majoring in the Department of Agronomy and for CALS students participating in Agronomy study abroad programs (study abroad programs require enrollment in Agron 496). Learn more about the individual opportunities or contact the Department of Agronomy for any questions. 

Other Scholarship Resources

Office Of Students Financial Aid

Affording to go

Iowa State University Student Affairs Scholarships

Application Process
To be considered in the selection process, applicants should have completed the program application in its entirety before the application deadline of August 10, 2019.

  • Once the selection process is complete, you will be notified about the decision.
  • If you are accepted to the program you will be required to commit or decline participation.
  • Typically you will be given 7 to 10 days with a specific commitment date to finalize your decision.

Once you commit to the program, you are officially a participant in the program and will be responsible for all the program cost outlined in the budget. If you withdraw your participation after committing to a program, you will be responsible for all non-refundable payments that were made on your behalf and these charges will be charged to your U-bill.

Tentative Program Itinerary

Wednesday, November 20
Travel to Liberia, Costa Rica
Stay at Earth University, La Flor after being picked up at the airport by Gaby and Eduardo

Thursday, November 21
Visit commercial rice, sugar cane, livestock production in the dryland tropics at EARTH
Travel to El Tucano Resort discussing Arenal Lake, Costa Rica national irrigation projects and Volcano Arenal enroute
Lunch at EARTH
Dinner at Que Rico Arenal Restaurante

Friday, November 22
Visit pineapple fields, processing and export at Finca Fertnyc in the humid lowland tropics; describe Ultisols& Alfisols
Lunch at Finca Fertnyc
Dinner at either Steak House Cuca or El Tucano Resort

Saturday, November 23
Visit Finca Ira Rosa and organic vegetable farms, describe volcanic ash & Andisols
Lunch at Rancho Ceci’s in Zarcero
Dinner at El Tucano Resort.

Sunday, November 24
Travel to Santa Maria de Dota
Learn about local culture & nature from Gaby; Cabinas Cecilia

Monday, November 25
Visit coffee production & processing at San Marcos de Tarrazu followed by avocados and highland fruit farming
Describe mountain dynamics and Inceptisols; Cabinas Cecilia.

Tuesday, November 26
Discuss oil palm and banana production enroute to Jaco
Review highland geomorphology through coastal processes, Best Western Jaco Beach.

Wednesday, November 27
Stop at River Tarcoles, followed by visit national irrigation project enroute to Hilton Hotel, Liberia
Lunch at Rincon Corobici
Dinner at Hilton Hotel.

Thursday, November 28
Travel from Liberia to ISU

Note:  Due to international quarantine restrictions service animals cannot be accommodated on our study abroad programs. For more information, please contact the Iowa State University Student Accessibility Services Office.  

Important Notice Regarding Missing Classes
Please note that participation in this travel course will require you to be gone from campus for some school days. The College of Agriculture & Life Sciences tries to minimize the number of days missed for this purpose, but in some events, the inflexibility of the travel schedule prevents us from working completely within our breaks.  Should you choose to enroll in this travel course that requires missing some class(es) on campus, you will need to contact your instructor directly to inquire whether or not arrangements can be made to make up this class work and/or exams.  The CALS Study Abroad office can provide you with a letter explaining the dates of the trip.  However, it is your responsibility to contact the instructor to determine the potential impact on your grade before signing up for this Study Abroad program.  The instructor is responsible for determining the impact of any absence from class.