HIST 403K: Ecological and Environmental History of Costa Rica

Program Overview

Applications for this program are currently closed.  Applications for fall co-circular programs will open soon. Check back in July/August for more information about summer 2020 programs.

Eligibility Criteria

Students who have completed their second year (54 credits) by January 1, 2019. A major in History is not required for this course, we encourage all disciplines to apply! ARA Funding eligibility information can be found here.

History 403K has multiple components

  • Pre-departure learning program from Late January – May 2019
  • Intensive Seminars run during the month of May on the UBC Vancouver Campus
  • 12 weeks of fieldwork in an International Service Learning placement in Costa Rica from early June – August 2019
  • Return seminar and final coursework on campus in September 2019
  • Re-entry debrief and International Development Symposium on campus in September – October 2019

Course Description

Costa Rica encompasses one of the most ecologically diverse regions of the world, with 10,000 kinds of trees and plants, almost 900 species of migrant and indigenous birds, more than 30,000 types of insects, and 200 varieties of mammals. History 403 is a three credit course that will give students an in depth look at the ecological and environmental history of Costa Rica through a transnational perspective. This course will explore the history of human interaction with, and challenges to, that ecology, as well as past, ongoing and current state and NGO efforts to preserve it. Specific topics include the emergence and impact of plantation economies of coffee and bananas on local the ecology; the growth of efforts to protect biodiversity in the country; the successes and failures associated those efforts; the origins and history of national parks, reserves, and conservation regions; recent critiques of sustainable development in the region; the history and challenges of eco-tourism, including human interaction with animals; and the role that protected areas play in reducing poverty in the country. In examining these topics the course will take a broadly comparative and international perspective, and will fulfill the History as well as International Relations BA major seminar requirements. Students will relate their classroom learning to the “real- world” through an international service learning placement in Costa Rica.  Students’ field placements will be organized and facilitated by staff at UBC’s Office of Regional and International Community Engagement.

*Course credit for this course is 3 credits.

Placement Descriptions

As a part of History 403K, you will be enrolled in an International Service Learning placement in Costa Rica. Placements go from late May – August 2019.

Costa Rica:

Our community partner is ASVPA, with two locations, one in Barra del Pacuare and the other one in Matapalo, Costa Rica. Students will work on an ecological service project alongside Roberto Solano Cordero, the lead biologist overseeing the project. Roberto is a biologist by profession although he also carries titles as an educator among other things. At ASVPA, Roberto oversees projects in sea turtle, sloths, and other species conservation as well as training and education in the area of sea turtle ecology and biological management. He has also worked for the National Maritime Patrol, the National Coast Guard Service, the Ministry of Education, as well as different associations and non-governmental organizations dedicated to conservation. Roberto has been a teacher, naturalist guide for tourism, environmental consultant, project manager, volunteer coordinator, and youth leader. He strongly believes in experiential learning as it is the best way to gain fulfilling work experience that will help shape future career paths.

Living Environment

In Costa Rica you will live in hostel-style accommodations with modest living conditions on the placement site.

Program Dates

Date Activity
Sept 01, 2018 Program application open. Applications are currently being reviewed in the order received.
January – April 2019 Orientation and pre-departure learning sessions (all successful applicants will be expected to be in attendance at all sessions)
May, 2019 HIST 403 course
Late May – August 2019 12 week International placement including a facilitated workshop approximately mid-way through (exact dates TBA)
September 2019 HIST 403 Course – Post Placement seminar and assignments due (exact times TBA)
September – October 2019 ISL Post-placement reflection sessions and Public Engagement Presentation

**Please note these dates may be adjusted but will be confirmed prior to offer

Program Costs

Location Full Program Fee with 70% ARA Funding
Costa Rica $4,600 – $4,900 $1,380 – $1,440

NOTE: The ISL Program fee is separate from UBC course tuition. Tuition dues will be appear on your Student Services Centre account at the beginning of the term(s) in which you receive course credit.  

Program cost includes:

  • Pre-departure learning sessions at UBC
  • Room and board
  • Transportation from the airport to your placement site
  • Orientation in host country
  • In-session debrief and workshop part way through your placement
  • Reflection materials
  • Community partner management fee
  • Program management fee

*Fees may be adjusted before offer. Program costs vary primarily due to cost of living expenses per country and region. Placements may be in other countries where ISL community partners are located

Program cost does not include:

The following expenses are not covered in program costs and are the responsibility of the student.

  • Tuition
  • Airfare* (see ARA funding notes for airfare coverage information)
  • Visas
  • Vaccinations
  • Local transportation while in country
  • Transportation from the project site back to the airport at the end of the placement
  • Personal items, and daily incidentals. You will be required to bring your own laptop

Process & Timeline

Selection Process

Applications for this program are currently closed. To apply please fill out and submit an online application. Successful applicants will be invited to an interview. After interviews, you will be notified of a decision; successful candidates will be sent an offer letter with further details on the program and detailed instructions on how to accept. You will have approximately one week after receiving the offer letter to accept and pay a program deposit. Your selection into the ISL program includes meeting eligibility requirements, as well as your initial application and your performance in the interview.

Don’t wait to apply, spaces are limited!

Pre-Departure Overview

The pre-departure learning program is designed to prepare you for an international service learning placement. This will include:

  • Pre-departure learning sessions taking place over the academic term leading up to departure led by staff and community development professionals.
  • Creation of a learning and development plan
  • Participant-led events/presentations
  • Facilitated meetings with your placement team to explore learning topics

Post-Placement Overview

You will participate in post-placement activities in September – October 2019, including:

  1. A full day to debrief in September 2019
  2. Return seminar and final coursework in September 2019
  3. Presentation at an International Development Symposium in October 2019