Clean Community Water Systems – Analysis and Implementation: Costa Rica

Program Overview

Eligibility Criteria

Open to all UBC students. A background in engineering or health sciences encouraged.

Partner Organization

Our community partner is Quelonios del Caribe, located in Barra del Pacuare, 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 the Quelonios del Caribe site Roberto oversees projects in sea turtle, 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.

Project Description

Quelonios del Caribe is located in the community of Pacuare, on a sandy coastline which has a unique set of agricultural conditions. UBC students will do an assessment of the community water system in Pacuare, concentrating on the location of water, the system of purification, as well as the availability of access. Further tasks include, but are not limited to; designing a plan to implement healthier drinking water collection systems, as well as designing a plan to improve wastewater management.

This placement will require a high degree of initiative and problem-solving – and will need to work closely with Quelonios del Caribe staff to figure out how to work toward the vision for the program with very few resources. This will involve building effective relationships within the communities, developing a plan in collaboration with Quelonios staff, and developing strategies for these projects.

The aim of this internship is to provide assistance to Quelonios del Caribe while learning about environmental conservation, social change, and community development in Costa Rica. This will also develop understanding of the role of community spaces in providing necessary resources to various community demographics, understanding the complex issues surrounding poverty and community development, and to appreciate the social, economic, and cultural factors relevant to implementing policy.


You will live with on site at Quelonios del Caribe, in hostel-style accommodations.

Program Dates

Date Activity
September 24, 2017 Program applications accepted until full OR until 11:59pm on Sunday, September 24th, 2017, whichever comes first.
Late October – November 2017 Orientation and pre-departure learning sessions (all successful applicants will be expected to be in attendance at all sessions)
January – April 2018 12 weeks of fieldwork in an International Service Learning placement
Late April – May 2018 Re-entry debrief and Public Engagement Event

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

Program Costs

The costs below are per student. Exact program costs are not confirmed at this time, but will be within the following ranges.

Location Program Fee
Costa Rica $4,600-4,800