Costa Rica - 2018

Enrollment Deadline
Students applying after the application deadline date of Friday, March 30, 2018, can only be accepted on a space-available basis.


The "Adventures in Costa Rica" study abroad program will be offered through Coastline Community College from June 24 to July 28, 2018.

The minimum number of students for this program is *20. The maximum number of students we are expecting to accept into this study abroad program is 40.

All student participants must be at least 18 years of age by the time you sign up for this program.

*This program may be cancelled if enrollment is fewer than 20 student participants, as of March 28, 2018.

For additional information, please contact Kevin Donahue at

Did you know?

Costa Rica is located in Central America bordered by Nicaragua on the north, Panama on the southeast, the Pacific Ocean on the west and the Caribbean Sea on the east. It has a population of approximately 4.5 million, of whom nearly a quarter live in the metropolitan area of the capital and largest city, San José.

Because Costa Rica is located between 8 and 12 degrees north of the Equator, the climate is tropical year round. Costa Rica's seasons are defined by how much rain falls during a particular period. The year can be split into two periods: the dry season, known to the residents as summer, and the rainy season, known locally as winter. The "summer" or dry season goes from December to April, and "winter" or rainy season goes from May to November.

Costa Rica accounts for only 0.03 percent of the earth's surface (has only 51.100km2), however, it contains nearly 6 percent of the world's biodiversity! The system of National Parks and Reserves covers 25.6% of its land area, and includes islands, beaches, rain forests, active volcanoes, hot springs, caves, river canyons, and waterfalls.

The undomesticated ecosystems of Costa Rica are living examples of the high standard of environmental stewardship. Costa Rica has signed forty-five international environmental treaties (most ratified between 1990 and 2003). There have also been enacted numerous regulatory bodies such as the Organic Law of Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE, 1993), the Environment Law (1995), the Forestry Law (1996) and the Biodiversity Act (1998). These organizations address conservation and sustainable environmental management with great specificity. The Biodiversity Act meets the social demand to conserve and protect biodiversity and endangered species.

Our Academic Program

The services Costa Rican ecosystems provide to humanity are manifold. In our Human Ecology course (ECOL100) you will learn about environmental services such as wood, timber, plants, barks, roots, leaves, seeds, fruits, flowers, that have fueled their culture, industry and scientific research. You will also learn how the undomesticated environment helps to address to global concerns by controlling erosion, protecting water reserves and biodiversity, and storing carbon to mitigate the greenhouse effect.

You will combine art and science as you examine these natural systems through the eyes of an artist in our Drawing 1 (ART120) or Advanced Drawing (ARTC140) courses. Students will earn a total of six units of transferable college credit while sketching Costa Rica's culture and ecology, while learning about its heritage of environmental stewardship. All classes may be taken as graded or pass/no pass* and are transferable to CSU and UC. All classes meet General Education requirements for AA/AS degrees and transfer to CSU degrees, meeting Area B, Life Sciences, and Area C, Arts and Humanities, requirements.

All classes are taught in English. All students are required to attend all classes and other course-related activities such as, but not limited to, field trips, excursions, and as otherwise indicated by the instructor(s).

ART C120 "Drawing 1" 3 units (CCC) or ART C140 "Advanced Drawing", 3 units (CCC)

Instructor Eric Leffler will teach both classes. ART C120 is a drawing course for the beginning and intermediate student that includes the basic elements of shape, volume and perspective. The technical application of diverse drawing materials will include charcoal, graphite, ink, and colored media to create illusionistic space and form. Graded or Pass/No Pass option. Transfer Credit: CSU; UC.

*ART C140 is designed as a continuation of ART C120. This course will emphasize advanced artistic concepts, styles, and creative expression for intermediate and advanced students using a variety of drawing mediums, techniques, and methodologies. ADVISORY: ART C120. Letter Grade only. Transfer Credit: CSU; UC.

ECOL C100 "Human Ecology" 3 units (CCC)

Professor Tanya Murray will teach this course. ECOL C100 provides students with an understanding of the biological implication of man's interplay with the planet. The course is focused on the biological prospects of the future as viewed by examining the biosphere and biogeochemical cycles. Future predictions and current topics will be analyzed in relationship to planet management. Graded or Pass/No Pass option. Transfer Credit: CSU; UC.

Biology Faculty

Professor Tanya Murray

Tanya Murray joined the Coastline faculty in 2015 and has taught a variety of Biology courses including Human Anatomy, Introductory Biology, Environmental Science, and Botany at Saddleback and Golden West Colleges over the last 10 years. Her interests in the field of Biology are quite broad, and her experience in industry includes environmental consulting locally, and research for a neuroscience education institute. She currently teaches Diversity of Organisms, Introductory Biology, Marine Science, Human Ecology, and Human Anatomy at Coastline Community College. She also manages several student internship and research opportunities at Coastline. Dr. Murray earned her PhD in Biological Sciences from Syracuse University, where she studied microbial ecology and ecosystem sustainability in Yellowstone National Park. Her hobbies include surfing, horseback riding, hiking, yoga, and swimming. Her family is from Orange County, but she has had many diverse experiences living and traveling all over the US and in Europe.

Please contact Dr. Murray at or by phone at (714) 546-7600 ext 17243.

Art Faculty

Professor Eric Leffler

Professor Eric Leffler teaches Studio Art and Art History at Coastline Community College. He got his BFA in Painting and his BA in Spanish from Indiana University and then moved to Spain for three years, where he met his wife, and earned his MFA in Contemporary Art: Creation and Research. Besides constantly producing artwork, he also loves playing basketball on his Long Beach Parks and Rec team, and cheering on his favorite NBA team, the Indiana Pacers.

You are welcome to contact Eric at

Further Information

There will be one or two orientation meetings at Coastline Community College before departure to make sure all students are prepared for the trip. All instruction will take place in country.

We will spend some time using classrooms at a university in San José but for the most part, the cities, open country and the people of Costa Rica will be our primary classroom.

There will be numerous field trips and overnight excursions to places around the capital city of San José, the Caribbean, the Central Highlands and the beaches along the Pacific Ocean.

Please note
This program has an extensive amount of walking including navigating stairs/steps (sometimes without a handrail), hills, and rough terrain. Due to the climate, rain may cause slippery conditions. Additionally, all program participants are fully responsible for carrying their own luggage. There is no porterage.

What Is Included

Program components included in the student fee paid to the service provider:

  • Housing in single or twin rooms with a homestay family in San José. The families live within a short bus journey of the study center. Bed linen and weekly laundry service as well as internet access.
  • Daily breakfast and dinner with the family.
  • An orientation meeting in San José led by experienced AIFS staff, a student information packet including comprehensive student handbook, essential local area information, and half-day sightseeing tour of San José by public bus and on foot with the services of a professional, English-speaking guide.
  • A group welcome dinner.
  • One classroom that will accommodate up to 30 students, available for six hours per day, Monday to Thursday, at the Study Center. An LCD projector for use with the faculty laptop will be available in the classroom.
  • Access to the wireless-enabled AIFS Student Center and the services of an experienced AIFS Program Coordinator for information, advice, and 24-hour emergency contact service.
  • Three-day, two-night excursions to National Parks such as Tortuguero National Park, Refugio de Vida Silvestre Barra del Colorado, and Antonio Manuel National Park, including, roundtrip transportation by private bus, two nights' accommodation in a tourist class hotel in twin or triple-bedded rooms, all meals taken at the hotels, and the services of a professional English-speaking guide.
  • Full-day excursions to local destinations such as Braulio Carrillo National Park, Los Juncos Cloud Forest, Doka Coffee Plantation, Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfall Gardens, including round-trip transportation by private bus, entrance fees, breakfast and/or lunch, the services of a professional, English-speaking guide and an AIFS representative.
  • A farewell dinner.
  • Student medical and program fee refund insurance policies, as outlined in the AIFS insurance brochure. Coverage includes $100,000 accidental medical expense and $10,000 accidental death payment plus 24-hour emergency care assistance during the program and repatriation in cases of verified emergency beyond the students' control.
  • Accounting / billing services in the U.S.
  • Pre-departure information services and a toll-free contact number in the U.S.

Based on an enrollment of 20 to 29 paying student participants with 2 faculty members, for the services specified above, the fee per person is $3,175. Based on an enrollment of 30 to 39 paying student participants with 2 faculty members, for the services specified above, the fee per person is $3,075. Based on an enrollment of 40 or more paying student participants with 2 faculty members, for the services specified above, the fee per person is $2,975.


If a student withdraws: S/he receives a refund of:

  • On or before Friday, March 30, 2018: All fees paid less a $150 processing fee and any non-refundable deposits paid by the student or by AIFS on the student's behalf.
  • After Friday, March 30, 2018, but on or before Friday, April 27, 2018: All fees paid less the $450 deposit and any non-refundable deposits paid by the student or by AIFS on the student's behalf.
  • After Friday, April 27, 2018: No refund, and the total program fee is due.
  • Once the program has begun: No refund, unless AIFS suspends the program.

Because of covered medical reasons, all fees are paid less the $150 processing fee and $125 insurance premium.

Be sure to check this Web site for updated information and details on the 2018 Program. It is expected to fill to capacity very quickly.

For more information about this program, please contact instructors Tanya Murray by email at: or Eric Leffler via email at

What Is Not Included

  • Airfare. The service provider will offer a group flight.
  • Excess baggage fees, porterage.
  • Meals except as specified.
  • Additional fieldtrips, excursions, or other activities to those listed.
  • Personal expenses, course-required materials, passports and/or visas, and anything not listed as included.
  • Short-term outbound study abroad medical insurance (see below).
  • Enrollment fees; currently $46 per unit for California residents (as determined by the California state legislature). Non-California residents are charged a total of $277 per unit.
  • Costa Rican departure tax estimated to be $29.
  • Anything not specified.

Please note
The college may not be able to reasonably provide or ensure accessibility nor uphold all provision of Section 504 and the ADA when traveling outside the United States. The country of travel may have laws, customs, lack of resources, or other challenges that make the provision of a particular accommodation unreasonable.

Financial Aid Availability

Financial aid through Coastline's Financial Aid office may be available! Please see the Financial Aid page for more information and to get the ball rolling.

Passports and Customs Information

Visit the United States Federal Government Passports and Customs Information page. Please visit the US Department of State's Travel website to get information about obtaining or renewing your passport, as well as customs information you'll need before you return to the United States. People residing in America holding a foreign passport should contact their embassy or consulate, as a visa may be required.


All program participants are required to purchase short-term outbound study abroad medical insurance through an approved District insurance provider. Program participants can find further information on the required study abroad medical insurance at the Coast Community College District About Study Abroad page. Program participants must purchase this study abroad medical insurance no less than 60 days prior to program departure. Failure to purchase the required study abroad medical insurance shall prevent student from participating in the study abroad program. Note: You will be contacted by someone from Coastline to help you through this process.

The Coast Community College District reserves the right to cancel, change, append, add, or delete Programs or features of Programs. Dates, prices, locations, and other details indicated on this preliminary information page may not accurately reflect the actual Program offered in 2018, as Programs are still in the final planning stages. As of October 2017.

2018 Study Abroad Documents

Service Provider

The service provider chosen for this study abroad program is AIFS.

The American Institute For Foreign Study (AIFS) was founded in 1964 and since then, over 1.5 million students have participated in our educational and cultural exchange programs. Over 6,000 American college students study abroad each year with AIFS - approximately 2,000 of these are on customized programs (like yours!), and the rest are on independent enrollment programs. We run programs on six continents including 21 countries and 28 cities.

AIFS pioneered customized programs, which are formal arrangements between educational institutions and AIFS in which AIFS provides logistical support, student services, classrooms, housing facilities and cultural activities at a location abroad.

Faculty from the home institution teach their curriculum abroad, and the institution maintains academic control over the program. Students pay a non-academic program fee directly to AIFS.

Since 1964, AIFS has been at the forefront of international education and study abroad, with a commitment to high academic standards, health and safety practices, and a dedication to supporting students in order to maximize their time abroad.

All content on this webpage is accurate as of October 2017.

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