Biology department offers Costa Rica study abroad summer trip

Photos from the Saddleback biology department’s 2017 study abroad trip to Brazil. Kat Johnson | Lariat

Saddleback’s study abroad program will offer a trip to Costa Rica this summer from May 30 to June 12 with a focus on biology, with support from AIFS Abroad. The biology department began hosting information sessions via Zoom, the first held on Jan. 24. Applications are due at the end of February.

Biology professors Bruno Passareli and Marcelo Pires will host the trip. AIFS spokesperson Paula Messina helped at the info session. Messina hosted the meeting and shared a presentation detailing the trip and the program.

“It’s a great investment in your future to go abroad, and having it on your transcript is most likely to help you transfer to a Cal State or UC,” Messina said. 

She went on to explain that students must be enrolled in BIO 230 Biology Field Studies: Coastal Ecosystems, which counts for 1 unit. Studies of the ecology also lead into the origin of estuaries, estuarine shores and substrates, as well as flora and fauna identification. Coursework will entail  journals and worksheets, Pires said at the info event. 

“We want people to have fun even with the assignments so there will be a picture assignment as well,” Pires said. 

Alongside assignments, students will also participate in physical activities like hiking, rafting, ziplining and swimming. There is a set day to day schedule for all activities as participants travel along the coast into national parks from San Jose all the way to The Coffee plantation. 

Notably one of the favorite locations of Passareli and Pires is the canal tour and beach walk at Tortuguero National Park.

“I’m warning you that you will get wet, tired and go through a lot of hiking throughout the day on this trip, so make sure you are prepared for that,” Passareli said. “There are also so many animals to be seen so make sure that you stay aware of your surroundings and don’t trip on any iguanas.”

Accommodations for the trip will be most food and rooms at hotels or inns, but the airfare and tuition fees are up to those who wish to sign up. There are plenty in the program who can help to recommend the best flights. Medical insurance will also covers up to $100 in the event of an emergency. 

For students who are worried about the costs there are a number of solutions that were given in the presentation.

“Students can get scholarships in the AIFS program which aren’t as competitive as you think,” Messina said.

A second info session occurred on Monday Jan. 30, reiterating the event as well as getting emails with the application to those who wish to join until the application deadline on Feb. 24 and the final payment deadline on Apr. 5.

Initial payments total to $450 with the final being $3,295. However if more than 20 students join, the price will be discounted to $3,095. So make sure to spread the word so that the trip may come at a better cost for everyone who wishes to be involved.