Lafayette in Costa Rica
Lafayette is proud to offer a faculty-led study abroad program in the fall based at Universidad Veritas in San José, Costa Rica. For students interested in fields such as environmental studies, Latin American studies, international relations, international business, and film and media studies, this program will be an exciting opportunity to enhance their Lafayette education.
All students will take an immersion course in Spanish, matched to their level of competence, as well as the Cross-cultural Psychology course, in which they will learn how cultures affect individual personality, thoughts, values, behaviors, and social interactions. Rounding out students’ schedules will be two other courses from a wide range of topics, including environmental sciences, art & humanities, business & economics, health & human development, history, politics, and international relations. Many of these courses have field trips and guest speakers, so students will be able to experience the application of the content.
Costa Rica is a stable democracy with a high standard of living, whose people are gracious and welcoming of tourists, the major source of income. The country is geographically diverse, with many micro-climates that are home to a plethora of unique plant and animal life. Because of Costa Rica’s relatively small size and Universidad Veritas’ central location in the capital city, San José, these different ecosystems can be visited easily on weekend trips.
San José is rich in cultural activities (including museums, theater, dance, and concerts), while the university offers numerous extracurricular activities including cooking classes and dance lessons. Additionally, a wide range of exciting activities are available nearby, such as zip-lining through the rain forest, whitewater rafting, kayaking, horseback riding, ATVs, hiking, and hot springs.
Lafayette includes various local and regional excursions as part of the program. Two weekend trips will show students different areas of the country: probably one rainforest trip to the Pacific coast and one cloudforest trip to the central highlands. Daytrips will show students volcanoes and waterfalls not far from the capital. Another weekend trip will take students to neighboring Nicaragua, while another will take them to Panama. Students will have opportunities to explore on their own also. The university has an on-site travel agency to help with arrangements.
Students will live with a host family situated within walking distance of Universidad Veritas. Though there may be more than one student per home, each student will have his or her own room within the house. Students will eat breakfast and dinner with their host families and will receive a credit to their Lafayette College accounts to compensate for having to purchase lunch on campus (the food is delicious and very affordable!).
The cost of this program is Lafayette’s tuition and room fee, plus a discounted board fee (to compensate for the lunches that students will need to purchase). This fee covers tuition at Universidad Veritas, room and board with a host family as described above, round-trip airfare on a group flight between Newark and San José, airport transfers in San José, two international excursions (to Nicaragua and Panama), several regional excursions within Costa Rica, and cultural activities within San José.
Core Course: Cross-Cultural Psychology
Instructor: Professor Susan Basow
This course introduces students to the field of psychology that examines the influence of culture upon human behavior and cognitive processes. “Culture” is defined as the shared norms, values, and behaviors of groups and of the individuals in those groups. We will focus on such topics as cultural factors in communication (verbal, nonverbal), personality and identity, gender roles, health (mental and physical), parenting, and social values. Our exploration will be based on psychological theories, research, guest lecturers, and field experiences. Each student will conduct interviews with members of another culture to make cross-cultural comparisons on a specific topic. In addition, students will keep a reflection journal to address such topics as their initial experience of living in another culture and to what extent their stay has affected the way they perceive their native culture. No prerequisite necessary, although Psyc 110 Introduction to Psychological Science is recommended.