Costa Rica: International Journalism
|Term||App Deadline||Start Date||End Date||Cost|
|Summer||February 25||late June||late July||Budget|
- Language of Instruction
- Foreign Language Requirement
- Class Eligibility
- Graduate, Junior, Senior, Sophomore
- Program Open To
- UA and Non-UA Students
- Credit Type
- UA Direct Credit
- Level of Study
- Housing Options
- Program Type
- UA Faculty-led
Earn up to six units of direct UA credit in Journalism while completing an internship, and practicing your writing, reporting and photography skills. Immerse yourself in Spanish language and “Tico” culture by living with a Costa Rican family and participating in reporting field trips to rainforests, beaches, culturally significant sites and science research stations.
Tentative 2018 dates: June 28 - July 30
The School of Journalism program in Costa Rica offers students the opportunity to take courses, and complete an internship as they immerse themselves in a country said to have a greater range of biodiversity than the United States and Europe combined. In our program, the classroom might have four walls or it might be the canopy of a cloud forest, a dense jungle floor or palm-fringed coastline.
Students interested in honing their critical thinking, writing, reporting and Spanish language skills can earn up to 6 hours of credit while living in the capital of Central America's most travel-friendly and environmentally progressive country.
Students may select one or both classes:
JOUR 455/555 Environmental Journalism in Latin America (3 units)
Costa Rican ecological sites and the capital city are the classroom for this course on news coverage of environmental issues. Examine best practices of reporting in different type of news media. Develop expertise on an environmental issue in Costa Rica, conduct research and interviews in San José and on field trips, and report your findings.
JOUR 493/593 Internship
Students with prior reporting experience may apply for an internship with Tico Times, an English-language online news site based in San José. If selected, internship credit can be granted. Non-UA students should check with advisers at their university to determine if the credit will transfer.
Please note, while Spanish language skills are not required, students are encouraged to take at least one year of university level Spanish before participating.
Dr. Celeste González de Bustamante has many years of experience as a researcher and journalist in Latin America. She speaks and writes Spanish with native fluency, and has traveled extensively in Spanish-speaking countries. She has served as the adviser for student publications and has coordinated the internship program in Costa Rica.
International Journalism in Costa Rica is based out of San José, the nation’s capital, and the heart of Costa Rican history and culture. San José has a good reputation in the region as one of the safest, most vibrant capitals of any Central American country. Through this program, students will have the opportunity to explore the many historical and cultural monuments the city has to offer.
Average rainfall in this tropical country is approximately 12 inches per month (major rainfall between the months of May and October). Costa Rica’s monetary system is based on the Colón.
Costa Rica's economy is based predominantly on tourism, agriculture (coffee, bananas and sugar) and electronic exports. Costa Rica is located on the Central American isthmus connecting North and South America; it is bordered by Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south. The country is comparable in size to the state of West Virginia. It is a democratic republic and has not had a standing army since 1949. It is widely considered to be one of the safest countries in Latin America and offers endless opportunities for adventure travel.
Within a one-hour bus ride of San José, students can travel to cloud forests, active volcanoes, and numerous waterfalls. A four-hour bus ride will take students to pristine beaches, lush rainforests, Caribbean coastal towns, and on tours of unspoiled islands just off the Pacific Coast. Students can easily plan weekend trips to neighboring Panama and Nicaragua where they can experience the unique cultures of these isthmian neighbors. Costa Rica is an ideal location for academic study, cultural and language immersion, and exploration.
Students will live in homestays, a great part of your cultural immersion!
"Before leaving for Costa Rica, I was doubting journalism as a career choice, but this trip helped me rediscover what I love about reporting. The whole country was there for me to explore, and I got to not only write about the amazing things I discovered, but I got to do so with people that changed my life." – Elizabeth Eaton, Summer 2014 [See Elizabeth's blog with photos and writing about her experience at here]
"My five weeks in Costa Rica were jam packed with adventures, sightseeing, cultural experiences, and a lifetime of memories. I had some skill in speaking Spanish before I went and figured the best way to learn was to immerse myself in it. Little did I know that was also the best way to learn about the country itself, the people, and everything Tican. I started writing the article about coffee farmers because I was really interested in seeing how the farms work in the first place. After Lisa showed me a short AP article about a coffee fungus affecting crops in Central America, I realized that was the perfect way to find out more. I spent the next two weeks calling and emailing people I'd never met in a country I'd only been in for a couple of week, setting up interviews, coordinating bus routes to get to them, even having my host family drive me out a farm to speak with the owner. I was all over the place, but I learned more about coffee than I ever thought I wanted to know. It was such a valuable experience to gain confidence in my Spanish skills, my reporting skills, and make connections with some of the kindest, most genuine people I've ever met. Costa Rica is a beautiful place, both physically, botanically, and culturally. Being a journalist gives you the ability to tell stories that matter, and this experience reminded me of that. All stories are worth telling; it just takes someone with the interest, drive, and courage to tell it to others. I will always look back at my five weeks there as a life-changing experience." – Nicole Thill, Summer 2013
“If you want to try international or environmental reporting, Costa Rica is a great place to start. The country is easy to navigate and there is no shortage of stories with far-reaching interest. Reporting with the help of the program gave me the experience and confidence to report on my own in other parts of Latin America as well as land internships in the U.S. The trip was also a great cultural experience and helped quickly improve my Spanish.” – Brenna Goth, Summer 2011
“Whether you want to pursue international reporting or just want to broaden your world view, studying abroad in Costa Rica is an eye-opening experience that is also a lot of fun. I loved traveling to different parts of the country and being able to meet different kinds of people. My Spanish improved dramatically in the five weeks I was there and so did my interviewing skills. I would recommend this trip to anyone who wants to learn and loves adventure.” – Hope Miller, Summer 2011