Study Abroad

CORE 240/SOCI 260 Sociology of Culture

Sustainability has three main pillars: environmental health, social equity, and economic well-being. However, different cultures approach sustainability in different ways.

Costa Rica is a model for environmental sustainability, not only for Central America but for the world. According to the United Nations Environment Program, more than 98% of the energy generated in the country is from renewables, 53% of the country is now forested in efforts to reverse decades of deforestation, and more than a quarter of the land has been converted to national parks and reserves (United Nations Environment Program 2019). The country also has an interesting history in that it was spared some of the worst effects of colonization and ended up developing small- and medium-sized businesses which are the backbone of the agricultural industry (coffee, bananas). The country is also renowned for its commitment to peace—abolishing the military in 1949—and to the democratic process, with consistently high turnouts in national elections. Socially the country is committed to education and has made some strides in gender equality. 

This educational experience is designed to introduce students to Costa Rica’s cultural and historical background, to explore the effects of ecotourism as an economic development strategy on urban and rural communities, and to investigate how gender and sexuality operate in a country positioned between the Global North and South. This study abroad experience will also allow students to explore the meaning of global citizenship and reflect on their own personal growth as a result of this experience.

In this short-term study abroad experience, we will visit the capital city of San Jose, coffee and chocolate production sites, the Copay Learning Center for a service-learning project and enjoy the amazing natural attractions such as the rainforest, wildlife, and waterfalls!

Student Testimonials 


“I think Costa Rica is a unique country in how it supports other institutions like healthcare and education since the country doesn’t have a military. I was interested to learn about the organizations that are fighting for change and expand my knowledge. During the trip, we got to meet with organizations that are fighting for women’s rights as well as learn how Costa Ricans value their education. What I got out of this trip is a cultural experience that I got to share with my friends thanks to Emory and Henry. This is a trip I will never forget, and I would 1000% recommend it to anyone who wants to travel outside of the U.S.” – Justine South, Political Science Major with Minor in Psychology and Sociology

“I was lucky enough to go on the Costa Rica trip whilst on my exchange year at E&H. It was such an amazing time experiencing a different culture, and meeting some really inspiring people, all working towards making Costa Rica, and the world a better place for everyone. I particularly enjoyed staying with host families in Copay, and our visit to Manuel Antonio National Park.” – Molly Reeves, Sociology Major

White Face Monkey in Manuel Antonio National Park White Face Monkey in Manuel Antonio National Park