Global Service in Costa Rica: Winter Break


This program will run during Winter Break 2021/22

Over-view of Previous Program during Winter Break 2020:

Interested in this program? Please complete our Interest Form:

Interest Form

Program Dates for Winter break 2020: January 3rd – January 18th 2020.

Set in the communities of Montezuma and Cabuya/Cabo Blanco located on a beautiful beach on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, the winter break Global Service in Costa Rica program will immerse students in the cultural and environmental diversity that characterizes this country. The nation prides itself as being one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world. The program will also broaden the student’s understanding and appreciation of Costa Rican culture, history, and society through various excursions, sight-seeing activities, and pre-departure coursework. This three-credit hour program is open to all MU students.

Organizations and NGOs in Costa Rica value volunteers due to staff shortages and budget shortfalls in protected areas and working with wildlife. Service participants provide support that is needed to perform the many activities and responsibilities that otherwise could not be completed. Projects will involve working on a sea turtle conservation and protection program coordinated by ASVO (Asociación de Voluntarios para el Servicio en Áreas Protegidas de Costa Rica). Students will participate in the following activities:

      • Staff the turtle hatchery
      • Monitor the hatchery nests
      • Interact with tourists and locals in order to provide information about the sea turtle population
      • Collect data when turtles hatch and release baby turtles into the ocean
      • Participate in beach and community clean-up effort

Please note: some of the project activities, particularly the beach and community clean-ups, can be physically rigorous.

While in Cabuya/Coba Blanco at The Wild Sun Rescue Center is dedicated to the conservation and rehabilitation of wildlife in the southern Nicoya Peninsula. We bring in injured and orphaned wild animals from across the region and provide them with the appropriate medical care and shelter. When they have healed they are released back into their natural habitat, while the severely injured with permanent handicaps remain under our care.

Along with the rescue program we will also be collaborating with wildlife breeding centers and programs in order to reintroduce regionally extinct species back into our area. Reforestation projects are of great importance to us as well and preserving the biological corridors. We want to see the health of our beautiful and diverse ecosystem flourish. Our team has come together to see these projects through.

Through these projects students will experience and participate in community building and empowerment while reflecting on their experiences. Students will be fully immersed in a Spanish-speaking community, enabling them to develop an array of skills and experiences while providing with a sense of belonging and a deeper understanding of Costa Rican culture. However, no Spanish language skills are required; many local residents and business owners speak English.



All students will enroll in one MU course for a total of three credit hours during Spring 2022. This course is designed to integrate academic and experiential learning with cultural immersion, identity exploration, and global engagement. The general undergraduate course numbers are listed below. Undergraduate students interested in other credits and graduate students may earn credit by arrangement with the Office of Service-Learning and their individual departments.

SRV_LRN 3028: Global Service (3). Students will earn 3 credit hours (awarded during Spring semester) for pre-departure workshops, held during the fall semester, and while engaging in intensive service in the host country during Winter Break.

The pre-departure course will introduce students to Costa Rica’s history, culture, politics, and issues of ecotourism and sustainability as they prepare for study overseas. While abroad, the course promotes learning through direct contact with local community members, classes, discussions, reflections, and projects while living in host country. Academic coursework will emphasize the development of critical consciousness while engaging in reflection and group dialogue.

Class Schedule – must attend all classes

Class schedule for winter break 2020 is provided as an example:

Monday, Nov.18th, and Dec. 2nd 2019 at 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm. You will also meet in your country groups on Friday Dec. 6th 12:00pm – 2pm lunch will be provided during this last meeting.

Academic Credit

Grades earned on this program will calculate into the MU GPA and appear on students’ MU transcripts when grades are recorded by the Program Leader. Students must work with their academic adviser(s) to obtain pre-approval as to how the courses might fulfill degree requirements.

Additional Learning and Academic Activities

While living in the host country students will participate in multiple cultural activities. Excursions are considered to be a part of the coursework.  Course grades will be based on commitment to service responsibilities, participation in program activities and student conduct.


The program in based in the town of Montezuma is located near then southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. It is a popular destination for snorkelers and surfers, as well as nature enthusiasts who enjoy the forests and waterfalls of the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve.

Named one of the most environmentally friendly nations in the world, Costa Rica is a country famous for its eco-diversity. More than 25 percent of the country has been preserved as national parks and nature preserves. Costa Rica, which translates as “rich coast,” boasts mountainous cloud forests, lowland pineapple and banana plantations, and numerous beaches on both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts. Costa Rica is a pacifist country with no army and enjoys a great deal of stability in comparison to other Central American countries.

Accommodations and Meals

In Montezuma, all students will live in a hotel with basic accommodations, which will offer them a unique opportunity to experience local culture and learn about everyday life in the host country. Students will share their room with other students on the program. Breakfast will be provided at the hotel, lunch will be eaten at ASVO or other sites, and dinner on our own while in Montezuma. The food follows the daily Costa Rican diet which consists of rice, beans, pasta, red meat, vegetables, and many kinds of fruit. Meals are typically very simple. Vegetarian meals are available and students should inform their program leaders of their dietary needs. Meals while in San Jose will be responsibility of the student.

Itinerary ( Winter Break 2020 provided as an example)

      • January 3: Arrival/Airport pick up and transfer to hotel in San Jose
      • January 4: Coffee Plantation, Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfalls
      • January 5: Guided Tour of San Jose
      • January 6: Travel to Montezuma and orientation with Turtle Hatchery
      • January 7- 13: Service program at Turtle Hatchery
      • January 14-16: Service program at Wild Sun Rescue Center
      • January 17: Travel to San Jose
      • January 18: Program ends/Students depart Costa Rica.

Program Costs:

Program costs for winter break 2020 are provided here as an example.


For more information about financing your Global Service Program, please see the Financing section.

Application and Eligibility

Before you apply to your chosen program, please review the How to Apply page.

Applications will be evaluated on the basis of a student’s academic transcript, quality and depth of the responses to the essay questions. In addition, students must have at least a 2.5 GPA and be in good disciplinary standing with the University for consideration. A personal interview may be required. Admission to a global service program is not guaranteed.

To apply for this Global Service Program, please submit the Online Application by: Applications have not yet opened. Please email to find out more, or complete the Interest Form linked on this page.

More Information

For more information, please contact Yvonne Binfield in the Office of Service-Learning. To schedule an appointment, visit MUConnect on Canvas, go to your “My Success Network”, type in “Service-Learning”, and click on the link to make an appointment with Yvonne.

You can also complete our Interest Form