Michigan State University: Costa Rica - Ethics of Tourism and Sustainable Development

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 The concept of sustainable development came into prominence in the late 1980s as world leaders wrestled with how to alleviate poverty through economic development without compromising the environment. In 1987 the World Commission on Environment a... read more

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About

 The concept of sustainable development came into prominence in the late 1980s as world leaders wrestled with how to alleviate poverty through economic development without compromising the environment. In 1987 the World Commission on Environment and Development defined sustainable development as "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Costa Rica is widely known both for its efforts towards sustainable development. It is the most visited country in Central America, welcoming over 2 million visitors, and it is renowned for its biodiversity and natural resources. Thus, it is not surprising that sustainable development is a critical component of the country’s overall development strategy. For instance, Costa Rica was one of the first countries to embrace ecotourism and has recently pioneered a new type of tourism -- rural community tourism, which seeks to build capacity in rural communities and protect ecological corridors and watersheds at the same time.

In this program, students will combine the study and practice of Spanish language with the ethics of sustainable development and civic engagement. During the initial four weeks, students will live with Costa Rican host families in the small central valley town of Santa Ana, attend classes at CONVERSA, a Spanish school overlooking Costa Rica’s capital San Jose and visit several tourism sites around the country. While in class, they will improve language skills and learn about civic engagement, the ethics of sustainable development, and the various forms such development takes in Costa Rica. During the next four weeks, students will gain a more intimate knowledge of these issues as they live with host families in rural areas across the country and work with communities on small development projects.  The class will convene for its final few days in a common location to debrief and connect their civic engagement work with their studies of the ethics of sustainable development.

Program Type(s):
Study Abroad
Program Length(s):
  • Summer
Instruction Language(s):
  • English
Minimum GPA:
2.0
Website
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