Health and Wellness in Costa Rica

Language Requirement: None
Academic Standing by Program Start: Sophomore
Location: Americas, Costa Rica
GPA: 2.5
Program Overview

**Due to the high volume of applicants, this application has closed.

Learn firsthand about health and wellness in the blue zone community of the Nicoya Peninsula, which is one of five regions worldwide with a high number of people living over 100 years of age. Learn about why this region is known for longevity by studying their culture and lifestyle, as well as the physiology of aging and stress.  

The program begins with two weeks in Nosara, where you will begin your coursework, study Spanish, live in homestays, and go on local excursions. The final week will include three days of volunteering with a turtle and environmental protection organization, and a multi-day tour to multiple locations and beaches along the peninsula.

Scholarship Opportunity: Scholarship funds are available for students accepted to this program. If interested, please refer to the Scholarship Essay in the program application, and speak with your GEO advisor for more information. The due date for the Scholarship Essay is March 15, 2023.

Dates and Deadlines
Term Year Priority Deadline Deadline Arrival Date Departure Date
Summer 2023 2/15/2023 3/15/2023 6/24/2023 7/15/2023

Priority Discounts

If your program has a Priority Deadline, complete all pre-decision application materials by this date to receive a $100 credit toward your program fee. Please note, students participating in multiple summer programs are only eligible to receive the $100 credit once.

Academic Details

This program offers two courses for 6 quarter credits and is open to all majors.

HPHY 399 – Four Credits. This course involves both lecture and practical experience. Lectures will work on cultural orientation, blue zone lifestyle, and research. Practical contact hours will include meals, homestays, shadowing of blue zone locals, volunteering, and completing local dance, fitness, and excursion movement experiences. Practical assignments will include self-reflection and comparison of western health and wellness lifestyles to Central America and specifically blue zone locals, physiological concepts, and application of sharing experience with the University of Oregon community. 

*UO Students: This course satisfies 4 credits of the List A, Upper Division Electives for the HPHY Major as well as 4 credits of the Social Sciences/Humanities Elective of the Global Health Minor.

Depending on your Spanish level, you will earn two credits of 100, 200, or 300-level Spanish. You will take a short Spanish placement test. You can only take one of the following classes during the first week of the program. All SPAN courses will be graded Pass / No Pass.

SPAN 188: "Survival Spanish" - Two Credits. A first-level language course designed for students who have not previously studied Spanish or those with a low-basic level. The course is a “survival Spanish” course to introduce the basic foundations in grammar, vocabulary, and speaking skills, with an emphasis on developing basic communicative ability in Spanish within the context of studying abroad.

SPAN 288: Intermediate Spanish - Two Credits. An intermediate-level Spanish course for students who have completed the 100-level sequence. The course reviews the fundamentals of Spanish grammar as well as introduces new grammar, vocabulary, and other language skills. The course methodology is based on the communicative approach, emphasizing conversation in Spanish and the development of reading, writing, and listening skills.

SPAN 388: Medical Spanish - Two Credits. Medical Spanish is designed to expand the student’s vocabulary and proficiency in Spanish for healthcare. The course focuses on building medical vocabulary and developing speaking, writing, and presentation skills in Spanish within the context of healthcare.

Course Equivalencies

UO students: please refer to the UO Course Equivalency Process and the UO Office of the Registrar Course Equivalency Database.

Non-UO students: Actual credit awarded is determined by the relevant department at your university in consultation with the study abroad office. Check with your study abroad advisor for more information.

Application process

This program has a rolling admission application processGEO staff (and the program faculty leader, if applicable) will complete a review of the application materials of complete applications in the order that they are submitted (“first come, first serve”). Decisions about acceptance will be made shortly after you submit a complete application. There are some programs that fill fast, some even before the deadline. Students are encouraged to complete applications and commit to programs early.

Acceptance is based on a holistic review of your application.  This includes a review of your GPA, transcripts (including courses taken and in-progress), any additional requirements or prerequisites (see section "Additional Requirements"), and the short statement. Some programs require a letter of recommendation from a faculty that is not the program's faculty leader. If a letter of recommendation is required, you will find more information in your GEO application portal.

Faculty and Staff

Andy Karch is the Coordinator of Fitness Programs at PE & Rec. He supervises the Webfoot CrossFit, F45, and Personal Training programs. He also teaches PEF 340, the class designed to teach and prepare new Personal Trainers. He enjoys helping people find a form of exercise that connects with them and can help build lifelong habits. He’s worked with a wide variety of clients and athletes but now focuses on developing student staff, and helping the UO community stay active.

Christopher Minson is an environmental physiologist and is the Kenneth and Kenda Singer Endowed Professor of Human Physiology. The overarching goal of his work is to better understand how stress impacts cardiovascular health and to find novel ways to utilize environmental exposure (natural environments, heat, cold, altitude) in the prevention and treatment of disease. Particular areas of interest for Dr. Minson include topics related to women’s health, aging, and hypertension.

Ashley Walker is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Physiology. Her research focuses on the effects of aging on the cardiovascular system. In particular, she is interested in how the aging vascular system impacts the brain, potentially contributing to Alzheimer’s disease. Her research laboratory also tests lifestyle and pharmaceutical interventions aimed at maintaining vascular health in old age.  

Housing Description
You will live in a shared homestay in Nosara and shared homes and hostels for the final week on the Peninsula.