The rainforest is your classroom as you learn about conservation in one of the most biodiverse countries on Earth. Witness sea turtles and other wildlife. Hike, zip-line, and swim along the way.
Due to the deepening concern about the coronavirus, The Experiment has transitioned all 2020 programs to The Experiment Digital.
The Experiment Digital is a fully funded (free) exchange program conducted entirely online and mobile-accessible four (4) hours per week from June 22 to August 16, 2020.
The Experiment Digital connects hundreds of young people across the United States with peers from Iraq, Algeria, Yemen, and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa to discuss such topics as digital citizenship, leadership and identity, community initiatives, and public narrative. Participants even have virtual families!
A remote biological station nestled in the rainforest will be your classroom as you learn about Costa Rica’s efforts to protect the more than 500,000 species of rare tropical birds, indigenous animals, and plants. An experienced Costa Rican naturalist will guide you throughout the program. After zip-lining and hiking your way through the rainforest’s dense canopy, visit the Térraba-Sierpe National Wetlands, one of the largest mangrove systems in Central America, home to a wide variety of birds, mammals, reptiles, and fish.
In San José, learn about Costa Rican culture with visits to museums and markets. From there, you will visit nature reserves and national parks, kayak in the aquamarine waters of the Golfo Dulce or along the Osa Peninsula, and explore the rainforests of Isla Chira, which
has the most thriving biodiversity in all of Costa Rica.
Learn more about Costa Rica’s culture and communities during a two-week homestay with a local host family. There, you will take basic Spanish language classes, enjoy nature hikes, and eat traditional meals like gallo pinto. Complete 40+ hours of community service as you work on a project that focuses on rural development, ecological sustainability, or local community.
Following your homestay, you will visit the Ostional Turtle Lodge, a conservation center set near mangroves where millions of baby turtles hatch every year, to learn about sea turtle conservation efforts. Before your Experiment comes to a close, sail the Pacific on a catamaran with your group.
San José, 2–3 days
La Palma, Santa María de Dota, or Palmichal de Acosta,* 12–14 days
Hotels, lodges, cabins
Orientation in San José and Sierpe
During the orientation period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.
Thematic Focus on the Osa Peninsula
During this period, you and your group will stay at a farm and biological station.
During this period, you will stay in the home of a family. Sample host communities: Pejivaye, Santa Cruz, Santa Maria de Dota, Palmares, Carit
Thematic Focus at a Wildlife Refuge
During this period, you and your group will stay in a lodge and spend at least one night at the turtle project site.
Program Reflection and Departure at San José
During this period, you and your group will stay in centrally located hotels.
Please note: This itinerary is only a sample and is subject to change. Because of factors such as group size and availability of in-country offerings such as festivals, your experience — including sites visited and the number of days spent in each location — may differ somewhat from the one presented above.
completing a study abroad program in Costa Rica, Curtis decided to pursue his BA in Spanish there. He obtained his degree in Spanish from the Universidad Nacional in Costa Rica, but not before discovering another of his passions: service-learning. Curtis has been privileged to work with university students from the US, Canada, and the UK all around Central America, and he co-founded a nonprofit that still provides volunteer experiences in three countries. Now back in the US, Curtis serves as the director of Academic Travel for Ed-Ventures, helping teachers take their students abroad to destinations around the world.
A native of upstate New York, Sarita Upadhyay graduated from Cornell University in 2011 with a BS in science of natural and environmental systems. She followed her love of the outdoors to the Amazon in Ecuador, where she coordinated a teaching program, and then to Cuzco, Peru, where she managed logistics and tours for a travel company. She worked on developing green infrastructure projects in Chicago, Illinois, at an urban sustainability-themed think tank before leading The Experiment’s 2014 Costa Rica: Biodiversity, Ecology, and Sustainability program. Currently, Sarita lives in San Francisco, where she studies psychology and works on research in health-related psychological interventions at University of California, San Francisco.
Jose Eduardo Huerta graduated from the University of California Berkeley in 2011 with a BA in Latin American studies and a minor in education. Since then, he has worked as a career track project coordinator, a substitute teacher, and a graduate research assistant. Eduardo is currently in his second year at the State University of New York Binghamton, pursuing a dual master’s degree in student affairs and public administration.
As a return leader for The Experiment, Eduardo has led programs to Spain, Chile, and Costa Rica. He began traveling as a junior in college when he spent seven months studying in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Most recently, he spent five weeks in China, learning about economic development, sustainability, and innovation. Not only is Eduardo trilingual in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, but he also plans to learn Mandarin in the near future. Eduardo also loves practicing martial arts, being outdoors, trying new foods, meeting new people, and learning from new adventures.
Raised in northern Vermont by a Chilean mother and an American father, Paula grew up bilingual in English and Spanish. She attended Wesleyan University in Connecticut, where she was an American studies major with a concentration in race and ethnicity. During summers throughout college, Paula worked at Farm and Wilderness summer camp as a counselor and trip leader. After obtaining her degree, Paula moved to Valparaíso, Chile, to serve as an elementary school English teacher. Paula herself was an Experimenter in 2007, when she traveled to Turkey for five weeks. Later, in college, she spent a semester abroad in Madrid, Spain. During her time there, she walked the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, a pilgrimage that starts in western France and ends in the westernmost part of Spain. Aside from her love for travel, Paula loves to knit, play basketball, and learn new juggling tricks.
This was the craziest, most important, most valuable thing I think I’ve ever done in my life. I loved being an experimenter! I’m so grateful to have had this opportunity! I even feel different now. I understand the way life should be lived: simply, modestly, and to the fullest.JoAnna, Carrick high School
My trip to Costa Rica was unforgettable. During the four week program, I have tried many things in Costa Rica. Some highlights would include zip lining and kayaking for the first time. These two highlights, but there were many more.--Steve
During this month abroad, I was able to step out of my comfort zone, meet new people, experience and discover things I’d never thought of! I was able to become immersed in the Costa Rican culture and felt like I was apart of their community as well. In Costa Rica I made very strong connections and bonds with several people, not only in my group, but those who call Costa Rica their home. For example, I truly feel like my homestay family is my real family.--Alyssa
I came onto the program expecting to learn an immense amount about Costa Rica and about the Spanish language, and left the program happy I had gained so much more. For two weeks on program, there was a homestay portion with a Costa Rican family. While the concept of living with another family feels intimidating initially, I found the homestay to be the most rewarding part of the journey. My family taught me so much more than anything I could have learned without genuine immersion.--Theo