Explore Costa Rica’s diverse landscapes, vibrant communities, and unwavering commitment to preserving its natural treasures. Join us on this learning journey on climate change and let Costa Rica’s beauty and culture leave an unforgettable mark on your heart and soul.
Deepen your awareness and learn from local communities to take climate action back to your home communities. Participants on this program are required to participate in pre-departure virtual sessions and a post-program community action project in their home communities.
After your pre-program virtual workshops, embark on an amazing journey through Costa Rica, a land where nature and culture blend in perfect harmony. Your adventure begins in San Jose, the lively capital city, where you’ll explore museums, stroll through bustling markets, and join discussions about climate justice during orientation setting the stage for your eco-friendly expedition.
Explore the wonders of Costa Rica’s pristine wilderness as you travel from the Los Santos Region to the remote Osa Peninsula. Each day offers new opportunities to discover breathtaking landscapes, hike in lush national parks, and immerse yourself in the charm of local communities.
Experience the heartwarming world of Costa Rican communities during a 10-night homestay, where you’ll take part in meaningful community projects, forging bonds and making a positive impact that will linger long after you’ve left.
Hold onto your hat for thrilling adventures, from adrenaline-pumping experiences at Extreme Forest Park to exciting catamaran journeys and snorkeling. Explore the rugged beauty of Corcovado National Park and take on exhilarating canopy tours.
Discover eco-initiatives and sustainable practices, visit an Eolic Park, and witness the mesmerizing magic of sea turtle nesting. This journey is a beautiful blend of nature’s wonders, cultural exploration, and conservation efforts. During your program wrap-up, finalize your community action plan/project for your return home.
After you return home, re-connect with your group virtually after program to report out about your action plan/project.
The Experiment’s programs are designed to build skills that will help you succeed. In Costa Rica, you will learn:
To be accepted, all prospective Experimenters must have completed their 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th-grade year but have not yet entered college or university and demonstrate the following admissions criteria through their online application and interview:
Leadership Institute applicants must also have:
Our admissions and program staff will manage the interview and selection process. Participants will be selected through a transparent, verifiable process based on demonstrated interests and potential, reference form, and personal interviews. Interviews will focus on the applicant’s interest in and commitment to high-quality leadership, global competency, civic responsibility, community engagement, and their enthusiasm for participating and completing the follow-on programming. Leadership Institute participants who complete the program, including pre-and post-program components, will receive a digital certificate of completion.
Applicants will also be evaluated on the following characteristics:
All Leadership Institute scholarships are need-based and range from $1,000 to full scholarships covering tuition and international airfare. To be considered for a need-based scholarship, on your online application for admission, please answer “Yes,” to the question, “Would you like to apply for a need-based scholarship?” and complete the need-based scholarship application form emailed to your financially responsible parent/guardian.
*Program fees may increase by$500 -$1000 to account for changesto lodging accommodations.
Families or partner organizations are also responsible for arranging and paying for participants' domestic travel to the international departure/return airport in the U.S., whether flying, driving or by other means. By its nature, domestic airfare varies by airline, timing, destination, and availability.
This program is for someone who wants to get out of their comfort zone, learn about another country in the best way possible, and meet other people who are going to change the world. It was an amazing experience, and I am so much better for it!
EVELYN, The Leadership Institute alum
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 below.
Travel to Costa Rica and In-Country Orientation in San Jose
During orientation, you and your group will stay at a centrally-located hotel.
Thematic Focus on San Gerardo de Dota
You and your group will stay at a guesthouse/lodge.
Homestay and Thematic Focus on La Palma (Osa Peninsula)
You and your group will stay with a homestay family.
Thematic Focus on Manuel Antonio
You and your group will stay at a guesthouse/lodge.
Thematic Focus on Ostional
Program Reflection & Synthesis in San Jose
You and your group will stay at a centrally-located hotel near the airport.
The Experiment’s group leaders go through a rigorous selection process and have extensive experience with youth education, local expertise in the country or region of their program, language abilities, knowledge in their program theme, travel logistics and management know-how, and experience with health, safety and risk management.
Nate’s life is guided by the following question: How will we evolve our norms, laws, and institutions such that all people define and achieve their own flourishing while living in balance with each other and the planet? This inquiry led them to design a Bachelor’s degree in Education & Community Studies at Davidson College. After completing the degree, Nate traveled the globe as a high school study abroad program leader, where they designed, facilitated, and evaluated community-based experiential learning programs. Nate went on to serve as a consultant and coach at The Bridgespan Group, where they advised nonprofits and philanthropies to clarify their intended impact, improve operating models, strengthen executive teams, and lead organizational change. Nate currently serves as Senior Manager at Social Impact Exchange, where they support a multi-sector network of ~6,000 leaders to co-design, co-fund, and implement initiatives to transform society’s systems toward equity and justice. Nate also serves as a Board Member at Nourish International, fusing passions for youth leadership, organizational development, and systems thinking to support college students driving positive social change across the U.S. When not galivanting around the globe, you can find Nate enjoying the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area, California.
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