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Plan II Honors

Costa Rica Maymester 2017

Costa Rica Maymester 2015




Program Description:
Costa Rica is home to some of the most beautiful and diverse wild lands left on the planet. All of this biodiversity depends upon preservation practices in the face of economic growth, energy demands, and land development. Costa Rica is unique in both its biome diversity and exemplary in the amount of land set aside to safeguard this diversity, as more than 25% of the country is protected in parks and reserves. Revenues from ecotourism help sustain these areas; however, there are questions about how effective this model is for an emerging economy and society. In this course we examine the ecological, social and economic pressures affecting land use and consider a variety of perspectives. Our experiences in Costa Rica will range from field studies in a remote Pacific rain forest, to mountain cloud forests, to the lowlands on both dry and wet sides of the central mountain ranges.

Requirements: In Costa Rica the components of the grade are: 20% active participation in course activities; 20% field exercises, including question-generating activities and gathering data; 40% group research project and presentation; and 20% individual write-up, summary of field notes, ideas about priorities and recommendations, and a final individual reflection.

Reseach in Costa Rica
Dr. Buskirk and students conducting research at a field station

Academic Credit:
Plan II students will earn four credit hours for a Plan II Junior Seminar (TC 358) and a preparatory seminar (LA 119).  All students participating in the Costa Rica Maymester Program are required to take LA 119 (Maymester Seminar: Costa Rica), which meets weekly for the first half of the spring semester.  Non-Plan II students will earn four hours of academic credit for BIO 337 and LA 119.  All students will earn a Global Cultures Flag which can fulfill the requirements of the UT Core Curriculum. Maymester courses are part of UT spring registration; courses must be taken for a letter grade and are factored into the official UT GPA.  All courses are taught in English.

Prerequisites/Eligibility: All Majors welcome to apply, but students must have completed either Plan II Biology (BIO 301E) or Introductory Biology II (BIO 311D) or Honors Genetics (BIO 325H) prior to departure.  Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 required.  All participants must be enrolled in residenece at UT Austing during the spring 2017 semester.  Students need not speak Spanish but those with knowledge of the language will gain more from the experience.

Corcovado Hike
Hiking at Corcovado

Faculty: Dr. Ruth Buskirk, a distinguished senior lecturer in Biology, has been the faculty director of this Maymester since 2010. Dr. Buskirk has visited Costa Rica many times for both teaching and research, and is particularly enthusiastic about the holistic student involvement and interdisciplinary nature of this course. Dr. Buskirk has taught biology courses at UT for over 25 years, including Introductory Biology, Plan II Biology and Honors Genetics. She has helped develop and lead student programs across campus and has been honored with teaching excellence awards from the University Regents, the President’s Associates, the Texas Exes, and the College of Natural Sciences. In addition, Dr. Buskirk is the 2012 recipient of the Plan II Chad Oliver Teaching award.
Costa Rica Maymester 2017 Program Dates:  May 25 - June 25, 2017
Santa Elena
Dr. Buskirk and students at Santa Elena

Costs
: Estimated 2017 program fee is $4800; the fee includes the deposit, program activities, housing, most meals, and most local transportation.  In addition students should budget for the application fee ($75), airfare (approx. $750), required insurance ($95),  some meals/spending money/local tranportation ($275) and, if a student does not already have one, a passport ($135).  The total estimated cost for the program is $6,130. 

Scholarships: All Plan II students who apply to the Costa Rica Maymester program should also apply for the Plan II Travel Grant.  Additional funding sources for this study abroad program include the International Office Maymester Scholarship, the 25th Year Anniversary Scholarship, and the International Education Fee Scholarship to name a few.  Visit the Funding Study Abroad section on the Study Abroad Office website for more fundraising ideas and detailed scholarship information.  In addition, students should check in with the Academic Advisor in their Major to inquire about additional scholarships.  We encourage students to apply for all scholarships/grants that they are eligible for.  Since many of these scholarships have early deadlines, you may apply for scholarships even if you are not yet sure you have been accepted into the program.

History
: This highly successful and widely-recognized Maymester ran in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2015. 

For more pictures visit: Photo Gallery.

Strangler Fig Costa Rica Jungle

Strangler Fig, Costa Rica Jungle


PROGRAM WEBSITE 

STUDY ABROAD WEBSITE

PROGRAM CONTACTS:

Melissa Ossian
Plan II Academic Advisor

Professor Ruth Buskirk
Faculty Leader

Rebekah Junkermeier
Study Abroad Program Coordinator

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
- Info. Session, Wed. Sept. 28th, 4-5pm, BUR 136
- Info. Session, Tues. Oct 11th, 11:45am-1:15pm, CLA 1.302D

HOW TO APPLY:
Application Deadline Nov. 1, 2016
Program Code: 355047
Apply online 


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    University of Texas at Austin
    305 East 23rd St
    CLA 2.102
    Austin, Texas, 78712-1250
    512-471-1442