GUACIMO: Earth University – Sustainability in Latin America

Guacimo, Costa Rica

Program Website Type: ,   |  Minimum GPA:
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  • Summer 1 Semester - Arrive May 24, 2015; Depart June 26, 2015
  • Summer 2 Semester - Arrive July 12, 2015; Depart August 14, 2015

Application Deadline

  • Summer 1 Semester - February 1, 2014
  • Summer 2 Semester - February 1, 2015


Study Abroad Coordinator: Daisy Biddle (

The Field Study Program in Costa Rica will be held on the campus of EARTH University in Guacimo, Costa Rica, an 8,000 acre estate 40 miles east of the capital city of San Jose.

The program is designed to give students the knowledge and skills to help organizations understand and act upon the principles of sustainability, and to gain a deeper understanding about the relationships between business, society and the environment in the Latin American context.

The first three weeks of the program will be spent at the Guacimo campus (Caribbean coast) and the fourth week at the La Flor campus (Pacific coast). The Caribbean coast has lush vegetation, mountains and white sand beaches, world-class fishing, bird watching, horseback riding and all types of water activities. The Pacific coast has first-rate beaches and is famous for its surfing, snorkeling, sailing, kayaking, and nearby wildlife refuges and national parks.

Costa Rica offers a variety of spectacular outdoor activities including breathtaking cloud forests, active volcanoes, stunning beaches, tropical nature preserves, and horseback riding. Included in the program, students will take two week-end trips: a canopy rainforest tour and a trip to the Arenal Volcano, a treat to watch, especially at night when red molten lava spurts from the volcano cone.


Northeastern University students will enroll in 2 courses and earn 8 semester credits by participating in this program.

  • Sustainability in the Latin American Business Environment (ENTR 3326) - Provides a theoretical foundation of the study of business activities in the Latin American business context to ensure that externalities are valued in the economic context of the enterprises and also considered in the decision making process. Students have an opportunity to explore different methodologies of evaluating sustainability in the entrepreneurial sector of the country of study and to assess the social and environmental impact of their action. The course is designed to enable students to identify the impacts and directly assist in the development of decisions to control, mitigate, recuperate, and compensate for negative impacts. Prerequisite: (a) FINA 2720 or an environmental science course and (b) sophomore standing or above and (c) permission of instructor.
  • Field Research in Sustainable Business (ENTR3328) - In teams with other university students in the country of study, students have an opportunity to explore sustainable business practices in companies ranging from agricultural enterprises to high-technology start-ups. Working with these companies, they have an opportunity to create business plans and explore the trade-offs between traditional profits and environment and social constraints. This course is designed to provide students with a first-hand experience in the dilemmas and trade-offs faced by developing countries seeking to promote economic development while protecting their resources. Prerequisite: (a) FINA 2720 or an environmental science course and (b) sophomore standing or above and (c) permission of instructor. The academic portion of the program includes daily classes examining questions like what is a sustainable enterprise, measures of eco-effectiveness, the sustainability of the food supply chain, entrepreneurship, and business strategies of firms in Costa Rica. In addition to undertaking a research project, students will learn about sustainability in the Latin American context. Classroom activities are supplemented with site visits to local companies in the region, including eco-tourism companies, banana and pineapple plantations, ornamental and tropical plant companies, tropical fish farms, and macadamia nut farms. Students will also spend three days in a non-credit bearing Spanish immersion class.

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Host University

EARTH University is an international institution created out of a deep conviction that the environmental and social challenges confronting the planet can be resolved through education that promotes science, technology and entrepreneurship while focusing on essential human values, leadership and a commitment to social and environmental service.

Eligibility Requirements

  • 2 completed terms at NU, one of which may be a summer term
  • GPA of at least 2.8
  • Transfer students and spring admits, please contact OISP for eligibility
  • Students who do not meet these requirements but still wish to apply must contact Ron Whitfield (

Application Procedure

    • Completed online OISP application

      Please submit the following directly to OISP:

    • Photocopy of Passport ID Page
    • Submit an unofficial transcript printed off of myNEU to OISP in 403 Richards
    • Personal Essay addressing the following questions:
    • 1. Why are you interested in participating in this program? Who or what motivated you to apply?
    • 2. What are your academic, personal, and/or professional goals for this program?
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Summer 1 2014: $TBA **pending Fee

Includes: Northeastern University (NU) tuition for 8 NU credits ($10,643), housing and other non-academic costs, including 24/7 worldwide emergency assistance, room, board, and round-trip airfare via Boston ($TBA).

Costa Rica, Guacimo: Earth University Study Abroad Program Budget (Summer)


Students will be housed in the residence halls on the campus of Earth University. The large campus includes modern educational facilities, a library specializing in agricultural and environmental topics, laboratories, a rainforest reserve with primary and secondary forests, and a farm dedicated to agricultural and cattle production.


Costa Rica is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Caribbean Sea to the east.