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UK Sponsored: Pura Vida: Politics of the 'Good Life' (Arts & Sciences)
Heredia, Costa Rica; San Jose, Costa Rica (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Summer 1
The UK Education Abroad deadline for adding this program has passed. To determine if it is still possible to add this program to your Education Abroad Application, please contact your EA Advisor or UK Education Abroad (
Fact Sheet:
Experience Type:
Research Abroad, Study Abroad
Area of Study:
Economics, Geography, Government, International Economics, International Studies, Political Science, Social Sciences, Sociology, Spanish Studies
Course Language:
Housing Options:
2-Sophomore, 3-Junior, 4-Senior
Minimum GPA:
Student Type:
Undergraduate students only
Thomas Teague
Program Director:
Emily Beaulieu
UK Travel Medical Insurance:
Included in the UK Sponsored program fee
Program Description:
Pura Vida: Politics of the "Good Life"

Dates TBD - Applications will be accepted for the 2015 summer program once dates have been established!

Program Overview

mountainCosta Rica was the first stable democracy in Central America and is considered a regional “success story” in terms of economic development.  How has it managed these successes, can they be sustained, and what political and economic issues does Costa Rica need to address today? In this 4-week, intensive study abroad program in Costa Rica, students will earn 7 credits while learning about development and democracy and the skills needed to conduct research on these important questions.  Classroom instruction will supplement extensive experiential learning as we explore economic and political centers of power in the country, and the resources that allow us to engage in social scientific research.


Read more about program benefits here: Costa Rica.pdf.



  • Gain a first-hand understanding of the impact of politics and development in the daily lives of Costa Rican citizens.
  • Analyze theories of democracy, economic development, and research design in light of in-country experience.
  • Fulfill a major requirement in political science or sociology.
  • Experience political science concepts like democratization and development first-hand.


This program is open to undergraduate students from all academic disciplines.
Students from universities other than UK are welcome to participate in this program as visiting/transient students. For more information on how to apply to the University of Kentucky as a visiting/transient student go to UK Admissions. Non-UK students should consult with the program directors prior to participating in the program to ensure that they have the proper academic background for the course.

Academic Credit

  • UK Sponsored programs are conducted by the University of Kentucky faculty. UK GPA credits and grades will be awarded by the program director for the successful and timely completion of all required program activities and assignments, including any required on-campus meetings.
  • Undergraduate students will enroll in PS 372: Introduction to Political Analysis (3 credit hours) and PS 391: Democracy and Development (3 credit hours). Participating students who have already earned credit for PS 372 will enroll in PS 395: Independent Work (3 credit hours) and arrange for assignments and course requirements with the Program Director.
  • All students will be enrolled in ISP 599: Study Abroad (1 credit hour).
  • PS 372: Introduction to Political Analysis is a required course for Political Science majors and has also been approved to fulfill the research methods requirement for Sociology majors.

Housing & Meals

  • Students will live in homestays with Costa Rican families.
  • Breakfast and dinner will be provided by host families. Participants will be responsible for lunch on their own.

Required Applications

This program is run in collaboration with the University of Kentucky and ISA, a customizing partner. Students must complete an application with UK Education Abroad (online, this website) and a supplemental application with ISA. The supplemental ISA application will be provided to all accepted students after the application deadline. 

Scholarships & Financial Aid

Students are strongly encouraged to explore all funding opportunities for programs abroad. There are numerous opportunities available based on the area of study, program type, length, and country of destination. 
  • Many financial aid packages (scholarships, loans and grants) used for on-campus study can be applied to education abroad programs. Students who qualify for financial aid should consult with their UK Financial Aid counselor as soon as possible to apply for funding.
  • The Education Abroad at UK Scholarship - The campus-wide Selection Committee awards need-based scholarships to UK students in the amounts of $750, $1,000 and $1,500. The deadline for application materials is March 1 for Summer/Fall programs and October 1 for Spring/Winter programs.
For more information about scholarship and funding opportunities, please visit the Education Abroad at UK Financial Aid & Scholarships resource page.

Program Costs

  • Costs and cancellation policies vary by program, so it is important to review this information very carefully. For more information on program costs, please see the "Fees and Policies" information page (the link is in the program header at the top of this website).

Passport & Visa Requirements

  • U.S. passport holders are not required to obtain a visa for participation on this program. Participants who wish to extend their stay in the country beyond the program start and end dates and those who are not U.S. passport holders must investigate the visa regulations at the Costa Rican Embassy.

Travel Medical Insurance

All participants of this program will be enrolled in HTH Travel Medical Insurance for the duration of the program. The cost of Travel Medical Insurance is included in the program fee. Please see the Education Abroad at UK Health & Safety webpage for more information. 

For More Information

For additional information about this program, please contact:

  • EA Peer Ambassadors, Education Abroad Resource Center, 315 Bradley Hall.

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Dates / Deadlines:
There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
The UK Education Abroad deadline for adding this program has passed. To determine if it is still possible to add this program to your Education Abroad Application, please contact your EA Advisor or UK Education Abroad (