From the classroom to the jungle

Both exquisite scarlet Macaws eye visitors below in San Jose, Costa Rica. Courtesy of Wayne Whaley and Bill Dinklage
Both exquisite scarlet Macaws eye visitors below in San Jose, Costa Rica. Courtesy of Wayne Whaley and Bill Dinklage

Professors Wayne Whaley and Bill Dinklage of the biology department are taking 14 participants on a veritable jungle safari where they will watch glowing lava blocks rolling off a volcano, whitewater raft the Pacuare River and observe flowers and wildlife such as howler monkeys, sloths, poison dart frogs, 18-foot salt water crocodiles. “We stay in beautiful resorts and have great educational experiences. What is better than that?” Whaley said.

The trip will cost each participant $1,695. This might sound like a hefty sum, but it does pay for a passport, insurance, travel expenses, classroom instruction, jungle guides, lodging, meals, and some discretionary spending. Pell grants and student loans can be applied to this type of study abroad program, based on eligibility.

Although the study abroad officially began June 1, the first two weeks will be used for in-class lecture and preparation for the trip. The group will fly to Costa Rica June 24, immediately visiting the volcanoes Poás and Arenal. At Arenal, the students will hike up a lava flow from 1992. When dusk falls, they will witness refrigerator-
sized blocks of red-hot lava tumbling down the mountainside.

Next they are off to the Pacific coast to study plant and animal life along the beach, followed by forays into the heavy rainforest south of San José. The trip will conclude on the other side of the island, along the Caribbean coast.

Study abroad programs such as the Costa Rica program are within the reach of many students, and even some community members. They provide great opportunities for research, hands on experience, as well as unique forays into foreign lands.

Leave a Reply