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San Jose, Turrialba, La Fortuna, Nicoya, Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Program Description

Get ready to explore all the wonders of Costa Rica and immerse yourself in the Pura Vida (Pure Life). Through this multidisciplinary experience you will learn and practice the lifestyle habits that contribute to longevity and happiness. In this cross country tour, students will experience the agricultural and rich cultural traditions that shape the dietary patterns and economy of Costa Rica. Students will take a walk on the wild side and the sand side, hiking and sound bathing in the rainforest and practicing yoga, meditation and reflection on the beach. Students will visit the Nicoya region and learn the ways of the Blue Zones centenarians and appreciate the natural wonders and conservation efforts of the Costa Rican community.

In this course students with a health interest and students with a math interest will work together over the three week study abroad program to learn and experience the principles of living the Blue Zones way. Students will cover four core topics that encompass Blue Zone living: community, food, movement and stress adaptation. The first part of the course is focused on health or math theories (depending on the section enrolled), this will include lectures, readings, guest lectures, videos and tours). The second part of the course will be focused on experiencing and immersing oneself in these practices with modes of learning including lectures, readings, data collection, tours, field work and activities such as farm tours, authentic cooking classes, walking, hiking, yoga, meditation and conservation. The third part we will retreat and reflect on our theories and experiences and student teams will design their own Blue Zone’s Community which will be prepared and presented. Modes of learning could include lectures, videos/documentaries, readings and activities.

Through it all, students will integrate health, mathematics and statistical concepts to explore and better understand these ideas. All of these experiences will culminate in a project where students will work in small, multidisciplinary teams to design your own Blue Zone Community and transplant these Pura Vida practices to other communities around the globe!

Location Description

Costa Rica is a tropical paradise that not only embraces lush landscapes and breathtaking biodiversity but also holds the secret to longevity and well-being. Discover the captivating allure of the Nicoya Peninsula, a renowned Blue Zone where vibrant communities thrive with a remarkable concentration of centenarians. As you explore Costa Rica's vibrant culture and stunning natural beauty, delve into the lifestyle factors that contribute to this extraordinary longevity. From the pristine beaches to the lush rainforests, Costa Rica offers an immersive study abroad experience where you'll learn not only about the country's unique ecology but also valuable lessons in health and happiness.


Celestine Woodruff | | Mathematics & Statistics

Ailton (Santo) Coleman | | Health Sciences


Accommodations will be provided for students through a number of proposed lodging options including: dormitory style housing on a college campus; lodging through hostels or eco lodges with access to internet and shared kitchen and laundry facilities. Students will be expected to share double rooms.

All meals will be provided as part of the program fee. In places where we have shared kitchen spaces we will prepare our own communal meals. Costs for communal meals will also be covered in the program fee.

Additional Items to Consider

Some coursework is required prior to departure.

Some activities will require light to moderate physical exertion including hiking in the rainforest, yoga and walking. Raincoat and/or light waterproof jacket recommended since we will be in the rainy season. Hiking boots or sturdy sneakers recommended.

Students should bring laptops. (Please apply even if you don't have one and we will work to see what we can do.)

Outlets and voltage is the same as North America.

 Spanish language experience is not required, although speaking some Spanish would be a plus.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0

Open to all class levels and majors, including graduate students.

Application Process

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($40 fee)
  • Short Essay 
  • Resume
  • List of Academic References
  • Attendance at program info session required

Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in.

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


MATH 103: The Nature of Mathematics (3 credits)

HTH 391: Special Topics in Health Sciences: Blue Zones in Costa Rica (3 credits)

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.


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