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Students Explore Costa Rica on Educational Trip

Teaching opportunities abroad contribute to student engagement

(July 4, 2023) - On May 1, 2023, 27 Laurentian University students and community members departed for an incredible eleven day educational trip to Costa Rica. This voyage offered many opportunities for learning about Costa Rican culture and folklore. Students had ample opportunity to engage in a plethora of activities including a visit to Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna Waterfall, Monteverde Butterfly Garden, the Monteverde Cheese Factory, local markets in the Central Pacific Coast, the Manuel Antonia National Park, the San José National Park and the Parque Francisco Alvarado. 

Group leader and Full Professor, School of Kinesiology and Health Sciences, Dr. Roger Couture, spoke enthusiastically about this educational experience that was enjoyed by all who attended: “The first educational trip of 2023 to Costa Rica was wonderful, as we were able to see a wide variety of vegetation, trees, birds, butterflies and animals. Our hikes to volcanos and waterfalls were also amazing.”

The trip was also a family affair, as Dr. Couture’s son Luc Couture, Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology (2023) alumnus said: “During this amazing trip, we had the opportunity to explore not only biodiverse rainforests and cloud forests but also the breathtaking tropical beaches and volcanoes of Costa Rica. In addition to immersing ourselves in the natural wonders, we were fortunate to learn about Costa Rican traditions and culture. With the great company of like-minded individuals my age, this journey became an unforgettable educational experience that enriched our understanding of the incredible diversity and beauty of Costa Rica.” Luc is eager to commence his first year of medical school at NOSM University this fall. 

Fourth year student majoring in Biology and minoring in Environmental Chemistry, Mackenzie Hobbs from the small town of Massey Ontario described her experience on the trip as “absolutely incredible!”. Mackenzie continued to say that “as a biology student and someone who loves the natural world, I was extremely happy to see so many nature based educational excursions on this trip. It was a dream come true witnessing the immense biodiversity, various microclimates, and unique ecosystems of Costa Rica such as the Santa Elena Cloud Forest. Having a very knowledgeable local guide that educated us on the various species of plants and animals, history, and ecology of the areas we visited was a huge bonus. Costa Rica is a beautiful country and their efforts to protect and conserve their land is inspiring!”

For some like Alex McFadden, the trip to Costa Rica provided them with a new perspective on local biology. Alex added, “I’m a first-year Biochemistry student who has lived in Sudbury all my life, so this region has always seemed familiar and ordinary to me. But that has completely changed since the Costa Rica trip. I was so impressed with the plant and animal biodiversity that, upon our return home, I have become a tourist of our local biology with a new appreciation for nature. Thanks to this trip, and the people I was fortunate enough to share the experience with, every new natural curiosity has become absolutely fascinating.”

The next educational trip is already underway in its planning and will depart for Iceland, May 3, 2024. In 2025, a trip to Peru will be planned. Click here for more information about both voyages
Those with interest or questions about participating are encouraged to contact the Group Leader Roger Couture, PhD