Study International Politics in San Jose, Costa Rica

Spend a month in San Jose, Costa Rica on this faculty-led adventure!

Traveling abroad during your college experience will expand your world in ways that you haven’t yet imagined. WSU students now have a unique opportunity to study in the heart of one of the most culturally and biologically diverse countries in the world!
You get a strange feeling when you're about to leave a place, like you'll not only miss the people you met but you'll miss the person you are now at this time and place because you'll never be this way again.

–Natasha P.
WSU Study Abroad 2015

Program Information


WSU’s International Politics in Costa Rica program will take place from May 6, 2017, to June 3, 2017. Participants must arrive May 6 and depart June 3, as program arranged accommodations are only available these dates.

Application deadline is February 1, 2017.


During the program, students will stay with a Costa Rican family in their home. This provides a unique opportunity for students to experience daily Costa Rican life and see a side of the culture most tourists would never experience.

The hosts will provide breakfast and dinner to the students at the home.


The WSU program course is POL S 103 (3 credits), a UCORE SSCI corse open to all majors. POL S 103–an Introduction to International Relations–introduces students to the principles and foundations of international relations, including three major theories: Realism, Liberalism, and Marxism. The purpose of this course is to help you to develop the conceptual and theoretical tools necessary to critically understand and to creatively respond to world events. Throughout the program, we apply these theories to examine a variety of topics in international relations, including conflict, globalization, development, human rights, and contemporary international politics.

Course Objectives

The primary course objective is to give students the analytical and theoretical tools to understand past and current international relations. More specifically, this means the course is intended to help students do the following:

  • develop the ability to critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of different international relations perspectives,
  • become more informed and discriminating consumers of political information,
  • develop a basic understanding of, and appreciation for, contemporary international relations, particularly of issues that affect Costa Rica, and
  • foster self-reflection about the rights and responsibilities of global citizenship.

Additional Learning Opportunity

Program participants also have the option of taking a non-WSU Spanish Language course (5 credits). This course will be offered by CEA through Veritas University. Students will take a language placement exam to determine course placement. There is an additional fee of $1,650 to take the Spanish Language course.

Site Visits & Excursions

Active Learning

University for Peace (UPEACE)
Students will experience a lecture related to peace studies within a Costa Rican or Latin American context, a campus tour, and a hike up to the UPEACE Mirador.

Inter-American Court of Human Rights

Including guided tour covering the works and scope of the court.

La Flor Agroecological Farm
Students will have the opportunity to take part in a volunteer project associated with the agroecological farm, in areas such as the forest, the farm’s kitchen, and/or the medicinal garden.


Overnight Trip – Arenal Volcano & Monteverde (3 days/2 nights)
Students will leave campus and experience Costa Rica’s rich biodiversity and ecosystems.

This excursion includes:

  • Roundtrip bus transportation
  • Hotel accommodations
  • Breakfast
  • Visits to La Fortuna Waterfall and Baldi Hot Springs in Arenal
  • Visits to the Santa Elena Wildlife Refuge and the Hanging Bridge in Monteverde

Cultural Activities

Throughout the program, students will be provided with a variety of social and cultural activities to help them be immersed in the host culture. For this program, the following social/cultural activities are included:

  • Art city tour
  • Central market guided tour
  • Farewell meal
About the Instructor


Katie Banks is an instructor in the School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs and a faculty adviser in International Experiences for WSU Tri-Cities and for WSU’s PPPA. Professor Banks holds an M.A. in Political Science from the University of Washington (2009), an M.Phil. in International Relations from the University of Cambridge (2006), and a B.A. in English from Texas Tech University (2004). She teaches courses in American government, American foreign policy, international politics, international development, and the Freshmen Year Experience.

In her spare time, she hangs out with her husband, step-daughter, and their three small rescue pups; makes glass art; and travels. She has been to over forty countries–including attending college courses on three continents, backpacking through Eastern Europe, camping in southern Africa, and teaching English in South Korea. Where will your learning take you?

Program Deadines & Costs


Enrollment: Students must be enrolled by February 1st, 2017

Withdrawal: To be eligible for a full refund, students must withdraw by February 15th, 2017


  • Be a current WSU student (matriculated or enrolled as non-degree seeking)
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 at the time of application
  • Be 18 years or older at the time of the program
  • Be in good academic standing at WSU
  • Be in good standing with the Office of Student Conduct

Please Note: a minimum number of participants is needed for this program.


The cost for the program is $1,929 (+ WSU tuition) and includes the POL S 103 course, transportation to and from the airport, housing in private homestays, breakfast and dinner, and all excursions.

Flights, additional meals, non-excursion transportation, and extra day-off activities are not included. Students should budget for some additional activities on their free time.

The optional Spanish language course is an additional fee of $1,650.

Scholarship and funding options are available. For more information about scholarship opportunities, contact this program.

Get more info & reserve your spot!