UMD: A Globally Connected University

UMD-Winter: Costa Rica: Fire and Jungle: Sustainability, Climate Change and Renewable Energy Systems (ENME)

La Fortuna, Costa Rica
Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica
San Jose, Costa Rica
Terms Offered: 
Program Type: 
Credit Type: 
Minimum GPA: 
Non-UMD Students Eligible to Apply: 
Graduate Students Eligible to Apply: 
EA Advisor:

Tree Frog

The looming negative consequences of global climate change are making it necessary for countries around the world to implement innovative and sustainable solutions to avoid ecological damage. With its stunning mixture of geology and it's beautifully lush rain forests, Costa Rica is uniquely poised to lead the charge. Today, almost 100% of the electricity consumed in this small country comes from renewable energy sources. 

Through a wide variety of activities students will get to witness and experience first hand the innovative and sustainable solutions that Costa Rica has employed, as well as the natural wonders and wildlife they are tasked with protecting. The course will explore the generation, use and impacts of both geothermal energy and hydroelectric power. Students will also acquire critical global capabilities in the area of technology and engineering by immersing themselves in Costa Rica's culture. 

More so now than ever, engineers must be prepared to combat the negative consequences of climate change, this course will help provide them the inspiration, skills and confidence to face those challenges head on. 

By participating in this program, students will have the to opportunity to:

  • Explore innovative solutions to global climate change
  • Analyze the generation, use and implications of renewable energy technologies 
  • Explain the many uses and benefits of geothermal energy aside from energy generation
  • Acquire an understanding of Costa Rica's culture and green economy
  • Compare and contrast the benefits and drawbacks of a variety of "sustainable" technologies

*There are need-based scholarships available for this program, please contact the Office of Global Engineering Leadership for additional information once you have completed your program application.

You must be in good academic and judicial standing and you must not have any registration blocks to participate in this program. The minimum GPA for this program is 2.75.

UMD and Non-UMD sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduate students are eligible to apply. Students must have at least 60 credits, including any transfer credit, by winter 2023 in order to be eligible for this program.

Prerequisite: Physics 260 or Equivalent

If you are interested in this program but do not meet the eligibility requirements, reach out to the program director (listed in the Contacts tab) to discuss your interest in the program.

After you commit to the program, Education Abroad will enroll you in one of the following three (3) credit UMD courses:

  • ENME407: UMD-Winter: Costa Rica: Sustainability, Climate Change and Renewable Energy Systems (3 credits)

ENME407 is approved for the following:

  • BIOE: Breadth Elective
  • BSIS: Approved Upper-Level Major Elective
  • ENAE: Out of Major Technical Elective
  • ENCE: Out of Major Technical Elective 
  • ENEE: General Technical Elective (EE) or Category F elective (CE)
  • ENFP: Technical Elective
  • ENME: In Major Technical Elective

*CHBE and ENMA students need to request permission of the department. Please see your Academic Advisor.

The credit you earn during this program will count as resident credit. The course offered also counts towards those with a Sustainability minor.

You will stay in dorm rooms (only with other students from the trip) and will have access to internet, bathrooms, and other typical hotel amenities.

*This program qualifies for eligible Pell Grant recipients to apply for the Gilman International Scholarship. Online applications will open in mid-August and are due Thursday, October 6, 2022, at 11:59pm PT.

*There are need-based scholarships available for this program, please contact the Office of Global Engineering Leadership for additional information once you have completed your program application.

Application Fee $50
Billable Costs
Billable costs are charged to your student account. They are due based on the Office of Student Financial Services and Cashiering payment schedule. Be sure to check your statements when they are available.
Education Abroad Fee $500
This fee is charged to your account when the application status changes from "Accepted" to "Committed." This fee includes Education Abroad services including registration, billing, advising, risk management, and pre-departure orientation.
International Health Insurance $45
Tuition $2,625
This fee is charged to your UMD account upon course registration. This fee includes: Tuition, in-country transportation, course related activities, group meals, and teaching services.
Housing Fee $625
This fee represents the housing provided during the program.
Out-of-pocket Costs
Meals (estimate) $100
Visa $0
Passport $165
Roundtrip Airfare (estimate) $1000
Course Materials $0
Optional Activities/incidental expenses $150
Optional trip cancelation/interruption Insurance (estimate) $180

NOTE: If you are a non-UMD graduate student, you will need to pay a $75 application fee to the UMD graduate school to participate in this program.

Please refer to the following resources for more information on funding study abroad

PLEASE NOTE: All University of Maryland study abroad programs are financially self-supporting and, therefore, subject to cancellation due to low enrollment.

Michael Galczynski is a Program Co-Director Leader and a Senior Lecturer in the Keystone Program at The University of Maryland. Mike has taught a wide variety of engineering courses, including study abroad programs in Australia, Czech Republic, Greece, Italy and Iceland. Mike is excited to share his passions of sustainability and traveling with students in the magnificently beautiful country of Costa Rica!

Dr. Natasha Andrade is a program Co-Director Associate Chair for Undergraduate Programs, and Senior Lecturer in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. Natasha has specialized in teaching undergraduate courses with a focus on Environmental Engineering and is particularly interested in sustainable development and renewable energy. While her primary focus is instruction, she also enjoys leading research in her discipline.

For course, itinerary or in-country information, please contact the Program Director. For general questions or assistance with applying, contact Education Abroad.

As a part of this program, you will engage in activities such as:

  • Immerse yourself in Costa Rican culture by visiting museums, interacting with local guides, and sampling some of Costa Rica’s finest foods.
  • Explore the capital city of San Jose, and learn about the history and culture of the country
  • Visit geothermal and hydroelectric power stations. Experience some of Costa Rica’s most breathtaking natural wonders: Volcan Irazu, Volcan Arenal, Tropical Rainforests, The Tabacon geothermally heated River, Rincon De La Vieja Geothermal Area, Playa Hermosa and many more!
Term Year Application Deadline Admission Notification Program Start Program End
Winterterm 2024 10/01/2023 10/11/2023 01/04/2024 01/19/2024