Semester Abroad

For more than a decade and during the Summer, Las Nubes Project has offered a field course on Tropical Conservation and Sustainability in Costa Rica. The success of this course led to the creation of the Semester Abroad. Browse through Past Years.

Important Dates:

  • October 30, 2017: Information Session at Glendon, 2:00 PM, YH A301.
  • November 16, 2017: Information Session, 2:30-3:30 PM, HNES 142.
  • January 24, 2018: Mandatory Meeting, 12-2 pm, HNES 140. All students planning on participating in the Semester Abroad must attend this meeting.
  • March 2018: York University official Summer Registration starts.
  • April 4, 2018: Final Mandatory Meeting, 12-2 PM, HNES 140. Risk assessment forms, York International’s mobility award (YIMA) form AND, Full course fee must be paid at the meeting. Payments are payable to York University by money order or bank certified cheque.
  • April 30 - May 4, 2018: Orientation Week. Several classes will hold an orientation session during this week. York University tuition fees (not the same as the course fee) must be paid before the end of the week.

Below is the list of courses and the exact dates they will run:

Narratives in/of Latin America. Individuals, Communities, and their Voices (GL/SP/COMS 4608)

Instructor: Maria Constanza Guzmán
Dates: April 30 - May 10, 2018
This course centres on the nature of narratives, with a focus on Latin America. Throughout the course we explore the ways in which the region is imagined and constructed narratively. Students engage with fiction and non-fiction and personal (life) and social narratives in various discursive modalities. They analyze them as they relate to the construction of subjects, identities, and social formations, and look at how language(s), power relations, and subjectivity intersect in the way we tell (these) stories. In addition, students are given the option of creating their own narratives, based on a personal experience in/of Latin America

Environmental Arts and Food Sovereignty in Costa Rica (ENVS 4810B)

Instructor: Deborah Barndt
Dates: May 11-20, 2018

This community-engaged workshop offers students the opportunity to experience environmental arts that are integral to struggles for food sovereignty in Costa Rica. It will move through three phases in three sites: exploring environmental arts principles and practices at the Las Nubes Eco Campus, collaborating with renowned singer/artist/healer Guadalupe Urbina on a youth arts project in a permaculture garden in Longo Mai community and producing mobile murals proclaiming small farmers’ rights with environmental artist Raquel Bolaños in San Isidro El General. The workshop will culminate with participation in the annual Alexander Skutch Arts Festival.

Globalization and Indigenous Peoples (ENVS 4215)

Instructor: Ravi de Costa
Dates: May 22-29, 2018

Indigenous peoples are distinct communities who have experienced the processes of globalization in particular ways. Focusing on the experience of Indigenous peoples in Costa Rica, the course examines the global historical processes of imperialism and colonialism and their legacies of racism, assimilation and marginalization. The course then examines Indigenous peoples' resistance to globalization and engagement with global networks, movements and institutions, in order to protect their cultures and assert their rights. We will think about these issues in context, by living with and learning from several Indigenous communities in the south of Costa Rica.

Education for a Sustainable Future (EDUC 3700)

Instructor: Steve Alsop
Dates: May 31 - June 9, 2018
This course provides an introduction to the theory and practice of education for environmental sustainability. It traces approaches from its origins in outdoor, experiential and environmental education to contemporary expressions as an interdisciplinary approach that explores relations between education and social, economic, cultural and environmental justice. The course seeks to attract students with an interest in education and the possibilities and shortcomings that associated policies and practices might offer/foreclose. It draws from selected readings and experiences in Las Nubes to explore ESF (Education for a Sustainable Future) as an open-question for examination within selected social-ecological contexts within Costa Rica and Canada.

Natural History: Political Ecology Encounters Environmental Education in Costa Rica (ENVS 4120)

Instructor: Leesa Fawcett
Dates: June 11-20, 2018
Experiencing, appreciating and recognizing the biodiversity of the tropical forests in the Las Nubes area, while considering the political ecology of the region is the intention of this course. By studying the beliefs, theories and practices of naturalists (e.g. Darwin, Alexander Skutch and contemporary Costa Rican scholars), we will critically interpret differing historical narratives and images of nature. In the field, with close observation, students will describe and document the lives of mammals, amphibians, birds, plants, and insects in the Las Nubes area, the greater corridor, and its watershed. The over-arching course goal is to continue to build place-based eco-social knowledge and to translate that learning into critical environmental education initiatives and citizen science for the surrounding, interdependent human and more-than human communities.

Protected Area Management in Costa Rica (ENVS 4446)

Instructor: Sheila Colla
Dates: June 22 - July 1, 2018

This course will investigate the ecological, cultural and social components involved in protecting habitats to maintain biodiversity. Based at Las Nubes Eco Campus, case studies, readings and field trips will explore various governance issues including conflict, stakeholder interests and collaborations. Measures of successful conservation management will be discussed, including the use of biodiversity indicators. Students will be involved in the design and data collection of local protected area biodiversity monitoring schemes for a variety of taxa through group projects. Some prior knowledge of ecology is expected. Note: Students who are enrolled in ENVS 4446 3.0 Section B going out to Costa Rica are required to attend the lectures for ENVS 4446 3.0A offered at York prior to departure


Please note the following:

  • If you are interested in participating in the Las Nubes Semester Abroad 2018, register here
  • All courses are open to upper-year undergraduates and graduates, including non-FES students. Grad students need to complete a form required by FGS (Request for a Graduate Student to Enroll in an Undergraduate Course).
  • Course fees includes all in-country transportation, room and board, and park entrance fees that are part of course programs. Accommodations includes a mix of homestays and hotels. More information on course costs can be found here
  • BES Areas of Concentration for each one of the courses are available here
  • The courses offered are of interest to students from a wide range of disciplines including (and not limited to) environmental studies, international studies, health, education, biology, sociology, business, sociology, political science, psychology, design and engineering.
  • LA&PS students have the possibility to apply for funding. Check the requirements for the International Study Abroad Award for LA&PS.
  • Visa information: Refer to the Embassy of Costa Rica in Canada's website.
  • Non-York Students must follow the Admission and Application Procedures for Visiting Students

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