Learning about Environmental Sustainability in Costa Rica

Ahdi Mohammed ’13: This past spring, we went
abroad to Costa Rica on the Mount Holyoke and Goucher program on sustainable development. We had a really amazing time. The professors are
definitely life changing. They’re really inspirational. They’re so passionate. Learning is fun while you’re there.
Cally Guasti ’13: A lot of our academics did
happen also outside the program with our professors.
Mohammed: The program has a great emphasis on experiential learning, so we went on field
trips around the country. And at this point, we’d be learning about the history of the
banana plantations from the social development and change professor, and then our tropical
ecology professor would come and she’d talk about the soil that’s in the area, and then
during this whole process we might be having a particular conversation with the Spanish
professor, in Spanish. So it was just all about going out there, getting all this different
information from all these different perspectives while you’re out there on the spot, on the
location, in the factory, in the plantation, in the fishing port. So, it had a lot to do
with being there in the case studies, speaking to the locals, while having, like, an academician’s
perspective. There were people from all sorts of majorsbiology, environmental studies,
anthropology, sociology …
Guasti: Geography. It’s like a really kind of all-encompassing program in that sense,
because it gets a sense of the culture of Costa Rica, it gets a sense of the environment,
the environmental issues of Costa Rica, and it also has this kind of tropical ecology
aspect of, like, more of a science, natural science field.
Mohammed: The home stay aspect of the study
abroad experience does give you a greater understanding of what the culture is like.
Not only are you exposed to, like, what their food is like, but also what are the problems
that they experience as a family.
Guasti: Going to a place where we had cloud forests, we visited rain forests, and actually
seeing, OK this is what is there, this is what’s at stake, was really helpful to understand
the importance of environmental sustainability and issues in general.

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