Stern Around the World: Costa Rica


In this Fall 2019 semester course, you will learn about sustainability and consulting by working on projects, such as creating business and marketing plans for Costa Rican businesses in agricultural production, eco-tourism, and environmental education for youth.

On January 4-11, 2020 you will then take a class trip to Costa Rica and have the opportunity to consult these businesses to help further develop their innovative sustainability programs. You will test your business hypothesis on the ground with local partners and experience how sustainability is essential to both Costa Rican culture and industry.

Application Due:  Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Course Overview

BSPA-UB 45 Sustainability Impact Consulting & Business Innovation in Costa Rica
3 Credits – Thursdays from 9:30-10:45 AM
Full Semester:  September 5 – December 12, 2019
Consulting Trip:  January 4-11, 2020
Application Due:  Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Professor Rachel Kowal ( and Professor Sophie Rifkin (

Some of the most forward-thinking businesses interested in taking care of the environment and society can be found in the beautiful country of Costa Rica.  Stern students will have the opportunity to work with small businesses in Costa Rica to help further develop their innovative sustainability programs.  Since agriculture and tourism are Costa Rica’s top sources of domestic revenue, students will work with tropical fruit, chocolate and hotel companies, as well as other entities, to generate future sustainable growth and community development.  Potential student projects include business and marketing plans for agricultural production, eco-tourism and environmental education for youths. 

This course will be worth 3 credits and counts towards Stern's Co-Concentration in Sustainable Business.  The course will include an 8 day January trip to Costa Rica during which students will test their hypothesis on the ground with local partners and become immersed in Costa Rican culture.



This course is open to all matriculated NYU Stern students who are in good standing with Stern and the University and meet the following prerequisites:
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA (study abroad requirement)
  • Must be enrolled at Stern in New York City for the Fall 2019 semester
  • Plan to graduate no earlier than May 2020 (January grads are not eligible)

This 3-credit course can count towards:
  • Stern’s co-concentration in Sustainable Business
  • Stern's co-concentration in Global Business
  • Social Entrepreneurship Minor (Joint with Wagner)
  • General Stern Elective


Travel Details

The following dates are required for the travel portion of the class:
Saturday, January 4, 2020 Costa Rica Arrival Date: Arrival to Juan Santamaria International Airport (San Jose, Costa Rica) in the morning
Official Program Start: Students are required to check in at the hotel for the official start of the program at 4:00pm on Saturday, January 4, 2020
Saturday, January 11, 2020  Official Program End: Students must stay through the official end of the program at 8:00am on Saturday, January 11, 2020

Students will arrange their own flights to and from Costa Rica.  Please note the required program start and end times and plan your flights accordingly to account for customs and transportation to the hotel. Late arrivals and early departures are not permitted.


Estimated Expenses

Please note: Although you will register for this 3-credit course as part of your Fall 2019 schedule, NYU tuition and registration fees do not cover the additional fees for the trip to Costa Rica.
Estimated Expenses
Student is Responsible For: Estimated Expenses: Notes:
Trip Program Fee $1,550 Limited scholarships available (see below)
Round Trip Flight *$800 - $1,000 *Estimate. Students will make their own flight arrangements
Passport Renewal / Visa *$150 - $175 *Estimate. All Passports must be valid through July 12, 2020.  Visas are not required for US Citizens.  See additional information in the "Passport and Visa Requirements for All Participants" section below.
Vaccinations / Travel Medication *$50 - $200 *Estimate. Vaccinations are not required for US Citizens, though recommended by the CDC.
Personal Expenses *$100 - $200 *Estimate

A Trip Program Fee will be required of all participants. The trip program fee covers:
  • Hotel near San Jose, Costa Rica (2 nights)
  • Hotel near La Fortuna, Costa Rica (6 nights)
  • Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner – starting with Dinner on Day 1 through Breakfast on Day 8
  • Local transportation
  • Group excursions


Need-based Travel Scholarships

Stern is pleased to offer a limited number of scholarships to participants who have demonstrated financial need. Scholarship award amounts vary, and are to help students cover the program fee cost.  However, scholarship amounts do not cover flight costs or additional costs not covered by the program fee.  Candidates must have an updated FAFSA or CSS Profile on file at NYU to be considered. Please note: Stern travel scholarships can only be awarded to Stern students.

To apply for a scholarship, a short statement of need will be required on the Application (due Wednesday, May 1, 2019).


Passport and Visa Requirements for All Participants

Passports: You must have a passport valid for more than six months beyond the dates of travel (valid through July 12, 2020 or later).  More information on how to renew or obtain a U.S. passport can be found on the U.S. Department of State's website.

Visas: U.S. passports valid for more than six months beyond the dates of travel do not need a visa to enter Costa Rica. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please consult Costa Rica’s visa requirements.  If you have questions, please contact NYU Office of Global Services (OGS).

Note: It is the student’s responsibility to apply and receive the appropriate visas for their passports in a timely manner for the trip. Trip Program Fee refunds are not provided for those students who fail to secure their visas.


Application and Course Registration

All interested students must complete the online application by Wednesday, May 1, 2019. 

The application must include:
  • color copy of your passport
  • responses to two short essay questions
  • scholarship statement (if applying)

Confirmation:  Accepted applicants must confirm their spot in the program by submitting the trip program fee and contract forms to the International Exchanges & Special Programs Office Front Desk (Suite 600, Tisch Hall) by Monday, May 13, 2019.

Course Registration:  If selected, students will be manually registered for the course by the International Exchanges & Special Programs Office for Fall 2019.