Live and work in communities within many tropical ecosystems
Immerse yourself in the scientific, intercultural, and social aspects of global health, tropical medicine, public health, ethnobiology, and research
Visit numerous primary care facilities in both urban and rural areas, as well as research facilities, museums, market places, and agricultural farms
Explore the realities of access to both Western and traditional healthcare in indigenous territories throughout Costa Rica
Receive 16 credits as a study abroad student at Duke University
Work with experts and doctors on local health issues such as Dengue epidemics and water quality
Learn about disparities in health care, public health campaigns, and the Costa Rican public and private healthcare systems by visiting and participating first-hand
Conduct reseach with experts, with doctors, and independently on pressing local health issues such as social and economic determinants of infectious diseases
Improve your Spanish abilities while living with a Costa Rican family, taking intensive conversational lessons, and interacting with local people in Spanish throughout the course
On the fun side, eat breakfast with toucans and monkeys, learn how to salsa dance, and enjoy midterm break traveling a tropical country on your own
Who is this program designed for?
Pre-meds and other students considering careers in public health or other health-related areas
Hard workers ready to expand their perspective of healthcare on a global level
Students with an an avid curiosity for new cultures and experiences
What do students do in this program?
Live and work with 3 resident professors who are a medical doctor, ethnobiologist, and medical sociologist
Meet doctors and local health officials to understand medical issues in a down-to-earth way
Visit plantations (sugar, chocolate, pineapple, banana, etc.) and meet the farmers to hear their perspectives
Collect data for the local health authorities that is needed to address disparities in healthcare
Visit rural and urban clinics, large and small, and work with local health authorities to set up a rural clinic in Las Alturas
Participate in classes and discussions to build a strong foundation in the concepts of global health, research, and ethnobiology
Gain expertise in the ways that humans are impacting tropical ecosystems via climate change, habitat destruction, etc., what is being done about it on the ground, and the ways that those impacts influence human health
What Duke courses do students earn credit for in this program?
Tropical Medicine and Public Health (GLHLTH 383A; 4 credits)
Research Practicum (GLHLTH 380A; 4 credits)
Ethnobiology (BIO 282LA; 4 credits)
Culture and Language in Costa Rica (SP 92A; 4 credits; with an emphasis on medical Spanish)
Where does the course go?
Las Cruces Biological Station
Serves as a home base for the semester
Set up temporary clinic in rural community at nearby Las Alturas
Get to know the local Costa Rican and indigenous populations and their health needs
At the end of the semester, conduct 2 week research project in the community
La Selva Biological Station
Visit banana and pineapple plantations
Participate in house-to-house Dengue campaign with local clinic
Side trips to interact with traditional healers in indigenous territories
Palo Verde Biological Station
Work with local company doctors and researchers to explore water quality problems
Study irrigation impacts on human health and agriculture by touring the watershed
Visit local clinic
Compare healthcare and markets with those in Costa Rica
Finca Luna Nueva
Work with national expert in ethnobiology to research medicinal plants
Learn about organic farming methods
San Jose, Costa Rica
Live with a homestay family for 3 weeks to improve Spanish skills
Visit local museums, hospital, and markets
Who are the professors?
The three resident faculty for this program are experienced professionals in health-related fields. As a student in this program you will learn, eat, work, laugh, and travel together with the professors and get to know each other very well. Students generally stay in contact with their OTS professors for years after the program.
One year of college-level biology or the equivalent by the start of the semester
One semester of college-level Spanish or other exposure to speaking Spanish (please contact otsadmissions @ duke.edu for more detailed information)
Graduating seniors are eligible to participate the semester after they complete their coursework if they can stay enrolled at their home institution.
What is the cost?
Tuition for OTS semester program: $22,010
Program fee: $1,850
Duke lifetime transcript fee: $40 (does not apply to Duke students)
Tuition and fees cover:
Housing and food at hotels, homestays, and research stations
Local travel to program sites
Participation of many local and international healthcare officials, public health researchers, doctors, and other experts
Tuition and fees do not cover:
Note: Costs for 2014-2015 school year will be announced in late May 2014.
Is there any scholarship aid available?
Scholarships:OTS is committed to providing opportunities to all eligible students interested in participating in our programs. We make scholarship applications available to students upon acceptance into an OTS program and offer funding on a rolling basis. Applicants attending institutions that are members of the OTS consortium have priority, but all qualified applications will be considered. We have dedicated a substantial amount of funding to provide partial scholarships to students who need financial support. Apply early! Non-Duke students: Please consult with the financial aid office at your institution or write to us at otsadmissions @ duke.edu. Duke students: Please consult with the Duke University Financial Aid Office.
What travel arrangements should I make for this program?
When you are accepted to the program, you will receive an orientation packet filled with information about how to prepare, including a packing list. All participants should plan to arrive in San Jose, Costa Rica by the evening of the first day of the semester program. Students must have a valid passport to participate. If you will be traveling to Costa Rica on a non-US passport, please contact otsadmissions @ duke.edu to determine whether a Costa Rican visa will be necessary. For more information, please write to otsadmissions @ duke.edu.
What is the payment schedule for the program?
Notice of acceptance made on a rolling basis.
Upon acceptance, $1000 deposit is required to confirm a place in the program (plus $40 Duke lifetime transcript fee for non-Duke students)
First payment of remaining tuition and fees is due 1-2 months prior to program start date.
Detailed payment information with amounts and due dates will be provided by the Duke University Bursar's Office.
I am interested, who can I talk to?
We would love to hear from you! If you are interested in this or any other OTS program please write to us at otsadmissions @ duke.edu or call us at 919-684-5155. Duke students can also contact the Duke University Global Education Office for Undergraduates.
All applications will be considered without regard to race, color, national or ethnic origin, disability, sexual orientation or preference, gender or age. The Organization for Tropical Studies and Duke University reserves the right to cancel this program. Should it do so, refunds will be made in accordance with the policy of the Duke University Global Education Office for Undergraduates.