waterfall in Costa Rica

Spring Break in Costa Rica

COMM 4589 GCI: The Business of Saving Nature in Costa Rica

Preservation of biological diversity is of paramount importance to the continued existence of life on Earth. Various human activities, e.g., the conversion of natural lands for agriculture and urbanization, together with the alteration of wetlands and aquatic ecosystems, have already caused the extinction of many species and threatens the existence of many more. The conflict between economic and environmental concerns is particularly acute in the developing world and in countries that are heavily dependent on natural resources. This course examines the issues and tradeoffs related to the maintenance of biological diversity in the face of economic development. We will explore topics in a series of on-Grounds classes on Tuesday evenings during the early weeks of the spring semester, and then experience them in situ on a study tour of Costa Rica during spring break 2019. This course is cross-listed with Environmental Thought & Practice.

This 3-credit course counts toward the Global Commerce Track and as a McIntire elective, and is cross-listed with ETP 4693 in the College of Arts & Sciences. For more information, contact Professor Mark White (markwhite@virginia.edu).

Program Dates

On-Grounds dates: TBD
Travel dates: March 8-17, 2019
Final assignment due: TBD

Who Should Take This Class

This course is open to all UVA undergraduates, regardless of major.

Information Sessions 

Monday, Sept. 17, at 5 p.m. in Rouss & Robertson Halls, Room 254 or
Tuesday, Sept. 18, at 5 p.m. in Rouss & Robertson Halls, Room 254

Application Process 

An online application is available soon on the ISO website after students review the online Education Abroad Workshop information session.

Applications are due by 11:59 p.m., Nov. 1. Once admission is approved, students will attend several orientation sessions during the months of November and December.

A $90 application fee must be paid in person by cash or check at the International Studies Office in Minor Hall no later than 5 p.m., Nov. 1, or may be paid online until 11:59 p.m., Nov. 1. Online payments made on the deadline day will be marked as received the following day.


There are many ways for students to be able to fund their programs abroad. All undergraduate Commerce students who apply to any GCI course are eligible to submit a separate application for need-based McIntire private scholarships, provided by McIntire alumni and companies committed to making these types of global experiences possible. McIntire undergraduate applicants will be sent a link directly via email to the scholarship application for these McIntire scholarships within a few days after the application deadline. Decisions are made quickly, and students will be notified of their McIntire scholarship decision before the deadline for committing to the program. McIntire scholarships range from $500 to half the total billable cost of the GCI course.

In addition, the UVA International Studies Office suggests many other sources of funding for your education abroad through local, national, and international opportunities.