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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: San Jose, Costa Rica
  • Program Terms: Spring Break Program
  • Restrictions: SIUE applicants only
  • Dates / Deadlines
Fact Sheet:
Housing Options: Hotel Language of Instruction: English
Minimum GPA: 2.5 Program Type: Faculty Led
Area of Study: Pharmacy Program Sponsorship Indicator: SIUE
Instructor: Nieto, Marcelo, Santanello, Cathy
Program Description:

monkey in Costa Rica

SIUE Pharmacy Program to Costa Rica

The theme of the course will be an exploration of Costa Rican medicinal plants and tropical diseases. Climate change and deforestation research and its effects on the flora (e.g., medicinal plants) and fauna (e.g., potential disease vectors) of Central America will also be explored. These topics will be considered from a broad perspective that predominately includes natural resources and human diseases in Costa Rica but also history, culture, and geography, with a comparative look at the United States.

This course will combine lectures, readings, and research with a field-based service learning experience. This will be done through the use of case based learning and discussion of articles on the topics. In addition, participants will do a project on tropical diseases and medicinal plant treatments.

Numerous SIUE faculty perspectives will be included to prepare students for the experience, and faculty members from different departments will lead group discussions.  Local experts in Costa Rica will provide briefings on various topics to the group as well.

Click the tabs above (computer) or the drop-down menu (mobile) for more information.

Only students in the SIUE School of Pharmacy are eligible to apply for participation in this program.

See Application Instructions for an overview of the online application process. When you are ready to create your application and begin working on the requirements, click the APPLY NOW button at the top of this page.



Academic Content

PHEL 789 Medicinal Plants and Tropical Diseases 2 credit hours

Students taking this class for credit will pay the current SIUE School of Pharmacy tuition rate, approximately $1954 for 2 credits.


Prices and Payments

The program fee includes:
  • Air Ticket
  • Lodging
  • Some Meals
  • Ground Transportation
  • Field Excursions
  • Health and Evacuation Insurance
The Program Fee does not include:
  • SIUE tuition
  • Books and Materials
  • Passport
  • SIUE Study Abroad Fee ($75)
  • SIUE Technology Fee (about $45)
  • Personal Expenses
Payment Schedule:
  • $900 deposit payment will be due January 10, 2018
  • The balance will be due on or before February 15, 2018
Payments are made online through your study abroad application.


Contact Information


Marcelo Nieto
UP 220 Room 1026
Phone 618-650-5130


Catherine Santanello
UP 220 Room 1021
Phone: 618-650-5165



Program Itinerary

March 2, 2018 Depart St. Louis for San Jose, Costa Rica
March 3-10, 3018
  • Attending seminars given by researchers at the University of Costa Rica School of Pharmacy (Dr. Lidiette Fonseca Gonzalez), School of Microbiology (Dr. Adriana Troyo Rodriguez) and the Center for Natural Products Research (CIPRONA, Dr. Juan Araya Barrantes) on tropical diseases and natural products research.

  • Visiting Poas, Carara, and Manuel Antonio National Park

  • Learning about medicinal plants through tours provided by Botanical experts at the Carara National Park (Adrian Arce Arias) and by independent research on a chosen topic. Note that students are expected to do independent research on a group of medicinal plants prior to the trip and will continue to research the topic after their return.


  • Interviews of local healers and experts in medicinal plants and tropical diseases as part of their research paper.

  • Meeting with students of the University of Costa Rica’s School of Pharmacy to learn about the Pharmacy curriculum and in particular how herbal medicines are introduced.

  • Daily writing and reflecting in journals; students will be provided with directed questions; journals will be collected and evaluated at the end of the trip.

March 11, 2018 Return to St. Louis
This itinerary is subject to change. Final itinerary information will be provided to participants by the program leader.



Participants must be prepared to encounter cultural and social situations that require a high level of mature independence and respond appropriately to such situations.  Participants must be able successfully navigate transportation systems (air, train, bus, car) to the travel study destination(s) following all rules and laws pertaining to international travel and destinations.  Participants must be able to independently and collectively travel as a coherent group and maintain emotional maturity as warranted by the trip and its variety of educational experiences.  Participants must be prepared to independently walk long distances; carry personal luggage and groceries; walk up and down stairs; and navigate entrances and exits to public transportation, buildings, and cultural sites.   Participants must be prepared to encounter environments different from the United States which can include cigarette/cigar smoke, automobile exhaust, loud noise, congested streets and crowded public areas and a variety of other environments which may not be known except upon encountering them.  If you have any physical or emotional limitations, consider your health and capabilities carefully in consultation with your doctor before undertaking this trip. 


Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring Break Program 2019 10/01/2018 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Applicants will learn of acceptance shortly after this date. If accepted, students must return to their applications to complete the next phase of requirements.