Art/Design/Travel Costa Rica

Program Dates Oct 13-18, 2023


About the program

In this program we will travel to Costa Rica over six days in Costa Rica.  Costa Rica is a rugged rainforest Central American country with coastlines on the Caribbean and Pacific. It is known for its beaches, volcanoes, and biodiversity. Roughly a quarter of its area is made up of protected jungle, teeming with wildlife, including spider monkeys and quetzal birds. Costa Rica is listed as the happiest place on earth, with one of the strongest and longest democracies. During this program, we will hike in the rainforest, visit historic architectural sites, museums, and cultural sites, and attend artist workshops. As a result, we will experience firsthand knowledge of Costa Rica's history and art, design, and sustainability. Students will use visual journaling, drawing, writing, and photographs to capture, explore, and give voice to the trip's experiences. Daily assignments will provide perspective on the cultural aspects of travel. Shared research and a reflection paper will contextualize, expand one's knowledge, and give the student a frame of reference for determining how these traditions can be a source of inspiration or a point of departure. Two pre-travel classes in the Fall will cover necessary language skills and studio course projects, provide a more detailed schedule of events and protect all travel questions. 



Costa Rica, officially the Republic of Costa Rica, is a country in the Central American region of North America. Costa Rica is bordered by Nicaragua to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the northeast, Panama to the southeast, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, as well as maritime border with Ecuador to the south of Cocos Island. It has a population of around five million in a land area of 51,060 km2 (19,710 sq mi). An estimated 333,980 people live in the capital and largest city, San José, with around two million people in the surrounding metropolitan area.

The sovereign state is a unitary presidential constitutional republic. It has a long-standing and stable democracy and a highly educated workforce. The country spends roughly 6.9% of its budget (2016) on education, compared to a global average of 4.4%. Its economy, once heavily dependent on agriculture, has diversified to include sectors such as finance, corporate services for foreign companies, pharmaceuticals, and ecotourism. Many foreign manufacturing and services companies operate in Costa Rica's Free Trade Zones (FTZ) where they benefit from investment and tax incentives.

Costa Rica was inhabited by indigenous peoples before coming under Spanish rule in the 16th century. It remained a peripheral colony of the empire until independence as part of the First Mexican Empire, followed by membership in the Federal Republic of Central America, from which it formally declared independence in 1847. Following the brief Costa Rican Civil War in 1948, it permanently abolished its army in 1949, becoming one of only a few sovereign nations without a standing army.

The country has consistently performed favorably in the Human Development Index (HDI), placing 58th in the world as of 2022, and fifth in Latin America. It has also been cited by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as having attained much higher human development than other countries at the same income levels, with a better record on human development and inequality than the median of the region. It also performs well in comparisons of democratic governance, press freedom, subjective happiness and sustainable wellbeing. It has the 8th freest press according to the Press Freedom Index, it is the 35th most democratic country according to the Freedom in the World index and is the 23rd happiest country in the 2023 World Happiness Report. 




Program participans will enroll in one course from the following selection.

Course Prefix

Course Name



ART 3850

Art/Craft/ Design and Travel


Lisa Stinson

IND 3530

Art/Design and Travel


Garner Dewey


Faculty Leaders

Lisa M. Stinson
Professor, Studio Art
Department of Applied and Fine Arts


Lisa Stinson is a Professor in the Art Department and Coordinator of the Ceramic Area at Appalachian State University. She earned her MFA in Ceramics from Rhode Island School of Design, a BFA in Ceramics from New York College of Ceramics at Alfred University and a BA in Psychology from Wells College.

Her current studio work investigates her interests in mark making, as it relates to surface, pattern, and drawing. Her ideas address both utility and non-functional with a continued commitment to materials research.

Professor Lisa Stinson has led a Study Abroad Program to Spain in 2017 and 2018 and is passionate about the global learning experience.  She received the 2017 College of Fine and Applied Art Teaching Award of Excellence.

Garner Dewey
Associate Professor, Industrial Design
Department of Applied Design 


Dr. Dewey received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, and a PhD in Occupational Studies from the University of Georgia, Athens, GA. 

His interests in teaching revolve around aspects related to 3D modeling, animation, sustainability including biomimicry, teaching methods and photography. He has exhibited his photography and digital work in numerous exhibitions. 

Professor Dewey has vast experience planning as well as leading and co-leading Study Abroad Programs through Appalachian State University. These include programs to one to the Dominican Republic, two to Cuba, one to Ecuador, one to Spain and six to his home country of Costa Rica. He is passionate about global learning experience. 


Program Cost: $2300

Program cost includes airfare, all in-country program transportation, lodging, a two-week residency at Metafora: Studio Arts, international health and evacuation insurance, program events, meals, and OIED administrative fee.

Please note that non-billable costs are estimates only and will be affected by personal spending habits, currency fluctuations, etc. Prices listed in USD unless otherwise noted. Students are encouraged to start planning for their study abroad program costs well in advance. 

Charge and Payment Schedule





 Upon submitting application

Ramaining program cost applied to student account:




Estimated Additional Expenses


Undergraduate Tuition - Resident

$152.54 / credit hour

Undergraduate Tuition - Non-Resident

$172.54 / credit hour

Graduate Tuition - Resident

$187.54 / credit hour

Graduate Tuition - Non-Resident

$207.54 / credit hour

Personal Expenses




Meals not included in program fee



Appalachian reserves the right to cancel or alter the program format or to change costs in case of conditions beyond the university's control.  Further details about Appalachian's withdrawal/cancellation policy can be found at this link.


Application Process

  1. To apply for this program, please contact one of the program leaders and provide your Banner ID and email address. Program leaders may request additional information or a meeting to discuss the details of the program and your interest.
  2. When permission to apply for the program is granted, you will receive an email from your program leader with instructions to apply.
  3. Apply to the program following the instructions from the program leader
  4. Print, sign and drop off your application at the Office of International Education and Development at Plemmons Student Union (PSU), Suite 321 ( 3rd floor), 263 Locust Street Boone, NC 28608. Your application will be considered complete when you have submitted your digital application, paid the $300 deposit, and dropped off your printed and signed application. The fee cannot be paid until it appears on your student account. Please note that it may take 2–3 business days for it to post to your account. You will receive an email with Instructions for paying the deposit fee. Instructions can also be found in the application.