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"By far, one of the best experiences of my life! Not only did I enhance my knowledge about environmental policies and practices in Costa Rica, but I learned so much about myself and life in general."
Tiffany Thair, California



"Studying in Costa Rica was like having count-less years worth of meaningful, life-changing experiences in four months. It is amazing what one semester did for my confidence, ambition, and outlook on the world."
Kathryn Gallien, Germany




"I got the best family ever and loved all of the field studies. An exceptional life-changing experience I would definitely do over again."
Roseanne Jones, Minnesota




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Top of page Resources
Listed below are various resources available for participants, alumni, and others interested in learning more about studying in Costa Rica or sustainable living.

For Current & Past Participants:
We have compiled a variety of online sustainable living resources for use by current & past participants, as well as others who may be interested in living more sustainably. Those links are available on the 'Sustainable Living' page.

For Visitors & Family/Friends of Participants:
If you are a visitor to this site, you may browse the MediaBlog to see selected postings from participant studies in Costa Rica. It is comprised of academic assignments and personal postings by participants and alumni. Check back frequently, as new entries will be posted from time to time. NOTE: Activities shown in personal entires may or may not have been program-sponsored. Many of those activities take place on personal time, and at participants' own expense.

For Alumni:
Group pictures from past courses and programs are available on the 'Wall of Fame' in the MediaBlog. If you are an alumni (or current participant), we invite you to participate in the following ways:
1. Post in the EEI Blog
You may share your experiences in Costa Rica with family and friends by creating entries in the EEI Blog online. It is a relatively simple process, but you will need to be aquainted with the posting information prior to doing so.
2. Connect with other Alumni
Past participants may keep in touch, plan reunions, and share information via our Google discussion group or Facebook page. Please contact us if you are a current participant or alumni and have any questions. NOTE: The discussion group and Facebook page is a personal forum which is not moderated by EEI staff and thus does not necessarily represent Earth Education International or its policies.

Top of page Testimonials
Below are testimonials from past participants on programs directed by Dr. Karian since 1996. They have been compiled from various sources including journal entries, program evaluations, and course feedback.
Some past participants may also be available via e-mail to respond to specific inquiries from new participants. If this is of interest, please contact us.

"I learned a lot about myself and how I want to live my life. Seeing such beauty in nature intensified my passion for life. I also feel more compassionate about environmental issues. Seeing with my own eyes the nature that is being so rapidly destroyed has [given] me a newfound sense of the importance of conservation, [and] made me really want to step in and do something about it and tread as lightly on the earth as I possibly can. The people [in rural Nicaragua ] had so little in terms of materials, but at the same time they were so rich in their relationships. Another thing I've learned is [how] important learning itself is."
Zach Fay, Pennsylvania


Lindsey Pic

Lindsey (2nd from left) measuring a baby leatherback
sea turtle (spring 2004)

"This experience in Costa Rica has changed me more than I could have expected. I probably learned more this past week [in La Fortuna] than in 2½ years. This time has been the beginning of a transition period in my life. I have learned [to] CHANGE MY EXPECTATIONS . Nicaragua provided some invaluable lessons that will stay with me for as long as I live. My time at Unile is definitely one of the best experiences of my life. My heart will always have a place for the people I met there and my world-view has changed. This has been one of the greatest experiences in my life. Gracias a Dios. And thanks to you too, Miguel. None of it was possible without you." Lindsey Brown, Idaho

"Being in Costa Rica has made me more appreciative of small details, yet given me a broader view of the world and how varied life is. I have a more realistic perspective on environmental issues and how my role as a world citizen can affect them. 'Learning' took on a whole new definition. What I learned here is that life is much richer and more complicated than anything that comes out of the classroom. In the sequestered environment of university life I had forgotten what it actually means to be alive." Jen Wilson, Virginia


Candyce pic

Candyce (2nd from left) with the spring 2002 group in the high elevation 'paramo' of
Central Costa Rica


"My whole outlook on life has changed. This trip has made me evaluate the importance of life. the importance of preserving the world, learning [about] other cultures, and discovering your own. I realized how much about everything in the world I don't know, and I also realized how important it is to try to learn. I've read a lot about destruction of forests and rainforest ecology. [However] being here was like learning everything all over again, although this time with passion, empathy, sadness and hope for the future. This trip has put an entire new outlook on life and work for me. School isn't just school and studying anymore-it's life." Candyce Emmerich , Wisconsin

"I have learned more in four months than the culmination of my life thus far. This trip has inspired me to go and do, and see all that I thought was unattainable. Everything that took place was external, but its translation was internal. To compare any of this to anything in the past would be impossible. It is not easy to enlighten anyone, including myself on the effects of this experience. I know however, that it will never be erased from my being and nor will any one person who made it all possible. From the deepest part of my entity--Thank you [Miguel]." Angela Clark, Minnesota

"Studying in Costa Rica changed my life. I learned more about the world, my culture, and myself in that short time than I had in my entire life up to that point. It gave me the desire to see the world and the confidence to follow my dreams." Kelly Kulzer, Turkey


Gwen pic

Gwen & Jason
(5th & 6th from right) with the rest of the spring 2000 group in
Granada, Nicaragua


"I thought the experience in Costa Rica was incredible. I got a chance to live in another country, another culture, and learned how another part of the world lives. I never imagined, even after seeing pictures of the country, that any place could be so beautiful. Living in Costa Rica taught me how much I value life. I realized how beautiful the world can be, even though there is corruption and squanderers. The lifestyle showed me how to slow down and enjoy life to the fullest. [Costa Ricans] take time to enjoy more important things, such as family and friends. Through participating in the program, I learned to stop and enjoy the blessings that life has given me." Gwen (Esperanza) Rosha, Minnesota

"My semester in Costa Rica was certainly a highlight of my time [as a student]. To be immersed in another culture made me more aware of the world around me. Being able to take what I learned down in Costa Rica from Dr. Karian about the environment and the culture has proven invaluable in enabling me to grow as a person. Dr. Karian is a phenomenal director, and the trip wouldn't have been the same without him." Jason Dressen, Minnesota


Melinda pic

Melinda (left) touring the rainforest canopy in a cable car with Andrea and Megan
(spring, 1996)

"Living in Costa Rica was unforgettable, it instilled character and confidence that will last a lifetime. While living in Costa Rica , I got to see firsthand that what takes place in other parts of the world does have an impact on home." Melinda (Raby) Kovich, Texas

"I have learned to live and cherish each day. I [now] know to spend every moment doing what I want to. I am happy to be growing more and more independent as the days go on. My time in Nicaragua was all very meaningful and special, but the time spent in Unile was definitely the most powerful. This has been an indescribable experience. There have been so many different parts of it that have been equally important, but what has made the biggest impact on me are the people I have gotten to experience it with. Thank you." Megan Lammers, Minnesota

"What I liked the most was that we as a group could spend a wonderful time on our field trips and that's because the director organized very well with consideration for us." Keiko Jinno, Japan


Angela pic

Angela (2nd from right) after class with Pilar, Jennifer,
and Dr. Karian


Because [Dr. Karian] relates to all sorts of people, [he] made me feel more comfortable. One thing I am thankful for is showing me how exciting and wonderful nature can be AND to not be afraid of it. Thank you." Angela Delgado, Michigan/México

"Going to Costa Rica was the best decision I [have ever] made. It is a great way for personal and academic growth. The culture of Costa Rica and the overall environment is absolutely amazing. I met new friends that will last a lifetime." Crystal Foust, Minnesota

"Being in Costa Rica was an awesome experience. I learned a lot about language, culture, and environmental issues. Most importantly, I was given the chance to grow in mind and spirit." Shelley Kohler, Minnesota

"Studying in Costa Rica was a life-changing experience. Living in the culture allowed my Spanish to improve at amazing speeds, [and] living a more simple life allowed me to reflect on what is really important. Years later, I'm still here--married and teaching English. I made great friends during the study abroad experience and feel that my education wouldn't have been the same without it." Katy (Vinje) V. de Ulloa, Costa Rica

Top of page Re-Entry
As all alumni and other international travelers know, returning home is never quite as easy as one might think. After having adjusted to life in another country, the effects of reverse culture shock can be a significant. This is especially true if you have been away an extended period of time. Nevertheless, the re-entry process can be facilitated through preparation, awareness, and self-reflection. Maintaining contact with people you made friends with while living in Costa Rica, or with others who have had similar experiences, can help the transition. This is strongly recommended if at all feasible. In addition, there are many resources available on the topic of re-entry and reverse culture shock. It will help to review such materials to better understand the process, as well as share your knowledge with loved ones who may have difficulty understanding why you have changed since your experience. For ease, appropriate re-entry materials on the 'What's Up With Culture' web site (an on-line cultural training resource for study abroad), have been identified here for alumni to access at their convenience. It is strongly recommended, however, that these materials be consulted prior to return home so that they will know what to expect. Feel free to explore the site as appropriate. It contains numerous interactive self-evaluation exercises to assist in your self-reflection.
Module 2 - Welcome Back! Now What?

1. Preparing to Come Home (Section 2.1)
2. If you are Preparing to Return Home Soon (Section 2.2)
3. Back Home: Neither Here nor There (Section 2.3)
4. What Did You Learn Abroad? (Section 2.4)
5. Say No to Shoeboxing (Section 2.5)
NOTE: Each section must be accessed individually from the Module 2 main page.

Top of Page Feedback
All alumni are encouraged to send us feedback. Please contact us regarding your experiences participating on our programs, challenges or suggestions dealing with re-entry, upcoming alumni reunions, if you would be interested in sharing your experiences with current participants (via e-mail, or in-person in Costa Rica), or any other thoughts you might have. We would be especially interested in hearing from alumni with whom we have lost contact. Send us an e-mail now!

Top of Page Promotion
Because alumni are in a unique position to speak about our programs through first-hand experience, any assistance with either formal or informal promotion is greatly appreciated. A variety of promotional tools are available to assist in that effort, and alumni can be compensated for their efforts. Please contact us for more information.

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