International Journalism in Costa Rica

Click here for a video of the 2015 Costa Rica trip.

Read a 2015 story Jesus Barrera did for the Tico Times.


Elizabeth Eaton takes notes for her 2014 EcoChronicle story as orchid expert Gabriel Barboza explains features of the new orchid garden he is constructing at the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Certified nature guide Marcos A. Méndez Sibaja, who studied with Barboza, interpreted for journalism students Meghan Fernandez, Mollie Muchna and Eaton. Muchna's video about orchids is also online at EcoChronicle. (Photo by Lisa Button)

Taryn Wright manages to take a selfie with a baby monkey she is feeding at the Jaguar Rescue Center near Puerto Viejo, Limón, Costa Rica.

Katelyn Kennon examines a bird skull she found on the beach in the fishing village of San Juanillo. (Photo by Elizabeth Eaton)

Cruise across the canopy of a cloud forest. Explore a dense jungle floor or palm-fringed coastline with local guides and research scientists. Gain the skills to report on environmental issues, then learn about biodiversity and ecosystems while you are immersed in them. All this while earning University of Arizona upper-division credits. How? Take part in the International Journalism in Costa Rica program. 

Students interested in honing their critical thinking, writing, reporting, and Spanish language skills can earn up to 6 hours of University of Arizona credit –– or 7 if taking one journalism class and one Spanish class –– while living in the capital of Central America's most travel-friendly and environmentally progressive country. 

During field trips students shoot photos and video, capture natural sound and interview researchers, scientists and locals. Once back in in San José, they have time to put it all together and post stories on our website,

2018 Program dates 

Mid-June to mid-July

More info

• Contact Dr. Celeste González de Bustamante, School of Journalism, Marshall 336. 520-621-3189.

• To apply: Go to UA Study Abroad website. Application deadline is Feb. 15, 2018.

Courses Available

Students select one or both classes listed below, or choose one journalism and one Spanish course. 

  • JOUR 455/555 Environmental Journalism (3 units) - Costa Rican ecological sites and San José are the classroom for this course on news coverage of environmental issues. Develop expertise on key environmental issues in Costa Rica, conduct research and interviews in the capital city and on field trips, and report your findings.
  • JOUR 439/539  LAS 439/539 Ethics and the News Media (3 units) - Analysis of ethical theory and how it relates to journalists' roles and responsibilities in a democratic society.  Case studies involve questions of bias, accuracy, privacy and national security.  Students gain a philosophical framework for analyzing and resolving ethical dilemmas. 

Spanish courses offered will be contingent upon student need, but will be limited to beginning Spanish.

Note: Students with prior reporting experience may apply for an internship with Tico Times, an English-language online news site based in San José. If selected, internship credit can be granted. Non-UA students should check with advisers at their university to determine if the credit will transfer.

What students are saying:

"Before leaving for Costa Rica, I was doubting journalism as a career choice, but this trip helped me rediscover what I love about reporting. The whole country was there for me to explore, and I got to not only write about the amazing things I discovered, but I got to do so with people that changed my life."
–– Elizabeth Eaton, Summer 2014

“It was such a valuable experience to gain confidence in my Spanish skills, my reporting skills, and make connections with some of the kindest, most genuine people I've ever met. Costa Rica is a beautiful place, both physically, botanically, and culturally. Being a journalist gives you the ability to tell stories that matter, and this experience reminded me of that. All stories are worth telling; it just takes someone with the interest, drive, and courage to tell it to others. I will always look back at my five weeks there as a life-changing experience."  –– Nicole Thill, Summer 2013


UA journalism professor Celeste González de Bustamante is the head of the Border Journalism Network/La red de periodistas de la frontera, and head of the International Communication Division of the Association for Journalism and Mass Communication. She covered the U.S.-Mexico border on commercial and public television for more than 16 years.         


San José, Costa Rica (the country's capital)


  • 2.5 GPA minimum
  • Laptop or netbook (must be able to accept thumb drive) and digital camera
  • Some Spanish skills or enrollment in beginning Spanish course in Costa Rica

What's included

  • 3-6 units of UA journalism credit in 5 weeks
  • OR, one 3-unit journalism class and one 4-unit Spanish class; additional fee if enrolling in Spanish and journalism  
  • Housing
  • In-country orientation
  • Breakfast and dinner during weekdays
  • Cultural activities
  • Excursions
  • On-site transportation
  • Insurance

Program Highlights

  • Reporting field trips to cloud forests, rain forests, beaches and science research stations
  • Internship opportunities may be available for qualified students
  • Program open to students in all majors
  • Gain an understanding of environmental issues while living in one of the most biodiverse places in the world 
  • Earn credit while practicing your writing, reporting, photography, and Spanish skills

Financing Study Abroad

Information about program costs, financial aid, and scholarships can be found at

UA Office of Study Abroad & Student Exchange

888 N. Euclid Ave., Room 301

P.O. Box 210529

Tucson, AZ 85721

(520) 626-9211

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