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Study Abroad Programs at City College

CCNY Winter Program Costa Rica

Terraba Costa Rica


Dates: TBA

Credits: 6


This interdisciplinary service-learning course will take a group of CCNY students to the indigenous territory of Terraba, located in the southern zone of Costa Rica. Students will be trained to effectively participate in a documentary film-making project as part of a collaboration between CCNY, The Maysles Documentary Center and Doboun Orcuo, a women's association in Terraba. The differential treatment indigenous people have historically experienced in Costa Rica constitutes an institutionalized phenomenon, one that has deep historical roots and social, economic and political consequences for their communities. Although since 1977, when the government passed the Indigenous Law, and particularly since 1992, when it ratified the International Labour Organization's (ILO) Convention 169, Costa Rica's legislation looks progressive on paper. However, the government has often lacked the political will to strictly enforce the existing laws. By ratifying the ILO Covenant 169 countries like Costa Rica commit themselves to including indigenous communities in decision-making processes regarding activities that affect their territories. The PH / Hydroelectric dam (Proyecto Hidroelectrico El Diquis) is one such project.

Through their participation in the video project, and using the dam project as a case study, students will learn about how international conventions, national laws, and sustainable development relate to indigenous territories in Costa Rica. The video will focus on the narratives of community elders and how the construction of the hydroelectric dam project may pose a threat to the cultural, social, and economic survival of the Teribes. Indigenous communities are politically organized and contesting the project, relying on local grassroots organizing, community capacity building as well as on regional, national and international NGO networks to build a countervailing force. This project represents one such collaborative engagements in their overall organizing strategy.

Note: Students must be proficient in Spanish to be able to communicate effectively and engage fully in the course.

Important Dates (mandatory meetings):

- Deadline for all Application Materials: TBA
- Interview with Study Abroad: TBA
- Pre-Departure Orientation: TBA

- Deadline for payment of Program costs and CUNY-Tuition: TBA




Application Fee: $300

CUNY TUITION: 6 credits
*Program costs: TBA

Airfare: $500 - 700 (Estimated)