Students frequently ask these questions. 



Which courses are offered for the spring semester?

Our spring semester consists of five required courses; Tropical Ecology & Sustainability, Global Stewardship, Applied Cultural Integration, Independent Research, and Tropical Medicine. For full course descriptions, check out the course catalogue

Will my university accept my course credit?

That is up to your home university.  We work with a number of universities to ensure our courses transfer directly or as fulfillment for a class of related material, method, and theory.  If you have a concern over a particular course, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we can give you more details on how a particular class will transfer. 

What does a typical class look like?

The QERC semester is divided into a variety of study modules, independent course assignments, and field exercise.  Courses will not always follow a standard routine; a typical day is split between lectures, field activities, and your independent research.  Keep in mind that this schedule is flexible to accommodate the travel components of each course. 

How do I choose a research project?

QERC has a list of research categories from which you may choose.  Once you have been accepted into the QERC program and have chosen your project, you will be appointed a research advisor.  This advisor will help you develop your research objectives and methods, as well as assist you throughout the semester.  

Do I need to bring my own research equipment?

No.  QERC has a fully equipped lab.  If your project requires unusual items or equipment or supplies, you must notify your advisor and the Field Station Manager in advance of your arrival. 

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Preparing for your Semester in Costa Rica

What personal items will I need to bring?

For a full list of how to prepare and what to bring, please read our Program Checklist (PDF)

Will I need shots or vaccinations before arriving?

No vaccinations are required for traveling from the USA to Costa Rica.  Consult your physician for a recommendation based on your individual needs.   The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides an updated list of required and recommended vaccinations when traveling internationally. 

What kind of climate should I prepare for?

Weather at QERC is predominantly sunny with temperatures ranging 65ºF - 75ºF. At QERC we have occasional nighttime lows dropping below 50ºF. We travel to areas of high heat and humidity. Plan for extremes in both temperature and precipitation.  When preparing, review our Program Checklist (PDF).

Will I need to know Spanish?

No.  However, you must be prepared for living and working in a Spanish-speaking country.  The first three weeks of the semester involve an intensive Spanish course.  Beyond these first three weeks, you will homestay with Spanish speaking families, complete activities which require you to communicate in Spanish, and present your research results to a Spanish speaking audience. Students who put extra effort into improving their language skills become involved in the community and in return have a deeper experience.  Read more about getting involved in Student Life.

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May I receive/send mail?

Yes. Large packages may be stopped in customs, leaving the student responsible for additional taxes or fees.  

The physical address at QERC is:

Quetzal Education Research Center

"Student Name"

200 Metros Norte del Hotel Savegre

San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica

May friends or family visit me in Costa Rica?

Yes, but we do not offer accommodations to visitors at the Field Station. While we enjoy seeing family and friends interested and involved in the student’s time at QERC, visitations cannot interfere with student class time or research.  If you’re interested in having a visitor, please contact the Field Station Manager for details.

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