Learning Abroad Center
View over San Ramon, Costa Rica

Costa Rica: CCAPS Pura Vida Tour


Gather as an interdisciplinary group to explore every corner of San Ramon and Palmares, a blue collar regional center in Alejuela province. Pursue your academic interests by day, share your learning at night, and together, take in the cultural immersion that is uniquely Costa Rica: the rain forest, salsa dancing, coffee, and Manuel San Antonio Park on the Pacific coast. Pura vida!

Program Details

San Ramón, Costa Rica
Winter Break
Languages Taught In
Languages Taught In
College of Continuing and Professional Studies

Program Eligibility

Student Type
Student Type
UofM Students
Non UofM Students
Student Year
Student Year
Graduate Students


The College of Continuing and Professional Studies (CCAPS) is a family of unique applied programs and students, ranging from construction management, health related fields, information technology, and biological sciences. We gather approximately 15–25 students into an interdisciplinary group to explore every corner of San Ramon and Palmares, a blue collar regional center in Alejuela province. By day, you will pursue your academic interests, and by night, you will share your learning with your classmates. Take in the cultural immersion that is uniquely Costa Rica: the rain forest, salsa dancing, coffee and Manuel Antonio National Park on the Pacific coast. Pura vida!

Formerly known as the Construction and Facility Management Pura Vida tour since 2013, this program is now a college-wide program of CCAPS, integrating varied disciplines into a unique cultural immersion. All undergraduate students will likely work on a common project that is selected to impact all disciplines in some way. Graduate students will generally develop their own site visit programs with help from our local program hosts. The program will include 2 program leaders, selected depending on total enrollment from each of the study areas.

This program is administered by College of Continuing & Professional Studies. Applications are processed by the Learning Abroad Center.

Program Model


Housing & Meals

Accommodation: Hostel Sabana

Meals are "all inclusive" featuring local cooking. There will be one night out on the town per week where you will be responsible for your own mean, and a mid-weekend ocean retreat when you will be on your own. Note: the Hostel stay is "dry" (no alcohol).

Application Deadline

The application deadline is November 1, 2024

Late applications may be considered but you must contact Peter Hilger at [email protected]

Important Note: Enrollment on this program is limited to 25 students. Admission is granted on a rolling basis and applications are reviewed in the order they are completed. Some programs may fill to capacity prior to the application deadline, therefore applying early is recommended. Additionally, applying early will allow for more time to plan ahead and prepare for the program.

Program Dates

January 3–19, 2025 (Depart January 3 or 4—subject to best airfare)


CMGT 4193

Construction Management Directed Study: For students not enrolled in CMGT 4861 Capstone, this course content will support the project based coursework described in CMGT 4861, but will not enable credit as a Capstone project.

CMGT 4861

Construction Project Management Capstone: Using a local project for a community group in need, CM students organize yourself as a company, preparing a schematic design (in metric), a cost estimate in colones, a construction schedule, construction work plan, a comprehensive written proposal in English and Spanish, and an oral presentation to the Board of the client site, preferably in Spanish.

HSM 4193

Health Services Management Directed Study: Project developed around the study abroad location. Topic arranged with and supervised by a Health Services Management faculty member. You must be admitted to HSM major, minor, or certificate, and have department consent.

IBH 6910

This is a directed study program that encourages cultural exploration and offers a number of immersion opportunities. This is also a community engagement experience, pending availability. Community engagement opportunities will be available at local human service agencies.

INET 4193

Information Technology Infrastructure directed study:  Project developed around the study abroad location. Topic arranged with and supervised by an INET faculty member. You must be admitted to INET major, minor, or certificate, and have department consent. 

Program Leader

Peter Hilger is an Architect by training, a builder by passion, and a teacher at heart. Mr. Hilger is a Morse Distinguished Teacher and Faculty Director in the Construction Management program, and has developed and led this study abroad opportunity since 2013. He mentors and engages students in all disciplines to experience a solid cultural experience, and most especially on his notorious morning walks around town.

Frances Fernandez, is the Faculty Director in the Health Services Management (HSM) program. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Frances brings a multi-cultural perspective and professional experience from her over 30 year career in healthcare. Frances lived in Miami, Florida for over 20 years, where she served in executive leadership positions in HIV/AIDS services, home health, and outpatient services, as well as research and education for veterans. After moving to Minnesota over 8 years ago, Frances served as executive director in long term care as well as pediatric home health organizations before joining the University of Minnesota. As faculty director for the HSM program at CCAPS, she supports a people-centered cultural approach for improving diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging to effect change and create a positive impact in the communities served. She is also an advocate for mental health awareness and education, particularly for youth. Frances has served on several boards focusing on health care delivery and funding, including quality initiatives for improved access and delivery of health care, in particular for the HIV/AIDS population. Being particularly interested in minority empowerment, she works fearlessly to "bring care back to healthcare". Frances holds a Bachelor's of Arts degree in Business Administration from Interamerican University of Puerto Rico and a Master's degree in Health Services Administration from Florida International University.

Ann Becher-Ingwalson is curious and passionate about her work. She has a doctorate in clinical psychology, is a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, and a licensed professional clinical counselor. She is the faculty responsible for the HSM Directed Study course, and will engage you toward a meaningful experience. She loves an adventure and a daily laugh, but perhaps not Peter's infamous puns.


In addition to working in San Ramon, trips to communities within the San Ramon/Palmares/Alejuela region to visit sites, to observe, and to ask questions of local practitioners is expected. A weekend break to the famed Costa Rican beach of Manuel Antonio State Park is planned, along with a local zip line forest canopy tour, a rafting excursion on the Rio Balsa, a visit to a working farm with a traditional lunch, a tour of a traditional sugar processing facility, and a tour of an artisanal coffee processing facility. The famed Palmares Horse Festival is also available for a visit during our stay. And for those itinerant walkers, there is Peter Hilger's daily morning Walking Club, touring the city and surrounding valleys before breakfast.

More Information

A. Peter Hilger, AIA, Program Co-Leader at [email protected].

Program Fee

Winter Break 2025 Cost of Participation

The cost of participation is approximately $3,377 ($3,727 with estimated non-billable costs such as passport, additional meals, and spending money). This fee may go slightly up or down depending on final group airline bookings and availability of CCAPS dedicated fundraising to offset each registered student's costs.

The program fee includes tuition, international airfare, in-country program related transportation, housing, some meals, entrances to course-related excursions and site visits, program administration, and international health insurance.

If you are registered for less than 13 credits, or if you are a non-UofM student or a UofM graduate student, you will be charged tuition for this course in addition to the program fee. Notify the Learning Abroad Center if this applies to you.

Billing & Payments

Visit Billing for information about the billing process for application fees, deposits, and program fees.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Visit Financial Information for information on using financial aid and scholarships for study abroad.

Cancellation Policy

The regular Learning Abroad Center cancellation and refund policy does not apply to this course. Connect with your program contact for details on the cancellation and refund policy for this program.

Refunds are generally not available except under unusual circumstances, subject to review and approval of College administration.

Winter Break 2025

Costa Rica: The Pura Vida Tour

Winter Break 2025

Program Fee

  • UofM students pay program fee instead of on-campus tuition & fees while abroad
  • Billed through UofM account
Non-refundable deposit $400
Tuition and educational costs $1,367
International health insurance $35
Housing and/or meals $325
Transportation (if required and included in program fee) $1,250
Total Program Fee $3,377
Program discount for University of Minnesota and Big Ten students, if applicable $0
Total Program Fee with discount, if applicable $3,377

Estimated Additional Expenses

  • Financial aid-eligible but not included in program fee
Costs Typically Incurred Prior to Departure These costs may need to be paid before your financial aid is disbursed for your term abroad.
Transportation to and from program site $0
Passport/photos $150
Visa/required documents $0
Travel clinic/immunizations* $0
Housing deposit $0
Total Estimated Cost Incurred Prior to Departure $150
Costs Typically Incurred After Arrival in Host Country
Texts/materials $0
Housing and/or meals not included in program fee $200
Essential daily living expenses $0
Total Estimated Cost Incurred After Arrival in Host Country $200

Total Estimated Cost of Participation

  • UofM students—compare this to your estimated on campus cost of attendance
Total Estimated Cost of Participation $3,727
Spending money and personal travel Not included in financial aid calculation $500
Additional Notes & Information
* Immunizations Note: This estimate is based on approximate cost of travel-related vaccinations and medications required for entry or recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Your costs may be higher or lower depending on your travel clinic, the specific immunizations and medication prescribed, and your insurance coverage.


Be aware: All programs require a $50 application fee. This fee will be charged to your student account upon submission of an online application.

Current US passport processing times are longer than normal. If you do not have a passport, or your passport expires less than 6 months after your return date from your time abroad, apply for a new passport now.


The COVID-19 vaccine series is strongly recommended, pursuant to CDC guidelines, but not required for participation in this program.

You will be charged a $50 application fee for each application you submit.

Apply Now

Application Deadline: November 1, 2024

Late applications may be considered, but you must contact Peter Hilger at [email protected].


When you submit your online application, you will be assigned an application checklist that includes:

  • First Step session

Next Steps

  1. After you complete all required application checklist items, you will receive an automated email message indicating your application is ready to be reviewed.
  2. Your completed application will be reviewed by the program leader in the sponsoring college/department.
  3. If admitted, the Confirmation & Payment Agreement form will be added to your checklist. Complete this form to secure your spot on the program. By submitting the form, you also give your approval for the program deposit to be billed to your UofM student account.
  4. Complete the confirmation checklist, which include the following items in additional to program-specific forms:
    • Passport Information
    • Emergency Contacts
    • Health Information Form
    • Online Health & Safety Orientation
    • Release & Waiver
  5. You will receive information about additional steps from the sponsoring college/department.