Frequently Asked Questions
What are the courses for your spring semester?
Our spring semester consists of five required courses, which includes the choice between one of two electives. The four non-elective courses are Tropical Ecology & Sustainability, Global Stewardship, Applied Cultural Integration, & Independent Research. Each student will choose one elective course, either Environmental Monitoring or Tropical Medicine. For full course descriptions, check out our 2012 course catalogue.
Will my university accept my course credit?
Yes. We work with a number of universities to ensure our courses transfer either directly or as a fulfillment for a class of related material, method, and theory. If you have a concern over a particular course, CONTACT US and we can give you more details on how a particular class will transfer.
What does a typical class look like?
Our courses are divided into a variety of study modules, independent course assignments, and field exercise. While your spring semester will not always follow a standard routine, a typical day is split between lectures in the morning, and independent field research in the afternoon. Keep in mind that this schedule will change during the traveling components of the semester.
How do I choose a research project?
QERC has a list of research categories from which you’ll choose. Once you have been accepted into the QERC program and have chosen your project, you will be appointed an advisor. This advisor will help you develop your research objectives and methods, as well as give you assistance throughout the semester.
Do I need to bring my own research equipment or supplies for my particular project?
No. QERC has a fully equipped lab. However, if there is something specific you need for your research, you must notify your research advisor in advance so your equipment or supplies will be available upon your arrival.
Preparing for your Semester in Costa Rica
What personal items will I need to bring?
For a full list of required items, please read our Program Checklist (PDF).
Will I need any shots or vaccinations before arriving?
No. However, while specific vaccinations are not required for traveling to Costa Rica we recommend each student make this choice based on his or her individual needs or concerns. Check the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for an updated list of required vaccinations when traveling internationally.
Will I need a passport?
Yes. When applying for a passport, it's good practice to give yourself two – three months to begin the process. For more information and to download a passport application, visit the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs.
What kind of climate should I prepare for?
Predominantly, the weather at QERC will be sunny and between 65o and 75oF. Nights typically never drop lower than 55oF. However, the weather in Costa Rica, and the Savegre Valley in particular, can be diverse in both range and intensity. When preparing, please review our Program Checklist (PDF).
Will I need to know Spanish?
No. However, we do encourage you to be prepared for living in a Spanish-speaking country. The first three weeks of the semester involve an intensive Spanish course. Beyond the first three weeks, we encourage you to become involved in the community. On getting involved, check out more on student life.
Living in Costa Rica
May friends or family visit me in Costa Rica?
Yes. However, 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.
This list is always developing and being updated. If you have a question not answered here, please Ask Us.