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  • Locations: Samara, Costa Rica; San Jose, Costa Rica
  • Program Terms: Spring-Embedded
  • Program Cost and Budget: Spring-Embedded
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring-Embedded 2018 12/01/2017 ** Rolling Admission 05/11/2018 05/19/2018

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Students will be notified of acceptance into this program and will then need to complete post-decision materials prior to departing for the program.
Fact Sheet:
Area of Study: Anthropology, Dietetics & Human Nutrition, Family Science, Health, Hospitality Management and Tourism, Human Health Sciences, Nursing, Psychology, Social Work, Sociology Housing Options: Hotel
Program Director: Amy Kostelic, Jenna Hatcher Minimum GPA: 2.0
Student Type: Both undergraduate and graduate students Advisor: Susan Meredith
Eligible Class Standing: 2-Sophomore, 3-Junior, 4-Senior, 5-Graduate UK Travel Medical Insurance: Included in the UK Faculty-Directed program fee
Program Description:

UK Faculty-Directed: Embedded: Keys to Well-Being in Costa Rica: Lessons Learned from the World's Longest Lived People
(Agriculture, Food & Environment)

May 11 - 19, 2018

(Depart from U.S.A. - Depart from host country)

Program Overview

Through this course, students will learn about how well-being, health and longevity stems from lifestyle and choices made along life's course. The Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica was selected as the destination for this course because it is one of five areas designated as a "Blue Zone", which is a place where people reach age 100 at rates up to 10 times greater than in the United States. The longevity of "Tikos" (native Costa Ricans) in this region is due in large part to their lifestyle, which centers around having a reason to live, a focus on family, meaningful social connections, healthy diets, hard work and physical activity, sunshine and spirituality.

Using these dimensions as a guide, students will experience "pura vida" (the pure life). They will acquire unique insights regarding Nicoyan lifestyle through various hands-on activities, site visits, observation and dialogue with local residents and tourist operators who promote the peninsula's healthy, happy lifestyle and eco-tourism. Outside of the scope of coursework, all students will enhance their multicultural competency through site visits of historical, cultural and contemporary significance. The international component will also include two days in San Jose, Costa Rica.

For a sample of the day-by-day itinerary, click here!dancer


  • Experience first-hand how lifestyle and location (nature walks, cooking lessons/demonstrations, relaxation, spirituality, etc.) contributes to health and well-being.
  • Learn from the peninsula's oldest and most self-sufficient people through observation, discussion and community service projects.
  • Take part in a traditional family life and the peninsula's dedication to community.
  • Participate in sight-seeing through historical and eco-tours.


This program is open to undergraduate and graduate students from all academic disciplines. Priority for admission into the program will be granted to students in FAM and NUR; however, any student with an interest in tourism, family, aging, healthcare, or nutrition may enroll.

For More Info, contact:
Dr. Amy Kostelic, faculty member in the Department of Family Sciences at the University of Kentucky,; Dr. Jenna Hatcher, faculty member in the College of Nursing at the University of Kentucky,

Mrs. Susan Meredith, EA Advisor,

Academic Credit

UK Faculty-Directed programs are conducted by the University of Kentucky faculty and staff. UK GPA credits and grades will be awarded by the program director for the successful and timely completion of all required program activities and assignments, including any required on-campus meetings before or after the program's international travel.

  • Undergraduates will enroll in FAM 475: Keys to Well-Being in Costa Rica: Lessons from the World's Longest Lived People (3 credit hours), Nursing students will enroll in NUR 520: Keys to Well-Being: Lessons from the World's Longest Lived People (3 credit hours).
  • FAM graduate students will need to seek the approval of their college in order for the above FAM course to count for graduate-level college credit.

Housing & Meals

Students will reside in hotels for the duration of the program. All meals will be provided with the exception of two lunches and two dinners.

Program Costs

Costs and cancellation policies vary by program. Please see the "Program Costs and Budget" information page. Be sure to consider the associated UK costs, program specifications, and related travel expenses. Note: optional excursions will be available for students during some of the scheduled free time at an additional cost, paid out-of-pocket by the students.