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2021 Bonner Program - Costa Rica header


COSTA RICA - San Jose, Turrialba, Sarapiqui, Arenal, North Pacific Coast


May 2021 (12 days)


 $2610 (+ up to $395 to cover application fee, passport, meals on travel days and vaccination costs)

Application Deadline

 October 1

 Volunteer Program Vision

 In May 2021, Bonner Scholars will travel to Costa Rica for an international experience rooted in service and culture exchange. The framework for the trip will be the Bonner six commitments: international perspective, community building, diversity, social justice, civic engagement, and spiritual exploration. Students who are not part of the Bonner program are welcome to apply

 Students will gain an international perspective by traveling to a new country, exploring different regions of that country, learning about the history and the people of Costa Rica, and participating in an exchange day with a local university in Costa Rica. The group will build community prior to departure in preparation meetings and during the trip through participation and reflection. We also hope to build community in each region of Costa Rica as we serve, eat, and interact with locals. Diversity will be celebrated in culture, language, religion, economics, and more. As a group, we’ll learn and discuss the similarities and differences in the social conditions in CR and the US. We’ll engage in hands on service projects in CR, including painting, light construction, cleaning, and more. On Sunday, we’ll participate in a CR traditional church service and learn about the role of faith in CR. In addition to these activities, we’ll also take a few excursions. Through this experience, we hope to help students who are already committed to community engagement better understand their service and future both through the cross-cultural experience of serving abroad and by gaining tools to analyze that service in a historical and cultural context.



Amy head

Amy Gilliland - Director of Community Engagement

Ryan head

Ryan Indelicato - CCM/Bonner Coordinator



Day 1: Cartago - La Basilica de Cartago and orientation to Costa Rica.  Meet local families.

Day 2 -3: Community Service - painting a local children's day care.  Community spotlight: sugar cane and coffee plantation workers.

Day 4: Visit Turrialba Volcano.  Learn about quality cheese production.  Community spotlight: cheese farmers and the challenges they are facing.

Day 5: Visit to the Universidad de Costa Rica, Turrialba.  Free afternoon.

Day 6: Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui.  Community spotlight: banana plantations, cocoa production and tourism.

Day 7: Organic Cocoa Production and Economic Development.

Day 8: Arenal Volcano & morning walk to La Fortuna Waterfall.  Free afternoon.

Day 9: Zipline experience, and hot springs

Day 10: Travel to the North Pacific Coast.

Day 11: Community Service: sea turtle hatchery

Day 12: Art of surfing & community service at the sea turtle hatchery

Tentative cost


Program Fees Include:

$200 deposit
Round-trip airfare
Local transportation
Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily (except travel days)
Group excursions
Health Insurance

Not Included: 

$100 application fee
Passport $145
Meals (airport days) $50
Vaccinations ( up to $138 (approx)

How it Works:

  • Travel with experienced group and travel leaders
  • Travel with a group of Maryville students on a short term service opportunity abroad
  • This is a full immersion experience. You are learning about the country, people and service environment abroad
  • **Spring course & travel**

Who can participate?

You! Bonners have first priority, but we generally have space for more students with a passion for serving others!  These programs are open to freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors.  This program will admit approx.10+ students

Special Considerations: 

Many locations will not be wheelchair accessible and terrain may be uneven in many places. There will be a moderate amount of walking 2-3 miles at a leisurely pace.


Please apply using the Volunteer Abroad Application Form and pay the $100 application fee by October 1 
(This fee DOES NOT count towards the cost of the program. )

Application Available Now Apply Online
Application Deadline October 1, noon All online materials and $100 application fee must be submitted by 12noon
Interviews Begin October 5 - 9 All students will interview with the Amy Gilliland &/or Ryan Indelicato
Notification of Acceptance  Monday, October 26 Via email before 5:00pm
Confirmation of Acceptance Due November 2, noon Confirmation of acceptance with $200 deposit due by 12noon
Payment 1 Due December 1, noon 50% of payment due by 12noon
Final Payment Due February 1, noon Remaining balance due (full balance must be paid at this time)
Mandatory CIE Orientation 3 part WEBINAR Required for all participants. Quiz due by Feb 15th
Program Specific Pre-departure TBD To be determined by Amy Gilliland