Students Experience Tropical Ecology in Costa Rica
Photograph taken by Ricky Xiong.

Students Experience Tropical Ecology in Costa Rica

Students at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point were provided with the opportunity to study abroad in Costa Rica this winter break. The study abroad course was a three-week program with a focus on tropical ecology in Costa Rica. While studying abroad, students visited multiple ecosystems and saw countless animal species.

Photograph taken by Ricky Xiong.

This study abroad experience was open to all UWSP students with at least a 2.5 GPA. Community members and students attending other universities could have applied, but UWSP students were given priority. After completing the course, students earned three credits in natural resources.


The Costa Rica study abroad course includes three credits towards the student’s degree, lodging, airfare, mandated health insurance , lectures and tours. Prices per credit differ for out-of-state and reciprocity students. The cost of this trip also varies by the student’s financial aid package for the school year.

The academic leaders for this trip were Mike Demchick and the CNR study abroad coordinator, Jessica Tomaszewski.

Ricky Xoing, senior fishery and aquatic sciences major, and Abby Olson, senior ecosystem management and restoration major , were two students who took the trip to Costa Rica this year.

Xoing wanted to take this trip to learn more about the conservation methods in Costa Rica, and Olson had wanted to take the trip since her first year at the university.

Photograph taken by Ricky Xiong.

During the trip, students got to experience multiple ecosystems.

“You get the experience five different micro-climates ecosystems that are only a few miles apart,” Xoing


Both students loved the country scenery, and one of Olson’s favorite experiences from the trip was visiting the Continental Divide, although “the weather wasn’t ideal to see the horizontal rains,” according to Olson.

These students loved their “hands on experiences and getting down and dirty with nature,” as Xoing said. They were able to see multiple species within the different ecosystems, at one point, the students had to draw pictures of plants in the forest.

Over the course of the trip, the students visited agriculture research facilities and went on countless student catered tours.

The tour was another aspect of the trip Olson enjoyed.

“David Norman, our tour guide, was a highlight to the trip,” Olson said. “That he displayed interest in what we had to say helped us reciprocate that same energy.”

The food was great in Costa Rica, and the students were never hungry. All of their meals were served with rice, beans and fruit.

“I learned some items, like fish, we take for granted here are treated as a luxury there,” Xoing said.

Students who take part in the Costa Rica study abroad trip experience the world through a new lens.

Questions about this trip or any other upcoming study abroad trips may be directed to the Study Abroad Office via email at or phone at 715-346-2717.


Dashanay Scott


About Dashanay Scott

Dashanay Scott
I'm a junior at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point majoring in Communication with an emphasis in media studies. As the Arts and Entertainment reporter I cover and write articles on entertainment and events on campus, music and theater, human interests and reviews. When i'm not writing articles for The Pointer, you may find me coordinating Late Night events for centertainment, helping out at SPTV, or volunteering. I'm the President of TIFU Cultural Ensemble , and some of my hobbies include blogging,vlogging, thrifting, photography, and poetry.

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