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Programs : Brochure

  • Locations: Avellanas, Costa Rica; Nosara, Costa Rica; Playa Grande, Costa Rica
  • Program Terms: May Session, Winter Break
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
GPA: 2.5 Language of Instruction: English
Click here for a definition of this term Class Standing: 2-Sophomore, 3-Junior, 4-Senior Internships or Service Learning Available: No
Type of Program: Faculty Led
Program Description:
Costa Rica Global Surf 2018

Costa Rica: Global Surf Culture

 Program Highlights

  • Study abroad in beautiful Costa Rica
  • Explore the history of surfing and global surf culture
  • Analyze the role of the United States in Central America
  • Learn to surf!

Program Overview

Cities: Avellanas, Nosara, Playa Grande
Dates: January 3–14, 2019
Program Fee: $4,920
Estimated Total Cost: $6,465



Surfing is one of the world’s most popular cultural phenomena. While the number of actual surfers is relatively small, the sport’s reach has historically extended far beyond the wave-riding community, with surfing influencing fashion, music, film, photography, tourism, and even corporate marketing.

Wondering how surfing got to be so popular? We’ll spend a couple of weeks in Costa Rica, a premier surf destination nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, exploring the history of modern surf culture. From nineteenth-century Hawai'i to twenty-first-century Central America, we'll take a deeper look at how this pastime has driven and been changed by a number of major global developments.

As part of the program, you'll learn to surf! We'll spend two weeks in a number of coastal destinations (Nosara, Ostional, Playa Negra, Playa Avellanas, and Playa Grande). In addition to surfing, you'll visit a turtle reserve, learn about local sustainability efforts, and take a stand-up-paddleboard (SUP) river tour to a deserted black sand beach. You'll also have the option of doing the world's longest zip line.



  • Minimum 2.5 GPA
  • Sophomore, junior, or senior status (You may apply during freshman year to participate upon completion of freshman year)
  • Must be able to swim

Course Information: 

Earn 4 credits in Hist 3313: Global Surf Culture, which is approved for:

  • Upper-division U.S. elective for the History major and minor
  • 3000-level elective for programs requiring upper-division credits outside your major
  • Optional elective for the Hispanic Studies major
  • Capstone requirement (Required Experience) for the Latin American Studies major
  • Thematic elective for the International Studies major

This course fulfills the Global Perspectives Liberal Education requirement

Course Topics Include:

  • The history of surfing and global surf culture
  • U.S. foreign policy in Central America
  • Empire-building and the “civilizing mission” in 19th- and early 20th- century Hawai'i
  • The growth of international tourism after WWII
  • Political mass movements and the anti-apartheid struggle
  • American foreign relations and Cold War cultural diplomacy
  • The surf industry and corporate globalization

This course will combine traditional class instruction with outdoor education. We’ll visit community sites and natural areas, and we'll study the development of surf tourism. A prereq for this course is the ability to swim—as you’ll have the opportunity to learn how to surf! We’re confident this will be a very interesting experience and likely one of the more memorable courses you will take as a college student.

Program Leader Information

Scott Laderman is a Professor of History at UMD. Born and raised in California, he has been surfing for more than 30 years. He is the author, among other works, of Empire in Waves: A Political History of Surfing (University of California Press, 2014).

Scott Laderman, Ph.D.
UMD College of Liberal Arts
Department of History
316 Kirby Plaza


Study Abroad Coordinator

Lyndsey Andersen is the Associate Director of Study Abroad and coordinates all short-term faculty led programs. 

Program Costs

Estimate | Winter Break 2019
Estimated Program Fee: $4,920
Estimated Out-of-Pocket Expenses: $1,545
Estimated Total Cost: $6,465

Final cost estimates posted closer to program departure. Costs vary each year.
*Estimated out-of-pocket costs are dependent on items such as current airfare costs and individual spending habits.

If you do not see a cost estimate for the semester/term you intend to go abroad, the cost has not yet been determined. Please note cost estimates and fees may change depending on international economic factors. UMD Study Abroad delays the posting of final fees until enrollments, inflation, and exchange rates are determined in order to provide students with the most accurate pricing. We strive to post final fees by October 1 for Spring programs, March 1 for May/Summer programs, and May 1 for Fall and Academic year programs.

What’s included in the program fee?

  • Housing (hotels)
  • Most meals
  • Local transportation
  • Two surfing lessons
  • Field trips and entry fees

View the 2018 breakdown of costs (available upon Board of Regents approval.) These estimated costs do not include the $50 application fee. Financial aid only applies to students who take at least 6 credits total during May and Summer session combined. Credits taken on study abroad programs cannot be used in tuition banding. Scholarships are available!

Travel Documents

A passport valid for 6 months beyond the end of the program is required.


Know the following program information to provide on the online application:

Center Name: UMD Study Abroad
Education Abroad Term: May Session
Country: Costa Rica
Program Name: Short-term: Costa Rica: Global Surf Culture

Apply early as space is limited and the program will fill first-come, first-serve. An essay and an unofficial transcript is required. A $50 non-refundable application fee will be billed to your One Stop account upon submission of an online application.


Apply Now - UMN Students
Apply Now Non-UMN

After you apply

  1. You'll get an email confirmation with a link to your application checklist
  2. Follow instructions to submit your application checklist items on time
  3. Your UMD study abroad program coordinator will review your app and monitor your checklist progress
  4. The program leader will confirm your acceptance
  5. Once accepted you must complete the confirmation checklist to confirm your participation
  6. Once we receive your confirmation, your account will be billed

If you decide you cannot participate, you must login to the online application system and submit a "Cancel Request."

UMD 138 Kirby Plaza, 1208 Kirby Drive, Duluth MN 55812
Email | (218) 726 8764 or (877) 755-4200

Program health and safety information is available at GO SAFE:


This program is currently not accepting applications.