Purdue Agriculture students have the opportunity to study in Costa Rica. Program coordinators Kevin Gibson, Purdue plant pathologist, and Chris Oseto, Purdue entomologist, teach an international agriculture course with professors from Haskell Indian Nations University in Kansas. To prepare for their time together in Costa Rica, Purdue and Haskell students connect via video conferencing.
While in Costa Rica, students from both universities work together to complete service learning projects with indigenous tribes. Students have helped the Bri-Bri Indians trim diseased cacao pods from their trees. They helped the Cabecar tribe make banana vinegar. They also worked with the Guaitil tribe to learn to make pottery — from collecting clay through firing finished products.
"I learned so much that I would have never learned anywhere else at any other time," said Mary Lehmkuhl, a senior environmental plant studies major who participated in the program in 2010. "The biggest part was getting to experience this intense travel through a foreign country with students from Purdue and Haskell. Having the mixture of cultural backgrounds made for some great conversations and experiences."
In addition to the study abroad program, Purdue Agriculture and the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE), have a student exchange program. Graduate students from CATIE can study at Purdue for no additional tuition costs and Purdue Agriculture students can study at CATIE for no additional tuition costs.
Both programs are coordinated by Tamara Benjamin, Purdue research scientist stationed at CATIE.