Costa Rica – Ecological Engineering in the Tropics

MSU / UCR – December 15-29, 2012

UCR Student Perspectives- Perspectivas de los estudiantes de la UCR

UCR student assistants share their perspectives on their study abroad experience as content and cultural experts, translation helpers, leaders, helpers and colleagues.

UCR-San Jose-Costa Rica

Matías Adrián Chaves Herrera

The first thing a want to say about this experience is that i never expect to be so revealing, not just for the experience in the different places that we went but for the sharing, especialy in the bus. I got to meet most of the peoploe on day 1 at the meeting in la Fabio but it was on the bus where we got to know eachother the best. All were so friendly and kindhearted, when any of the participants sit  next to me the conversation started, and it was really  interenting especially when we talk about agricultural.  Also to see how so interest to know about Costa Rica and what we do; so in that way we all share a lot information and get to know really well.

Saying that i must tell that this trip make me a 360 spin in me life,  it all started in OTS with the walks eventhough i have done many walks like that it was definitely was the company that make it special, and the walk in the nigth was just magical. And in the day with the preparations for the floating mats, surprice me with the knowledge of the participants and the great combination  in the group.

After that in CORVANA, were we learned about the great effort CORVANA  in doing to reduce the use of artificial pesticides in 50% with tecnology at its finest and new methods. In that way we discover that with a good enginnering approch we can make big changes to reduce contamination in any plantations . Next CATIE were even i was impress with all the uses  someone can obtain from diffrent plants in Costa Rica. Also the talk with Velasquez who states the importance of management to preserved a watershed because not only the pepople living there gets benifits also the whole country gets benifits for that smalls but big efforts.

Then with the ICE were one can see the hard task of providing a population of electricity but at the same time reduce the impact to the nature for obtaning that resourse. Finally in The Earth were you can realize that growing crops in the tropic is really challenging  and there is a lot to do to reduce the carbon footprint.

Beside the experience and about the translation, i must admit it was dificult, to switch between spanish to english in realtime, i mean not having the time to choose the rigth words  it is quite difficult and somethings i did not know what language i was speaking, Ben can affirm that in one of talks we have in the ICE when he ask me to translate one of his questions, wich i did but i start to talk to him in spanish, it was so funny.

But it was no dificult to comunicate between us,  to talk  normaly no fue ningun problema.  i really like when some of the participans show interest to know  at least some spanish  because it motivate  to explain at the point the message it is really clear. Also i agree with Dr. Luke Reese when he said that “language is not a barrier”, there are many ways of communication and with a look we can all understand really well.

Another thing that really impress me was the meetings, that where done in some days, to talk about what we saw and how it will be usefull for the dessing of the floating mat. i think that feedback is really important because whitout it the visting become a tour and not a learning experience. That it needs to have an objective and that objective to be remember every now and then.  I applaude the organizacion of the program, never seen anything like that.

The activities and the reading of the articles were of great help for learning of the topics of the program, it open the perpective of how things are done in other places and how they need to make it work. The activities help to start making conversation in only one specific topic so in that way you can really see the opinion of each personson of the group.

The talks where excellent, it cover most of the agricultural that are in Costa Rica and the representatives where a good choice. The excurcions where a good complement, and show the diversity of Costa Rica.

Finally i want to said that the experience with this program help to realizae that even in your country there is a lot to discover, a lot do and a lot of people to meet; so one should never hesitated for doing somethig new and diferent. You may find what you always were searching for.

I thankfull for knowing all of the people that participate in the program. And send the best wishes from Costa Rica.



Ferment for Biopesticides and Biofertilizer.

Ferment for Biopesticides and Biofertilizer.

The walking outside of the CATIE organic garden.

The walking outside of the CATIE organic garden.

Wilber explaning Kelsey about the Red Rice

Wilber explaning Kelsey about the Red Rice

Teams getting ready to launch the floatin mats, beging count down!

Teams getting ready to launch the floatin mats, begin count down!


Meeting at Fabio conducted by el maestro Robbie

The Bio-Engineering Ladies from MSU

The MSU Bio-Engineering chicas


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