Page 1








2 JAN 2014


14 JAN 2014


4,240 MILES




37.5 MILES

The city of San José is one of four cities that rests in the Central Valley of Costa Rica. San José is the current capital of Costa Rica since 186? when …… Elevation: Population: Avg. Temp: Avg. Rainfall:

1,170 ft 288,054 72 °F 78 in


Monteverde sits atop the spine of Costa Rica’s contintental divide and separates the rainy Atlantic side from the drier Pacific side. It is a place full of cloud forests, mist, monkeys, and more. The moisture in the air condenses down to form clouds and provides a complex and far-reaching ecosystem for over 100 species of mammals, 400 species of birds, tens of thousands of insects, and 2,500 varieties of plants (420 of which are orchids alone). Elevation: Population: Avg. Temp: Avg. Rainfall:

5,900 ft 6,750 64 °F 118 in



Atop the mountain sits 18 platforms and over 8 km of cable making it one of the longest zip lines in the world over the beautiful Monteverde Bosque Nuboso (Cloud Forest).

Arenal sits on top of one of the world’s most active volcanic sites with its most recent major eruption taking place in 2010. The surrounding hills house some of the most beautiful hotels. Part of the trip included planting a tree at a near by hotel as part of a reforsestation project. This city gets five leaves! Elevation: Population: Avg. Temp: Avg. Rainfall:

5,480 ft 8,000* 75 °F 133 in

*including surrounding towns


Manuel Antonio and the national park within the city has one of the most impressive landscapes of the world with lush foliage amongst great mountains and forests that reach right up to the countless coves and white sandy beaches. Elevation: Population: Avg. Temp: Avg. Rainfall:

sea level 7,000 80 째F 147 in





Creative Writing

Strategic Communications & Behavioral Science


As a senior from Woodinville, WA, Andy will graduate in Fall 2014 in hopes of finding a job working for a magazine or online news publication. He also plans on buying a French bulldog and naming him Ulysses after the most badass president ever, Ulysses S. Grant. His favorite part about the trip was going on the coffee tour and swimming in the Chucaras Hotsprings in Monteverde. The view was the most breathtaking thing he’s ever seen and the food was absolutely divine.

As a sophomore from Overland Park, KS, Annie is currently in the process of deciding what she would like to do with her life. However, she loves dogs and smiling. Her favorite part about the trip was the entire adventure of going abroad for the first time. From experiencing a completely different culture and being able to see so many eccentricities of the Costa Rican environment, she enjoyed the amazing opportunity to expand her worldview and realize the simplicity and beauty of life.

As a senior from Hiawatha, KS, Bekka will graduate in May 2014 and pursue a career in journalism or continue her studies through graduate school. Her favorite part about the trip was riding on trotting and running horses through the rainforest to see beautiful waterfalls and meet the Maleku Indigenous people.




Political Science

Journalism & European Studies

Pre-Medicine & English, (perpetually undecided)

As a freshman from Prairie Village, Kansas, Claire hopes to spend her life participating in the community development process in Latin America.

As a senior from Wakefield, Kansas, Emma will graduate in May 2014 and is considering taking time off to travel before entering the "real world."

Her favorite part about the trip was the opportunity to see this enchanted part of the world through a different lens. Having already spent time in neighboring Nicaragua, Claire cherishes the time she got to spend in Central America and the endless surprises and joys that the land and the people of this region so generously give.

Her favorite part of the trip was ziplining through the cloud forest, despite the fact that it was absolutely terrifying. The view while flying through the air was simply incredible and was definitely worth all the screaming. Oh, and the food. My god, the food.

As a sophomore from Chicago, Illinois, Erin plans to figure our what she wants to do with her life through some stroke of fate or miraculous epiphany. Her favorite part about the trip was learning how to step back, listen, and observe. She hopes to carry back to the states her sense of being humbled by the tiniest intimacies of nature and marveling at the contented simplicity that’s completely fulfilling. Who knew you can find revelations through bus windows and kilometer long zip lines?




Human Biology

Secondary English Education


As a junior from Wellington, KS, Hannah plans attend Dental School post graduation.

As a junior from Olathe, Kansas, Heathyr plans to graduate in 2015, after which she plans to either go to grad school or teach English abroad. She loves creating recipes, photography, and playing with animals.

As a sophomore from Victoria, Minnesota, Kara plans to graduate in 2016, complete the MAcc program, sit for the CPA exam, and travel before working for one of the Big Four public accounting firms.

Her favorite part about the trip was experiencing a new culture with new people. The tour guide spilled never-ending knowledge and compassion for her country, Costa Rica. Being a part of a group that was so curious and a leader so passionate was definitely an inspiring experience. Costa Ricans have such heart and put much effort into preserving their environment. She wishes to take some of these initiatives back to the states.

Her favorite part about the trip was observing the variation in the plant and wildlife of Costa Rica. It was incredible to notice the intricate and differentiated designs that are so plentiful in the natural world of such a small country.

Her favorite part about the trip was swimming in the waterfall in La Fortuna. It was a picture perfect moment and a great way to take in the vast aspects of nature in the rainforest.




English & Journalism

English & Journalism

English & Political Science

As a senior from Hays, Kansas, Kayla will graduate this May and move to New York City to pursue a career in the publishing industry. She hopes to work in children’s literature, championing the next bestseller and promoting diversity in order to create less prejudice in the next generation.

As a senior from Orlando, Florida, Kevin plans to graduate in 2015 and pursue his passion of teaching English abroad and becoming a part of a public relations firm. His idol is Oliva Pope.

Her favorite part about the trip was… Is it ok to say there wasn’t a single favorite? Seeing how, sometimes, there’s no need for language—we all have a common tongue in our actions. Loving the juices each day. Splitting open a coffee bean to taste the unexpected sweetness. Understanding that contentment is not laziness.

His favorite part about the trip was experiencing the unique southern hospitality of the people that live in Costa Rica. This trip opened his eyes when he learned that they aspire to live and work together peacefully under a blue sky. He also loved demonstrating his twerking skills as well!

As a junior from Saint Louis, Missouri, Kylee plans to attend law school after graduation. Her favorite part about the trip was the food, specifically the chocolate. The chance to experience new desserts, drinks, smoothies, and food were by far the most culturally enriching part of the trip.




Creative Writing & Japanese Language

English & Film Studies


As a junior from Topeka, Kansas, Lauren is planning on “winging” it after school with her pet ferrets, Hal and Oats.

As a senior from Prairie Village, Kansas, Madeleine is planning to apply to medical school next year.

Her favorite part about the trip was Zip Lining through the forest and trying to reenact Tarzan’s swift agile moves. She also enjoyed burning on the beach and making exquisite drip castles in the sand. She additionally enjoyed hiking through the forest, and running into sloths.

Her favorite part about the trip was when the ziplining was finally finished! She enjoyed having the opportunity to do something that was 100% terrifying, even though she may have cried a few times while she flew above the trees. She will remain a dedicated member of the Weenie Squad for life!

As a senior from Wichita, Kansas, Lara will be teaching middle and high school students science in Oklahoma as part of the Teach for America Program. Her favorite part about the trip was walking in the shade of the cloud forest because the unique environment was unlike anything she has ever experienced before.




Chemical Engineering

Creative Writing

Political Affairs & Administration

As a senior from St. Louis, Missouri, Mason plans on moving to Houston, Texas to work for Chevron Phillips Chemical Company in May 2014 after graduation.

As a senior from Baldwin City, Kansas, Meagan plans on seeking out a career and actively pursuing the Lord and His calling on her life.

As a senior from Topeka, Kansas, Payton plans to do a year of service with AmeriCorp after graduating in May 2014.

His favorite part about the trip was getting to meet 21 other people at KU that he would have never met without this trip. The experience of getting to see the world from so many different sets of eyes is a once in a lifetime experience that could never be gained any other way. What made this trip so special is that he was with so many creative minds with different mindsets than his own.

Her favorite part about the trip was waking up at 5:00am in Monteverde to spend time with God. The small mountain town flourished with all sorts of different leaves and flowers and she got lost each morning with her Bible, pen, and notebook. She enjoyed that there was no makeup, agenda, or obligations as she wandered down the stone pathways toward the end of a trail in the morning.

Her favorite part of the trip was getting to experience a place that had such varying beauty and vitality from volcanoes, to fruit markets, to natural hot springs and karaoke bars. Experiencing a place in which the people were unapologetically authentic and content with their lives was inspiring. Some day Payton hopes to achieve the same connectedness with nature that the Costa Ricans have because they’re clearly doing something right.




Creative Writing


Psychology & Creative Writing

As a junior from Wichita, Kansas, Rachel is a dog enthusiast.

As a junior from Salina, Kansas, Stacie works as a physics TA with her extra time outside of school work.

As a senior from Wichita, Kansas, Stephanie plans to continue teaching piano lessons in Lawrence after graduating summer 2014.

Her favorite part about the trip was whitewater rafting in Arenal. While rowing for her life she saw a wild two-toed sloth in the trees alongside the river which was the closest thing to a religious experience she’s had in her life. More generally, she loved the chance to speak Spanish with native speakers, and seeing the amount of wildlife such a small country holds.

Her favorite part about the trip was ziplining in Monteverde. The excursion brought the group together and really showcased the beautiful landscapes of Costa Rica. Ziplining also gave everyone an extreme adrenaline rush.

Her favorite part of the trip was when the group spent the day at the beach in Quepos. Between spending more time with the group and interacting with the locals out in the water, it was a memorable experience demonstrating how similar people are regardless of geography.



Finance & Chinese

Ph.D. English

Ph.D. English

As a junior from Salina, Kansas, Will plans to graduate in 2015 and pursue a career in finance.

As a professor and alumni from the University of Kansas Mary currently holds five degrees from KU.

As a professor for the University of Kansas this is Marta’s first time on the “Pura Vida” study abroad.

His favorite part about the trip was discovering the amazing biodiversity in Costa Rica. The specialization of plants and animals is incredible, and it demonstrates the fragility of the ecosystems. The trip resulted in a renewed interest in nature and a desire to protect it.

She started the “Pura Vida” study abroad program in 2006 when she realized the need for a interdisciplinary winter break study abroad. She had fallen in love with the country after visiting before with her kids and wanted to share the wealth of greenery and beauty with everyone.

She is a graduate from Yale and Univserity of California Irvine with specialties in Latina/Latino Studies and is fluent in Spanish.

Her favorite part of Costa Rica is seeing the excitement on everyone’s face as they get to experience they same experiences that led Mary to starting the program.


His favorite part about the trip was the chance to become immersed in the culture and language around every turn.

Pura Vida/Costa Rica Winter 2014  
Pura Vida/Costa Rica Winter 2014  

University of Kansas Travel Writing in Costa Rica