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U N I V E R S I T Y O F S A N D I E G O S O L E S G L O B A L C E N T E R

Costa Rica: Cultural Module What do you already know? 1. Who is the president of Costa Rica? 2. What are the national languages? 3. How many provinces are there? 4. When did Costa Rica gain their independence? Travel and Geography Location: Central America, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Nicaragua and Panama

5. What is the capital of Costa Rica? 6. What is the population of Costa Rica? What is the US population? 7. When type of government does Costa Rica have? 8. When did all Costa Ricans obtain the right to vote?

Area: total: 51,100 sq km land: 50,660 sq km water: 440 sq km Area - comparative: Slightly smaller than West Virginia Terrain: Coastal plains separated by rugged mountains including over 100 volcanic cones, of which several are major volcanoes

9. What is the monetary unit of Costa Rica? How many equal one dollar? 10. What temperature will it be in Costa Rica when you are there? (answers on page 4)

Cartago: Virgin of Los Angeles The festival honoring Costa Rica’s patron saint, “La Negrita,” takes place in Cartago on August 2. The celebration of the appearance of “La Negrita,” also know as the Virgin of Los Angeles or Virgin Mary, is a nationwide pilgrimage and religious processions to the Basilica in Cartago. Buses leave from San Jose throughout the day for transportation to Cartago, which is about 15 miles (24 kilometers) southeast of San Jose.

collect firewood to encounter a dark piece of stone with the image of the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus in her arms. She took the artifact home and locked it up. The image disappeared only to reappear several times in the woods where it was originally discovered.

People come from all over the country walking barefoot, on horseback, or in motorized vehicles, some having to travel several hundred miles. On August 2, 1635 a women left her home to Source: www.cia.gov and www.state.gov


History Costa Rica was inhabited by an estimated 400,000 Indians when Columbus explored it in 1502. The Spanish conquest began in 1524. Initial attempts at colonizing Costa Rica proved unsuccessful due to a combination of factors, including: disease from mosquito-infested swamps, brutal heat, resistance by natives, and pirate raids. It was not until 1563 that a permanent settlement of Cartago was established in the cooler, fertile central highlands. The area remained a colony for some two and a half centuries. Costa Rica achieved independence in 1821 but was absorbed for two years by Agustín de Iturbide in his Mexican empire. It became a republic in 1848. Except for the military dictatorship of Tomás Guardia from 1870 to 1882, Costa Rica has enjoyed one of the most democratic governments in Latin America.

In the 1970s, rising oil prices, falling international commodity prices, and inflation hurt the economy. Efforts have since been made to reduce reliance on coffee, banana, and beef exports. Tourism is now a major business. Óscar Arias Sánchez works to simultaneously heal his country's economic woes and foster peace in Central America.

Historical Figures “I will have to pay attention to half of the population who didn’t vote for me. But I can tell you that I know how to negotiate. I’m a conciliatory, humble listener.” Costa Rica’s President, Oscar Arias Sanchez (2006-present)

• Francisco Amighetti: Was a self-taught painter but influenced by Mexican, American, and European art, as well as Japanese prints. He portrayed bright and colorful every day situations of Costa Rican life in paintings with a touch of expressionism while referencing social problems. • Juan Santamaria: Juan Santamaria was a joyful, humble and brave young man. He enlisted himself into de Alajuelan troops as a drummer. He became a hero in 1856, when, in the middle of the battle against William Walker and the filibusters, he took a torch and burned down the house where the enemy was hiding. Losing his life for his nation, he became one of the most famous people in Costa Rica; he is remembered by a huge memorial statue in the middle of alajuela Park. • Jose Maria Castro Madriz: Was once the president of the Congress and the Supreme Court of Costa Rica. He co-founded the Santo Tomas University and started one of the first newspapers of the country, “El Mentor Costarricense.” He was elected chief of state in 1847 and made Costa Rica an independent nation on 1848 and became the first president of the Independent Republic from 1848 to 1849. During his presidency he created a school for girls and established the actual Costa Rica flag. • Franklin Chang Diaz: Born on April 5, 1950 in San Jose, Costa Rica. Famous people are not usually famous for what Franklin does: Dr. Chang-Dìaz became an astronaut in August 1981. While undergoing astronaut training he was also involved in flight software checkout at the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL), and participated in the early Space Station design studies. He has also been part of many missions into outer space including the This story can fit 75-125 Microsoft Publisher inDiscovery expedition on 1998 and on the Endeavour on 2002. He has also received many words.for his work on outstanding cludes thousands of clip art prizes scientific research. images from which you can or Poll: These nationalized Ticas have put Costa Rica’s name up by win•Selecting Claudiapictures and Silvia choose and import into graphics is anOlympic important ning several medals in the swimming category. They both have participated and your newsletter. There are part of adding to brought home content several honors in this sport. Although Silvia does not compete alsodemanding several tools you can your newsletter. anymore, she will be remembered hero shapes for many years to come and Claudia has manuseastoadraw and aged to come out as a role modelsymbols. for many young people in Costa Rica. Think about your article ask yourself if the pic•and Oscar Arias Sanchez: He won the Nobel Prize chosen thanks to Once you have anhis efforts to find peace in Latin ture supports or enhances America. In May 1986, he met theimage, Presidents placeofitGuatemala, close to theEl Salvador, Honduras and Nicathe message you’re ragua to discuss the trying proposals forarticle. a peaceful solution to the Be sure to place theregions’ political disputes. After to convey. working onAvoid manyselecting other positionscaption in the government he became Costa Rica’s president in of the image near images that beoffice for the next presidential elections. 1986, and is appear runningtofor the image. out of context. Insi de Story H eadli ne

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Costa Rica: Cultural Module Source: www.cia.gov and www.state.gov


Arts and Culture One aspect of Costa Rican culture must be treated separately from others"machismo." Men and women are expected to act differently from each other, and to respect their roles. The machista way of thinking is shared to some extent by most men and women, although it's not as extreme as in other Latin countries. While machismo has its negative aspects, it also has its advantages, and is often used by most local women to their advantage. Many traditions revolve around the family from the moment of birth to that of death. Some immensely important family traditions

are: baptisms, first communions, engagement parties, weddings and funerals. The main religious events are: Easter Week or Semana Santa , Christmas Week and August second, which is the celebration of the Virgin of the Angels. Costa Rica is 90% Catholic and practice a "lukewarm" Catholicism that causes a strange mixture of partying and religious celebration during these holidays. With exception to a few native crafts, the Costa Rican art scene is largely underdeveloped. Without the social unrest and suffering that defined the truly

great art movements of the Latin America, Costa Rica's visual arts have remained stagnant, reflecting the country's relatively benign colonial history and its affinity to epitomize the poor and humble rural tico. The new generation of local artists have brought a refreshing and mature style to the contemporary art scene of Costa Rica. Their art is usually on display at various galleries around the Central Valley. Food in Costa Rica is lightly seasoned and are usually made with rice, beans, vegetables, beef, chicken, fish, and are served with corn tortillas.

Commerce and Economic Issues Costa Rica's basically stable economy depends on tourism, agriculture, and electronics exports. Exports have become more diversified in the past 10 years due to the growth of the high-tech manufacturing sector, which is dominated by the microprocessor industry. Tourism continues to bring in foreign exchange, as Costa Rica's impressive biodiversity makes it a key destination for ecotourism. Foreign investors remain attracted by the country's political stability and high education levels, as well as the fiscal incentives offered in the free-trade zones. Costa Rica has attracted the second largest amount of foreign direct investment in Latin America. Poverty has remained around 20% for nearly 20 years, and the

Environment

Current issues: Deforestation and land use change, largely a result of the clearing of land for cattle ranching and agriculture; soil erosion; coastal marine pollution; fisheries protection; solid waste management; air pollution

strong social safety net that had been put into place by the government has eroded due to increased financial constraints on government expenditures. Immigration from Nicaragua has increasingly become a concern for the government. The estimated 300,000-500,000 Nicaraguans estimated to be in Costa Rica legally and illegally are an important source of - mostly unskilled - labor, but also place heavy demands on the social welfare system. Reducing inflation remains a difficult problem because of rising import prices, labor market rigidities, and fiscal deficits, though lower oil prices will decrease upward pressures.

International agreements: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate ChangeKyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands, Whaling

Source: www.cia.gov and www.state.gov

Ethnic groups: White (including mestizo) 94%, black 3%, Amerindian 1%, Chinese 1%, other 1% Religions: Roman Catholic 76.3%, Evangelical 13.7%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.3%, other Protestant 0.7%, other 4.8%, none 3.2% Page 3


Government and Law

Safety Police officers in Costa Rica are notorious for imposing fines for bogus violations of the law. If you are stopped and ticketed for a violation for which you are certain you are innocent, be prepared to pursue one of two avenues. You can either attempt to present a good argument against their claim, or you can pay the fine. As a general rule, keep a close watch on your possessions, especially in

urban areas. Pickpockets and chain-snatchers abound in larger cities like San José. Use purses and handbags with short straps, and always keep them under your arm. Do not accept drinks, food, or candy from even the friendliest of strangers. Some thieves will drug their victims before robbing them clean. Recreational drugs other than alcohol and tobacco are illegal in Costa

Rica. Do not deal with drug dealers. To avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes use a repellant containing deet. Stay away from wearing dark clothing, eating salty and high potassium foods, and using products with fragrance. Also, the human body gives off carbon dioxide which attracts mosquitoes to evade this place a burning candle in close proximity.

Human Rights

Education

The Government generally respects the human rights of its citizens, and the law and judiciary provide effective means of dealing with individual instances of abuse. The judicial system moves very slowly in processing criminal cases, resulting in lengthy pretrial detention for some persons charged with crimes. Domestic violence is a serious problem, and abuse of children also remains a problem. Traditional patterns of unequal opportunity for women remain, in spite of continuing government and media efforts to advocate change. Child labor persists. Prostitution and sex tourism are both legal.

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 12 years male: 12 years female: 12 years (2005)

Government type: democratic republic Constitution: 7 November 1949 Legal system: based on Spanish civil law system; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court; has accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction Head of State: Oscar Arias Sanchez (2006-present)

Education expenditures: 4.9% of GDP (2004)

Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and write total population: 94.9% male: 94.7% female: 95.1% (2000 census)

(answers to “What You Already Know”) 1. Oscar Arias Sanchez 2006-present 2. Spanish (official), English 3. 7 provinces (provincias, singular - provincia); Alajuela, Cartago, Guanacaste, Heredia, Limon, Puntarenas, San Jose 4. 15 September 1821 (from Spain) 5. San Jose 6. 4,016,173 (Costa Rica) and 303,824,640 (US) 7. Democratic Republic 8. 1949 9. Costa Rican colon (CRC), colones (pl.) Costa Rican colones (CRC) per US dollar - 529.62 (2008 est.), 519.53 (2007), 511.3 (2006), 477.79 (2005), 437.91 (2004) 10. San Jose and the Meseta Central have an average year-round temperature of 23°C (74°F). March to May are the hottest months everywhere in Costa Rica. The rainy season is from May to November.

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Source: www.cia.gov and www.state.gov


Language Information The official language spoken in Costa Rica is Spanish. The Spanish spoken in Costa Rica differentiates itself from other Spanish speaking countries by the slower pace at which it is spoken and its clear pronunciation. In Costa Rica people address each other in the ‘ usted’ form (formal) and ‘ vos’ (informal). The word ‘ tu’ (you) as heard in Spain is hardly used in Costa Rica. Letters such as ‘z’ and ‘c’

University of San Diego SOLES Global Center

which in Spain are pronounced with a lisping sound similar to the pronunciation of ‘th’ in the English word ‘thing’, are pronounced as an ‘s’ in Costa Rica.Costa Ricans tend to add ‘-ito/ ita’ to words as well, for example, un momento (a moment) becomes un momentito, una casa becomes una casita. Words ending on ‘ito/ita’ usually mean they are small, hence a little moment or a small house. Other typical words are ‘ macho/ macha’ (used to address people with blond hair), ‘ Upe’ (to call attention) and ‘ mae’ (dude).

The Top 3 Costa Rican Expressions: -mae (my): Mae can be used to mean "dude" between friends, or simply to refer to any man or woman ("ese mae te esta llamando" = "that guy is calling you"). -pura vida (poor-ah vee-dah): Pura vida means "pure life," but more than anything, it's a way of life. This phrase symbolizes the Costa Rican idea of letting things go, and simply enjoying life. Use it as an answer to "como estas?" ("how are you?"), or to say "thank you" or "you're welcome." -tico / tica (tee-ko/tee-ka): Due to a quirk of speech, Costa Ricans are called Ticos. Since Spanish uses gendered nouns, a Costa Rican man is a Tico, and a Costa Rican woman is a Tica. Other Costa Rican Slang: -100 (cien) metros (see-en met-ros): Always remember that "cien metros" means "one block." Likewise, "doscientos (200) metros" means "two blocks," and "cincuenta (50) metros", "half a block" – all regardless of the actual length of the block. -aguevado (ah-gway-va-doh): bored or boring (synonym of bostezo) -apuntarse (ah-poon-tar-say): to sign up (for something, like a tour) -bostezo (boh-stes-oh): bored or boring (a synonym of aguevado) -brete (bre-tay): work or job -como amanecio? (coh-moh ah-mahn-es-ee-oh): how are you this morning? -chunche (choon-chay): thingamajig -di/diay (dee/dee-ay): With no exact translation, diay is best thought of as an interjection at the beginning of a sentence, similar to "um" or "well." -dolor de jupa (dole-or day hoop-ah): a headache -el chante (el chahn-tay): home (house); place -estar de chicha (es-tar day chee-chah): to be angry -estar de goma (es-tar day goh-mah): to have a hangover -fijate/fijese (fee-hah-tay/fee-hey-say): Another phrase with no exact translation, this is best thought of as an interjection, approximately meaning "would you believe it?" -guila (gwee-lah): Despite its meaning in Mexico, a guila in Costa Rica is merely a "girl." -la jama (lah hah-mah): food -jamar (hah-marh): to eat -jumas (hoo-mahs): drunk -la choza (lah choh-sah): home -que mala nota! (kay mahl-ah no-tah): what a bad person! -macha (mah-cha): a blond female, usually a foreigner -mucho gusto (moo-choh goo-stoh): Translating directly as "[with] much pleasure," Costa Ricans use this in lieu of "de nada," or "thank you." -no entender ni papa (no en-ten-der nee pah-pah): to not understand a word -no joda!/no jodás! (no hoe-da/no hoe-das): don't bother me! / leave me alone! -ojo! (oh-hoe): watch out! -pinche (peen-chay): Despite its meaning in Mexico, pinche means "stingy" in Costa Rica. -por dicha (poor dee-chah): thank goodness -pulperia (pool-pehr-ee-ah): a small corner store -que m'iche? (kay mee-chay): what's up? / what do you have to tell me? -que pereza! (kay pay-ray-sah): ugh, what a drag! (synonym of "que tigra!") -que tigra! (kay tee-grah): ugh, what a drag! (synonym of "que pereza!") -salado (sahl-ah-doh): unlucky -soda (soh-dah): a small, family-run typical restaurant -soque! (soh-kay): hurry up! -una teja (oo-nah tay-hah): Una teja is 100 of anything, usually money (100 colones). If someone is giving you directions, however, una teja refers to "100 meters," or one block. -tome chichi! (toe-may chee-chee): Though this phrase has no direct translation, it's essentially a teasing form of "take that!" -tuanis (too-ahn-ees): Said to be a Spanish adaptation of "too nice," this popular phrase means "cool." -va jalando! (bah hahl-ahn-do): get out of here! / go away! -la vara (lah bar-ah): the thing Source: www.cia.gov and www.state.gov

http://www.sandiego.edu/soles/documents/costarica_module_000  

http://www.sandiego.edu/soles/documents/costarica_module_000.pdf

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