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Costa Rica: Social Work & Psychology- Service-learning in Environmental Justice


This program will explore social and environmental justice.  Students will learn about ecotourism, sustainable agriculture, and empowerment and entrepreneurship of women. Students will have an opportunity to engage directly in service-learning projects focused on environmental justice and live with host families practicing sustainable agriculture.  Students will also have the opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty of the Costa Rican landscape through hiking and white-water rafting.


  • Engage in environmental sustainability service projects
  • Taste and analyze Costa Rican chocolate
  • Learn about sustainable agriculture of cacao, pineapple, and bananas 
  • Experience the Tropical Agricultural Research & Higher Education Center (CATIE)
  • Hike to waterfalls
  • Enjoy white-water rafting
  • Immerse in the culture with a host family 


The program in Costa Rica will connect to the academic content of these courses and provide students with experiential learning. 

  • SW306 is a 3-credit class requirement for social work majors. This course allows students to explore the impact environmental and social justice issues has within a community system while applying cultural competency and humility working with individuals, families, and organizations.  
  • PS334, PS345

This program is open to ALL students even if they are not registered for one of these courses.

Faculty Leaders

Dr. Karen Kelly is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology and Counseling.  Professor Kelly earned her BA from Rutgers University, an MA from Montclair State University, and her PhD from Columbia University.  Her research interests include self-awareness and various aspects of self-reflective consciousness including metacognition (particularly as it relates to emotional exchanges).  This will be Dr. Kelly’s first time leading a study abroad program.

Dr. Susan Field is the Director of Psychology Scholars Program and a Professor of Psychology.  She was born in Yorkshire, England but has lived in the USA most of her life.  Her research interests include attitudes, particularly prejudice, the effects of gendered language on people’s thought, and pedagogical techniques in higher education.  This will be the fourth time Dr. Field has led a group of students abroad.

Colleen Diveny, MSW, LCSW has taught in social work program for the past four years. She has a special interest in advocating for social justice, particularly with the LGBTQ+ community. As a member of the Ocean County Homeless Prevention and Assistance Coalition, she continues to promote and present on topics of effectiveness of homeless youth programs. She has worked in several offices across campus throughout her tenure of 16 years at Georgian Court University including the Counseling Center, Dean of Students and Student Success and Advocacy. Her interest in global concerns is evident in her classroom lectures that strive to promote social and environmental justice issues.

Program Costs


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