Job

 

Name: Job
Major: Anthropology
Program: People and the Environment in Central America
Where: San Jose, Costa Rica
When: Fall 2005
Favorite Course: Human Development and Poverty in Latin America
Best Excursion: Camping on the beach in Montezuma
Favorite Dish: Vuelve a la Vida, a special ceviche from the town of Palmares
Least Favorite Dish: Gallo Pinto, a typical Costa Rican beans and rice dish made heavy with condiments

 

 

What did you learn to love about the culture?
One thing that I learned to love about Costa Rican culture is the healthiness of the Costa Rican diet. Costa Rican dishes are prepared with organic grains, fruits, and vegetables. The plethora of fresh organic fruits and vegetables made it easy and enjoyable to eat healthy at an astoundingly low cost.


What do you consider the most important personal, academic, professional, or social results of your experience abroad?

While in Costa Rica, I worked on an individual research project analyzing the reemerging dengue epidemic. I identified some behavioral tendencies of Costa Ricans that have contributed to an increased frequency of the principle vector of dengue, the Aedes Aegypti. During this research I visited illegal settlements located on the periphery of San Jose, where the recorded frequency of dengue infections was among the highest in Costa Rica. The settlements are comprised of mostly Nicaraguan and Colombian refugees who have constructed homes out of recycled materials and have illegally tapped into the water and electricity supplies. Overcrowding, unreliable access to water and electricity, and a lack of basic infrastructure to properly remove waste have resulted in a rather precarious situation for this population with regards to individual and public health. This population is of interest because it provides a stark contrast with the rest of the Costa Rican population, which has reliable access to water and electricity, a relatively high standard of sanitation, and access to an internationally renowned universal healthcare system. This contrast has prompted compelling questions that could serve as possible areas of future research. For example, how much more susceptible to dengue infections are migrants living in illegal settlements than the rest of the Costa Rican population due to a lack of essential resources? What behavioral tendencies might put this population at a higher risk of dengue infections? How do both health policies (e.g. healthcare, vaccinations, etc.) and non-health policies (e.g. immigration, housing, etc.) impact health disparities among migrant populations? What epidemiological mechanisms for the surveillance and control of dengue are not present or are lacking in Costa Rica, resulting in the reemergence of a dengue epidemic? During graduate work, I would like to participate in research that addresses these types of questions.

What is your advice for students who wish to go abroad?

Prior to going abroad you should apply for scholarships that will help finance your time abroad. For example, the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is a wonderful scholarship and if you receive a Federal Pell Grant or can provide proof that you will be receiving a Pell Grant at the time of application or during the term of your study abroad, you are applying to or have been accepted into a study abroad program eligible for credit by Temple University, you are planning to study abroad for at least 4 weeks in one country, you are planning to study abroad in any country except Cuba or a country on the State Department's current Travel Warning list, and you are planning to study abroad in the fall, spring, or academic year terms including winter inter-sessions, then you should apply. You can find more information, as well as an application at http://www.iie.org/programs/gilman/index.html.

Have fun and remember that studying abroad offers a very unique experience that you should definitely take advantage of!