From Costa Rica to Paris: Summer Study Abroad with Berry

Elisabeth Martin, Campus Carrier Features Editor

Jamison Guice, Campus Carrier Asst. Features Editor

Berry offers students the chance to receive credit while traveling to a different country with summer study abroad programs in locations such as Florence, Costa Rica, Paris and Greece. The deadline for applying for summer-abroad courses is March 1.

Two of the programs offered this summer include a biology-centered trip to Costa Rica in May, and a trip with the European Council to Paris in July.

Students who are passionate about biology, environmental science, or health may be interested in getting a close look at these topics in Costa Rica with Martin Cipollini, Dana professor of biology, and Christopher Hall, associate professor of biology.

Cipollini will teach Tropical Biodiversity and Conservation course as a four credit course for students who require biology credit, environmental science credit, One-Health minor credit or Foundations science credit.

Hall will teach Tropical Epidemiology and Public Health as a three credit course that will allow students to enrolls in the course for One-Health minor credit and biology credit.

“Non-science majors are accepted,” Cipollini said. “We have taken them before and they have done well. All they have to do is be curious and ask questions. We don’t expect people to have a substantial background in biology because what we will be teaching will be brand new.”

The Monday after graduation, Tropical Biodiversity and Conservation and Tropical Epidemiology and Public Health will begin. It is necessary to enroll in both courses in order to participate in the trip. The first week of the courses is spent on the Berry campus where the professors will lecture on appropriate clothing, meet-up locations and other safety procedures.

Once in Costa Rica, both courses will participate in field research by visiting the tropical rainforest, the dry rainforest and a wet marshland.

Cipollini said that his course focuses mainly on the tropical ecology of plants and animals. He said that students identify their surroundings in the field and then complete a small independent project that interests them.

One aspect of his course involves keeping a daily journal. Cipollini said each student is given one once they are in Costa Rica and they are expected to catalogue plants and animals. He said that noting specific characteristics allows them to later identify them and become more aware of their environment.

Hall’s course focuses mainly on the tropical diseases within the area that impact human health. One of the focuses of the course is looking at how diseases persist in an area and why. The mosquitoes, for example, can carry parasitic diseases that can be transferred to humans.

“We might try and collect mosquitoes, identify the genus and identify the possible diseases it could carry in this area,” Hall said.

He said that by looking at the insects, students can get a better understanding of how a certain species of insect is more likely to carry a disease than another, and this knowledge is best gained by hands-on experience.

“I think when students are sitting in a sterile classroom and just looking at PowerPoints, you just sort of forget what biology is,” Hall said. “When you get out in it and you are seeing it— the diversity of plants and animals that Costa Rica offers— it’s thrilling.”

In a different kind of trip, students can travel to Paris in July with the European Council to take classes in sociology, French, communication, English literature, anthropology, art, psychology, and more.

“The European Council is a consortium of virtually every public school in Georgia with the exception of UGA,” said Brian Carroll, professor of communication and department chair. “It is all public schools, and Berry. I don’t know why, but we are a part of this consortium. That offers a kind of economy of scale that keeps prices down, and it gives students this really good selection of courses.”

In this five-week program open to all students, students get the chance to live and study in Paris alongside students from all parts of Georgia.

“Paris makes the most sense for people who are interested in studying French and are interested in French language or culture,” Carroll said. “But Paris is also just one of the most cosmopolitan, amazing cities in the world.”

Carroll will teach Introduction to French Film as an introductory communication course, and Travel Writing as an upper-level communication course.

“This is not new,” Carroll said. “European Council study abroad has been offered at Berry for about a decade. There are sites in London, Madrid, St. Petersburg, Edinburgh, Rome and Paris.”

The cost of the five-week trip is $6,400 and includes most expenses, Carroll said. This includes airfare, tuition, a Paris Metro card, site visits, a couple of trips, lodging and transfers from the airport and back. 20 meal tickets and some grocery funds are also included.

When students are not in class, they will have opportunities to take group trips to different historic locations throughout Europe. In the past, this has included trips to Versailles, Strasbourg, Normandy, and more for activities like watching fireworks, going on tours, and participating in wine tastings.

Carroll explained that he has never heard negative feedback from students who have taken part in this program. In fact, these kinds of opportunities can give some students the push they need to pursue new interests.

“I’ll mention Allie Crain— she’s working in international programs at Georgia Tech now,” Carroll said. “She’s responsible for a French site. She was already interested in French language, but certainly going on the Paris trip just fueled that fire. It meant that she would be looking for professional opportunity that involved France in some way.”

These programs are only two examples of trips that students can attend with faculty in summer 2019. For a complete list and instructions on how to apply, visit or visit International Experiences in Krannert 331.

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