A summer in Costa Rica
"I was grateful to experience the design process of the professional world, where architects and landscape architects work together to create a more comprehensive site and building design."
"My study abroad experience at the Monteverde Institute in Costa Rica could not have been more fulfilling. During the course of the Sustainable Futures program, I worked beside two fellow UMD landscape architecture students and 11 architecture students from the University of Buffalo. We worked together to complete community–oriented designs, while learning cutting-edge methods of sustainable development.
In the two and a half months we spent in Monteverde, we designed multiple projects that would make the Monteverde Institute a more sustainable campus. For the first two weeks we participated in a design charette of a green wall to be built on campus. Two weeks later, our designs stood completed before us, to the admiration of all my classmates. It was incredibly rewarding to see our hard work implemented in a real-life application. Our next projects were master plans of the campus, designs for water-conscious buildings on campus, and a design/build of a dry-composting toilet.
For our final project, we were split into groups. I had the opportunity to work closely with architecture students and develop two designs for office spaces that responded to their surrounding landscape. I was grateful to experience the design process of the professional world, where architects and landscape architects work together to create a more comprehensive site and building design.
Furthermore, I had an amazing time getting to know the Costa Rican people and culture by living with a host family. They welcomed me into their home and helped me improve my Spanish speaking skills. As as a result, I felt fully immersed in their way of life. I will always cherish the time I spent with them and will be back to visit as soon as I can. I’m sure the close bonds I made with my Tico family, as well as the other students I met on the program, will last for years to come. All of us who ventured into the cloud forest for a summer, shared an unforgettable experience and I know my time spent in Monteverde will stand among my most cherished memories."