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					    Survival Guide for
 CATIE/University of Idaho
  Joint Doctoral Program
         Students




     CATIE, Turrialba, Costa
             Rica
This packet was compiled by the University of Idaho Study Abroad office.
    We would like to thank Stacy Sesnie and Jennifer Morse for their
invaluable advice and website; USAC for the use of their student Survival
          Guide; and Lonely Planet and Let’s Go travel guides.
                       Important Contact Information


University of Idaho
Robert Neuenschwander
Study Abroad Office

University of Idaho                               Phone: (208) 885-4075
Moscow, Idaho 83844-3013                          Fax: (208) 885-2859
Email: bobn@uidaho.edu                            Home (509) 332-6181


                                                              CATIE )
Glenn Galloway, PhD                               Phone: (506) 558-2422
Director of Education and Dean, Graduate School   Fax: (506) 556-1533
Email: Galloway@catie.ac.cr

Noily Navarro                                     Phone: (506) 558-2630
Administradora

Jeannette Solano                                  Phone: (506) 558-2421
Asuntos Estudiantiles

                                                  Phone: (506) 558-2422
Secretaria Ejecutiva

                                                  Phone: (506) 558-2424
Registro


EMERGENCY: 911                               Embassy hours: 8:00 am to 4:30 pm
Police: 117                                  Mon. - Fri. Closes for all US and Costa
Fire: 118                                    Rican National Holidays.
                                             Website: http://usembassy.or.cr/
AMERICAN EMBASSY
Calle 126 Avenida 0, Pavas,                  William Allen Hospital:
San José, Costa Rica                         (506) 556-1133 (300m west of the
Phone: (506) 220-3939                        southwest corner of the parquet)
Fax: (506) 220-2305                          Red Cross: (506) 556-0191
Embassy After Hours/ Emergency:              AMBULANCE SERVICES:
(506) 220-3127                               (506) 551-0421

STATE DEPARTMENT CONSULAR INFORMATION SHEET:
               http://travel.state.gov/costa_rica.html




                                         2
                           Table of Contents

Suggested Joint Doctoral Program Packing List        4
School at CATIE                                 5
       Housing
       Classes, grading, and transfer credit
       Computers and email
Research and Academic Resources                 5
       Permits
       Campus facilities
Passports, Visas, and Identification            11
Health Issues                                   11
       Healthy living
       Water
       Food
       Gastrointestinal problems
       Dog and animal bites
       Sexual health
       Malaria
       Immunizations
       Hospitals
       Medication and prescriptions
Safety                                          13
Drugs                                           14
Transportation and Travel                       15
       Airport pick-up
       Public transportation
       Traveling in Costa Rica
       Driving
Money                                           16
Communication                                   17
       Telephone
       Post Offices
Costa Rican Life                                17
       Laundry
       Electricity
       Meals
       Greetings
       Other cultural issues
Culture Shock                                   18
Costa Rican Holidays                            19




                                      3
          Suggested Joint Doctoral Program Packing List
Costa Rica has a mild climate in the lowlands but can be surprisingly chilly at higher
elevations. You should bring the clothes you feel most comfortable in, keeping weather
and culture in mind. Because of Costa Rica’s wet climate (especially in eastern regions)
it is important to bring quick drying clothes. People rarely wear shorts and most
students dress conservatively for classes and activities outside of the home.

For traveling and research, you will want to have comfortable, lightweight clothes, and
shorts or swimwear for the beach. Hiking boots are suggested for climbing mountains.
You will probably want to have at least one nice outfit for some occasions.

You should pack as lightly as possible, but you also need to have enough clothes with
you to be prepared for all situations that you may encounter. You should pack about 2
weeks worth of clothes. If you play sports, bring equipment you might need (ex. cleats
for soccer, leotards for dance).
                                                 Prescription medicines
ISIC card                                        Vitamins
Passport                                         Sunglasses
Marriage license                                 Camera
Birth certificate                                Film (Cheaper in the US)
Report cards for kids                            Sunscreen (high SPF)
Driver’s license                                 Hat
Copies of school degrees                         Music, Walkman
Official transcripts                             Books (novels, Spanish grammar,
Computer                                         Costa Rican guide book)
4-5 Jeans, slacks                                Small gifts for friends and CATIE
4-5 T-shirts                                     advisor (items from your hometown,
Light jacket                                     university t-shirts, picture books,
Rain gear                                        perfume, and of course, chocolate never
Umbrella (it is often too warm to wear           fails…)
rain gear)                                       List of contacts in the USA (include
1-2 Sweaters/ sweatshirts                        friends, family, insurance companies,
1 Nice outfit                                    UI advisors, and any other important
1-2 shorts                                       contacts)
Bathing suit
Pajamas                                          For traveling:
Socks & underwear (plenty)                       Hiking boots
Comfortable city walking shoes                   Water bottle
Sandals                                          Daypack
Toiletries/cosmetics: most can be                Binoculars
bought in Costa Rica, so save space and          A few Ziploc bags
buy it there. However, if you need               Anti-bacterial gel hand cleanser
special brands (ex. contact lens
solution) bring it with you.




                                           4
                                 School at CATIE
Housing
You will want to speak to Marta Gonzalez (mgonzale@catie.ac.cr or (506) 558-2422) to
reserve an apartment. There are three types of housing: married housing for couples
with children, married housing for couples without children, and dormitories. All
housing has high speed internet connections and phones for incoming calls.

If you don’t arrive at CATIE during business hours, notify Marta so you can arrange to
pick up your key from the guard at the gate. If you arrive during the day, you can go to
her office for a key.

Classes, grading, and transfer credit
Many Joint Doctoral Program students register for classes at the University of Idaho and
at CATIE while they are in Turrialba. Classes taken through the University of Idaho
will be the same as if you were studying on campus. You will register and receive a
grade at the completion of the course. Your credit will appear as residential credit.

Before you leave for Costa Rica, the Study Abroad office will register you for SA 999
A-F. This course is a place holder while you study at CATIE so you can receive
financial aid and the benefits of being a fulltime student. Once we receive your grades
from CATIE, your classes will appear as transfer credit on your transcript. Within the
university, your classes will appear with course details but on your official transcript the
courses will appear as transfer credit only. If you transfer to another university, you may
need official transcripts from CATIE that show the detail of your courses. The grades
you receive at CATIE will not be factored into your resident University of Idaho GPA.
Instead they will be factored into a transfer GPA.

Once you arrive at CATIE, you will need to register for you classes. In order to do this
you must be accepted to the Escuela de Posgrado
provide her with an official UI transcript and a signed copy of your study plan. She will
help you with registration.

Computers & Email
There are computer labs available for your use at CATIE and you will be issued a laptop
by Joint Doctoral Program. You will also have access to all electronic services provided
by the University of Idaho and high speed internet connection.

                       Research and Academic Resources

Permits
It is important that students acquire the appropriate permits and licenses before
beginning research. Students bringing samples back into the United States will need to
check with APHIS and Customs for appropriate permits. In Costa Rica, student will
need permits to collect samples and conduct research.

Instructions for obtaining collection permits from MINAE/SINAC
        Telephone Contact:
        Javier Guevara                                    253-5605 (or 234-6504)

       Directions to FAO office in San Jose:


                                             5
       100m oeste de Casa Italia (Iglesia), Calle 26 bis, Avenida 810

       Bring:
       1. Photocopy of your passport photo page.
       2. 2 current passport photos.
       3. Letter of support from CATIE that says they know of and support your
               research project (this requires that CATIE has your passport number and
               the title of your research project in Spanish).
       4. Copy of your CV (English is fine).
       5. A 1-6 page summary, in Spanish, of your research project (Introduction,
               Objectives, Methods, Outcomes, Research Timeline (Cronograma), etc.).
       6. A letter (from you) if you will be exporting items that explains what you will
               be exporting and its final destination.
       7. A completed form from MINAE: Solicitud de permiso para realizar
       investigaciones.
       8. $30 US

MINAE form: Solicitud de permiso para realizar investigaciones.
                                (following page)




                                           6
MINISTERIO DE RECURSOS NATURALES, ENERGIA Y MINAS DIRECCION
          GENERAL DE VIDA SILVESTRE VENTANILLA UNICA DE
                             INVESTIGACIONES

SOLICITUD DE PERMISO PARA REALIZAR INVESTIGACIONES


FECHA

NOMBRE

NUMERO CEDULA O PASAPORTE

NACIONALIDAD

INSTITUCION

TELEFONO________________________FAX_____________________

DIRECCION PERMANENTE




DIRECCION EN COSTA RICA




TITULO DE LA INVESTIGACION




PERIODO DE REALIZACION DE LA INVESTIGACION

DE _________________HASTA__________________

AREA EN LA QUE DESEA TRABAJAR

NUMERO DE ACOMPAÑANTES (Incluya nombres, numeros de cedula o
pasaporte y funciones que realizaran)




                                        7
DESEA RECOLECTAR ESPECIMENES U OTROS MATERIALES

SI_______ NO _______

ESPECIFIQUE (especie, nombre comun, numero de especimenes, cantidades
mediadas, pesos, formas, etc.)




OBJETIVO DE LA RECOLECCION




DESTINO DE ESPECIMENES RECOLECTADOS EN CALIDAD DE
PRESTAMO




RESULTADOS ESPERADOS AL FINALIZAR LA INVESTIGACION




DESCRIPCION DE LAS PUBLICACIONES QUE SE HARAN CON LOS
RESULTADOS FINALES




FUENTE Y MONTO DEL FINANCIAMIENTO (especifique)




                                  8
SERVICIOS QUE SOLICITA DEL AREA

HOSPEDAJE____________ ALIMENTACION____________
CABALLOS____________
LANCHA________________ TRANSPORTE ____________
EQUIPO______________
GUIA___________________ LABORATORIO____________
ASISTENTE___________
OTROS
(especifique)______________________________________________________

El investigador declara que su investigación no persigue fines comerciales




FIRMA

CLAUSULAS ESPECIALES

   1. Todo investigador que requiera colectar, deberá depositar un duplicado de los
      especimenes en el Museo Nacional y otro en el Museo de la Universidad de
      Costa Rica.
   2. El traslado de especimenes fuera del país, requiere de permisos de exportación
      adicionales.
   3. Toda publicación de los resultados de la investigación, debe incluir los créditos
      correspondientes.
   4. Todo investigador u organismo por el representado queda obligado a depositar
      en el Ministerio de Recursos Naturales, Energía y Minas MINAE, tres copias del
      trabajo realizado, además, cada copia vendrá acompañada por un resumen en
      idioma español, cuando el original esta escrito en otro idioma.
   5. El investigador responsable y sus colaboradores, se comprometen a cumplir con
      lo estipulado en esta solicitud y en el reglamento de investigaciones del MINAE
      así como con las leyes y decretos vigentes en Costa Rica y con las indicaciones
      que reciba de la administración de las áreas donde trabaje.

ESPACIO EXCLUSIVO PARA LA OFICINA DE INVESTIGACIONES

FECHA DE RECIBIDO

MEDIO DE ENTREGA UTILIZADO



                                          9
TRAMITE AREA

FECHA

PARA CONSULTA COMITE ASESOR ________SI ________ NO

RECOMENDACIONES RECIBIDAS




                              10
Campus facilities
CATIE’s campus offers many facilities for research and academic endeavors including
the Orton Commemorative Library and several laboratories. The library specializes in
agriculture, forestry, livestock, and related fields and can be contacted at
bibliot@catie.ac.cr or (506) 556-0501 for more information.
The campus has the following laboratories that are available to Joint Doctoral Program
students (with a possible lab fee):
        GIS
        Biotechnology
        Soil Analysis, Plant Tissue, and Water
        Plant Protection
        Animal Nutrition
        Eco-physiology and Roots
For more information about the laboratories and their facilities go to
http://webbeta.catie.ac.cr/Magazin.asp?CodSeccion=112&MagSigla=MENU_PROD_ENG.


                   Passports, Visas, and Identification
Students receive a tourist visa at Immigration upon arrival in Costa Rica. The tourist
visa is usually good for 90 days and during that time you must change your status from
a tourist to “Temporary Resident.” There are no student visas for Costa Rica. Contact
Jannette Solano ((506) 558-2421) at CATIE for assistance with this application process.
The process will take about two weeks and you will need your passport, 4 passport
photos, about $15, fingerprints, marriage license (if applicable), and children’s birth
certificates (if applicable).

You should always carry personal identification and as of December 2002, foreigners
are required to carry their original passport with a valid entry stamp. Because passports
are often the target of theft, you should carry it in a secure location. Keep copies of
important documents and items such as insurance, credit cards, identification, birth
certificates, passport, permits and licenses in a secure location.

YOU SHOULD REGISTER YOUR PASSPORT AND ADDRESS WITH THE
U.S. EMBASSY.

TO LEAVE COSTA RICA:
There is an airport tax of approximately $60 for all non-residents leaving Costa Rica.

                                   Health Issues
 *THE FOLLOWING MEDICAL AND HEALTH INFORMATION IS ONLY
  ADVICE PROVIDED BY THE STUDY ABROAD OFFICE. WE ARE NOT
  MEDICAL EXPERTS AND IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT YOU CONSULT A
MEDICALLY TRAINED EXPERT ABOUT VACCINATIONS, TREATMENTS,
 AND ANY OTHER MEDICAL ISSUES BEFORE DEPARTING FOR COSTA
                           RICA.*




                                           11
Healthy Living
There are many practices and habits that can reduce your chances of getting sick while
abroad.
    Wash hands frequently.
    Drink only bottle, boiled, or filtered water. Use “absolute 1-micron or less”
        filters and add iodine tablets to filtered water.
    Avoid ice cubes.
    Eat only thoroughly cooked food or fruits and vegetables that you have peeled.
        If you want to eat fruits or vegetables that cannot be peeled or cooked you can
        soak them in an iodine solution for 30 minutes.
    Protect yourself from mosquitoes (see following section on malaria)

Water
Tap water is unsafe to drink in most places in Costa Rica. Bottled or boiled water
should be used for drinking water. Ice cubes should also be avoided. You should brush
your teeth with purified water. If you do use bottled water, make sure the bottled is
sealed when you buy it.

Food
It is not advised to eat food sold on the streets in Costa Rica. Avoid all raw or
undercooked fish, shellfish, and meat. Do not drink juices on the street or in markets.
Milk in bags is usually boiled to be able to drink it. Milk in boxes is UHT (ultra heat
treated) so it is safe to drink. Restaurants are fine if you are careful what you eat. Try
to avoid raw vegetables. Remember: Cook it, Boil it, Peel it, or Forget It!!!

Gastrointestinal problems
Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and cramping. In Costa Rica, there is a
moderate incidence of “traveler’s diarrhea.” It is a self-limiting diarrhea lasting from a
couple to several days. This usually requires no treatment other than fluid replacement,
which would include Oral Rehydration Treatment or home-made solutions: 1 teaspoon
salt, ½ teaspoon baking soda, and 2-3 teaspoons sugar in 1 liter of clean water. Pepto
Bismol and certain antibiotics can prevent the infection, but it will usually clear up on
its own.

One suggestion, besides drinking lots and lots of fluids is to stick to a B.R.A.T. diet:
Bananas, Rice, Apples, and Toast.

More serious diarrhea illnesses may be due to giardia or amoebic dysentery (parasites),
or bacillary dysentery (bacteria). These are caused by contaminated food and water, so
please follow the previous food and water guidelines. If diarrhea does not go away after
two days, is bloody, or is accompanied by a high fever, seek immediate medical
attention.

Dog and animal bites
Be careful of the street dogs and wild animals in Costa Rica. If you get bitten, you must
get a rabies vaccination right away, unless you can prove that the dog has been
vaccinated.

Sexual health
As you know, the HIV-virus and all other sexually transmitted diseases are prevalent
everywhere in the world. If you are sexually active: beware, be smart, be safe, and
always use a latex condom.

                                            12
Malaria and Dengue fever
Malaria is found in the lowlands of rural Costa Rica (Alajuela, Limon, Guanacaste, and
Heredia). Chloroquine is the recommended prophylaxis for Costa Rica by the CDC but
you should check with your local physician or medical expert before departure, as there
are many brands of medication for malaria.

There have been several cases of Dengue fever in Costa Rica. There are no
immunizations for this mosquito born disease so if you are visiting an area where the
disease is present be sure to protect yourself from mosquito bites.

The following measures should be followed to prevent mosquito bites:
         Wear long sleeve shirts and long pants, especially at dusk & dark.
         Use mosquito netting over bedding.
         Use insect repellent with 30-40% DEET on your skin (no higher).
         Use insect repellent on clothes and netting.
If you experience flu-like symptoms after you have been in a malarial area, contact a
doctor immediately.

Immunizations
Center for Disease Control recommends the following immunizations:
        1. Hepatitis A
        2. Hepatitis B
        3. Rabies (if in rural Costa Rica or in contact with animals)
        4. Typhoid (rural Costa Rica)
        5. Yellow fever (mainly in Panama)
        7. Boosters for tetanus-diphtheria and measles
Give yourself plenty of time for immunizations because several of them require a series
of shots.

Hospitals
The health care system in Costa Rica is considered one of the best in Latin America,
especially in San Jose but most services require immediate payment. As University of
Idaho students, you are required to have insurance the meets university requirements.

Medication and prescriptions
It is easier to take all of your prescription medication with you instead of finding
reliable pharmacies in Costa Rica. Make sure that all of your medications have a
prescription on the bottle that includes your name, the name of the medication, and
instructions for use. If it is not possible to bring enough medication for the duration of
your stay, you should be able to purchase most medications in Costa Rica, but be sure to
check before you get there because mailed medications are not allowed through
customs.

                                         Safety
It is important to be aware of the political situation and current events in Costa Rica as a
researcher and visitor. Recently, foreigners have had their itineraries interrupted by
labor strikes and public demonstrations. Unfortunately, crimes related to foreigners are
also increasing, especially around tourist areas. In order to reduce your risk of injury
you should consult with your advisor and the US Embassy before going into the field or
on trips to areas off of the beaten path.


                                            13
There are areas of Costa Rica that you should avoid, and you should always be aware of
your surroundings. You need to use common sense and be street smart. As a visitor to
another culture you will often be unaware of cues that indicate a dangerous situation.
Don’t take any unnecessary risks. Do not walk alone or take buses alone at night –
especially women. Be very careful of wallets or purses while on buses or trolleys.
Don’t wear fancy watches or gold jewelry. Remember that as a “gringo,” you are an
obvious target so try to be inconspicuous.

Your chances of being robbed increase proportionally to your level of intoxication. If
you decide to drink, please do so moderately.

Women: You may hear catcalls as you walk down the street. This is normal; just
ignore them. It is part of the machista culture and has a long tradition going back to
piropos, when men would yell out clever sayings to beautiful women walking by (and
women didn’t feel pretty unless they were yelled at). Please be careful of “gringa
chasers” or bicheros, men who make a living off of dating gringas (get their food and
traveling paid for). They mostly hang out in the touristy areas and bars. Never walk
alone at night!

                 WARNING: INFORMATION ABOUT THE DRUG
                            “SCOPOLAMINE”

Scopolamine is a drug used by thieves and criminals in Costa Rica. This drug is given
orally (mixed with a drink) or through the skin (with a paper or a business card). A
person who takes scopolamine will loose all his/her willpower, and will basically do
anything he/she is asked for. This drug also causes a loss of memory that can last for up
to 48 hours.

This is pretty scary but if you use your common sense and avoid dangerous situations,
you can reduce the risk down to zero. What to do?

-   Don’t talk to strangers on the street, even if they seem to be the nicest persons.
-   Don’t accept anything from a stranger (drinks, business cards, packets, etc…)
-   Be very careful when you go to “La Mariscal” and go always with a group of people
-   At bars, never leave your drink unattended. Always take it with you.
-   Always buy your drink yourself; don’t accept a drink at a bar from someone else,
    not even from someone you think you know.
-   Be careful, use your common sense and try to always be with a group of friends.

For more information on safety, you can look at the Consular Information Sheet for
Costa Rica: http://travel.state.gov/costa_rica.html

                                        Drugs
Existing legislation in most foreign countries regarding the use or possession of
marijuana, cocaine, and other illegal drugs imposes very severe penalties. Neither the
U.S. Embassy nor the UI Study Abroad Office is able to exercise effective pressure to
moderate these penalties. In short, no one is going to be able to bail you out of a Costa
Rican jail if you or someone you are with is caught with drugs. Prison conditions are
sub-standard.


                                            14
Associating with suspected drug users or sellers, even if you are not actually taking
drugs, could result in you being arrested or detained. Please stay clear of anyone
engaged in the use of drugs, and away from parties where drugs might be available.

The legal drinking age in Costa Rica is 18, but drinking can put you in extremely
dangerous situations. If you drink, for your personal safety, drink with moderation.
International students have been robbed, have gotten into fistfights, and have lost the
respect of their peers and coworker for excessive drinking. Don’t do it!

                         Transportation and Travel
Airport pick-up
CATIE can provide transportation from the airport to Turrialba for about $82 but you
should che

and catch a bus from there or take a taxi all the way to Turrialba ($45-$50).

Public transportation
Public transportation in Costa Rica is inexpensive, fast, and the buses go almost
everywhere. It may seem as if there are no fixed bus schedules (and sometimes that is
true!), but you can usually find common bus stops on specific streets or intersections.
There are two bus stations in Turrialba. One is at Avenida 4, Calle 2 and offers services
to San Jose and the other is at Avenida 2, Calle Central/2. The bus to San Jose should
cost around 500 Colons.
On some buses, you pay when you board, and on others you pay when you get off. To
get off the bus, walk towards the door and say, “Gracias!” until the bus comes to a
complete stop. Always watch your belongings on the bus and at bus stations.

At night, always take taxis.

Traveling in Costa Rica
It is never wise to travel alone. When you travel, be sure to notify your advisor or
colleagues of your plans incase of an emergency. Make sure you know where you are
going before you go and check with the US Embassy and your advisor for current safety
information. Guidebooks are excellent resources for traveling in and outside of Costa
Rica. Carry money in various places on your person; do not put it all in one place (i.e.
some in your money belt, some in your shoe, etc.). Always have your ID documents on
you as well (with photocopies in another location). Be wary of strangers and never
hitchhike. Be careful of the person next to you on the bus and always watch your
luggage.

Driving
The Study Abroad office discourages students from driving in foreign countries because
traffic laws and driving practices are unfamiliar and sometimes dangerous. Costa Rica is
no exception. At times traffic will seem chaotic and that drivers prefer to pass on blind
corners. If you do choose to drive, BE CAREFUL.

You can get a Costa Rican driver’s license when you arrive in the country or contact
your local AAA agent before departure to get an international driver’s license.

To get a driver’s license in Costa Rica do the following:


                                            15
   1. Take your US driver's license and passport
   2. Go to the Ministerio de Transporte in San Jos (it's next to MOP - Ministerio de
       Obras Publicas).
   3. There are copy shops across the street where you need to have your passport and
       both sides of your driver's license copied. Make sure they copy your personal
       information page, the date of your last entry, your visa (if you have it already)
       and the name change amendment if you have changed your name.
   4. Get a medical certificate (Certifcado Medico para Licencias para Conducir).
       There are several places across the street that will do an "exam". It should cost
       between ¢3000 and ¢5000 and takes about 5 minutes.
   5. Go into the Minesterio de Transportes and after checking in with the guard at
       the door, go to the back of the building and turn left. Look for the Jefetura
       which will be at the end of the hall on your right. You need to have the Jefe
       (Juan Carlos) look your papers over, register you in his book, and then sign your
       passport copy. This can take a long time if Juan Carlos is on a coffee break, at
       lunch, or on vacation. He is the only one that can give you authorization to get a
       license.
   6. Go to the blue chairs along the wall to wait for someone at Pantallas 1 or 2 (for
       people getting a license for the first time). They take your papers and enter you
       into the computer system.
   7. Pay ¢4000 at the bank and get a receipt.
   8. Follow the signs around the corner and get in the line to have your picture
       taken. They need your receipt and your medical certificate.
   9. You have to wait about 5 minutes for your license to print.
   10. YOU'RE FINISHED!!


                                        Money
You should arrive in Costa Rica with about $200 worth of Colons (Costa Rican
currency) for expenses that might come up before you can get to an ATM or bank. Most
banks in Moscow will be able to make the exchange.

Traveler’s checks are an acceptable way to carry money. Unfortunately, they charge
between 1-3% commission to change the checks. You might want to have some
traveler’s checks for emergencies. Another possibility is to use your ATM card or
credit card to take money out from your home bank via an ATM, which also charges a
fee (check with your bank). Look for ATMs in Costa Rica that show either the symbol
of your credit card or the network it is part of (PLUS or CIRRUS). Generally, ATM
machines are the best option because they are readily available and they give the best
exchange rate, but be sure that your ATM card has a four digit PIN because six digit
PINs are usually not accepted.

Before leaving for Costa Rica, it is important that your finances are taken care of in the
United States. Be sure that the University of Idaho Financial Aid office is using direct
deposit for your financial aid and that you are familiar with using the internet for your
banking needs.

*Don’t forget to check the expiration date of your cards before you leave the U.S.*

*You should not carry around large sums of money with you. It is easier to get
change if you use smaller bills and coins and you are less of a target for thieves.*

                                            16
                                 Communication
Telephone
Making international calls from Costa Rica can be quite expensive but there are several
options for reducing your costs.
       Operators in the USA:
       AT&T           0800-011-4114
       MCI            0800-012-2222
       Sprint         0800-013--0123
       Worldcom       0800-014-4444

Calling cards are a cheap way to make phone calls. You can contact your long distance
provider or search for one on the internet. If you do purchase a calling card, be certain
that you can make calls from Costa Rica to the United States. Some cards are country
specific and may not provide services from Costa Rica.

The cheapest way to make calls to the US is to use an instant message provider or web
service such as net2phone. You can often have free conversations between online
computers or make calls to a regular phone for about $0.05 per minute.

Post Offices
The Turrialba post office is open from 7:30 am- 6 pm, Monday to Friday and 7:30 am to
noon on Saturday (usually) and is located at Avenida 8, Calle Central. Stay to watch the
postal worker put the stamp on your letter or postcard and mail it!

The Costa Rican postal system is usually reliable, although sometimes slow. Make sure
if someone sends you a package from the U.S., not to put a value on it, as you will have
to pay a hefty import tax on it. You can receive mail on campus or at your apartment.

For campus mail delivery:
       Name
       Sede Central 7170
       Escuela Posgrado
       CATIE, Turrialba
       Costa Rica

For apartment delivery:
       Name
       Your apartment
       CATIE, Turrialba
       Costa Rica

                                 Costa Rican Life
Laundry
You will find that laundry services are very expensive in Costa Rica so you might want
to bring clothes that you can wash yourself and that are wrinkle free. Because of the wet
climate, clothes and fabric will often mildew so bring quick drying clothing and avoid
cotton.

Electricity

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Costa Rica’s electric system is the same as the USA’s. It is 110 volt AC with standard
plugs.

Meals
Lunch is the biggest meal of the day, while breakfast and dinner may just be hot
milk/coffee and bread or maybe more.

Greetings
Greetings are very important in Costa Rican culture. Make sure you greet the entire
family when you come home and when you leave. If visitors come over to your house
make a point of coming down to greet them, even if just for a few minutes. Even if you
meet people on the street for a few minutes you will greet them and then say goodbye to
the entire group.

When you leave the house make sure you tell your family where you are going and
when you will be back. Call them if there is a change in plans that affect your return
time.

Other cultural issues
Not only is there a language barrier when you live in Costa Rica but there are also many
subtle differences in the way people communicate. Costa Ricans are generally not as
direct as Americans and may be intimidated by directness.

There are many misconceptions concerning American women in Costa Rica because of
media. Costa Ricans sometimes perceive woman as having loose morals so be wary of
dates or rides if you are a woman.

It is important to realize that many of the subtle cultural differences take time to notice
and become aware of. Go slow and be patient while you are working in Costa Rica and
interact with as many Costa Ricans as possible to learn these subtleties. Remember, you
are a guest in their country and should respect their culture.

                                   Culture Shock
Culture shock is a real part of traveling abroad, and you can expect to experience it to a
certain degree in Costa Rica. Not everyone is affected the same way, but there is a
general outline that shows the stages that you may go through (quoted from The
Experiment in International Living Cross-Cultural Orientation Guide, 1984):

       The Honeymoon: Everything is new and exciting.

       Culture Shock: The excitement is gone. Differences begin to emerge;
       questions arise about how to relate to friends and to the host family.

       Surface Adjustment: It’s starting to make sense. You can communicate basic
       ideas. You are making some friends and feeling more comfortable.

       Unresolved Problems: Problems with friends or family may surface. You may
       wonder why you ever came here and be extremely homesick.

       I Feel at Home: You accept the new culture as just another way of living. You
       may not approve of it always, but you accept and understand differences.

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       Departure Concern: You begin to sense personal changes. You have mixed
       feelings about returning home.

 Remember: Living and doing research in a new culture involves a sense of adventure,
   a willingness to take risks, an openness to look at the world in new ways, and a
                responsibility to accept people on their own terms.

Skills you will need to adjust to a new culture:

                          LISTENING
                          OPENNESS
                          PATIENCE
                          EMPATHY
                         SENSITIVITY
                        OBSERVATION
                    WITHHOLDING JUDGMENT
                WILLINGNESS TO TRY NEW THINGS
REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

                             Costa Rican Holidays
                            (* indicates a national holiday)
New Year’s Day*                      January 1st
Fiesta de Santa Cruz                 mid-January
Fiesta de los Diablitos              February
                                     second Sunday of March
             ose-                    March 19th
Semana Santa*                        Thursday and Friday before Easter
                                     April 11th
Labor Day*                           May 1st
                                     June 29th
Fiesta de La Virgen del Mar          mid-July
                                     July 25th
Virgen de Los Angeles*               August 2nd
                                     August 15th
Independence Day*                    September 15th
                                     October 12th
                                     November 2nd
Immaculate Conception                December 8th
Christmas Day*                       December 25th
Last week of December                non-




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