SOS Hermann Gmeiner International College

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					SOS Hermann Gmeiner International College

Young people from all over the world.
Great education. Deep friendships.

P. O. Box 678-6150
Santa Ana, Costa Rica

Tel: (+506) 282-5609
Fax: (+506) 282-1540

Transcending Obsolete Barriers,
Innovating New Solutions

More than 1.2 billion people today are between 15 and 25 years of age and nearly half
of the world‘s population is below the age of 20. An overwhelming majority of these
young people live in developing countries where many are especially vulnerable to
extreme poverty.

Many young people are being adversely impacted by globalisation. It is time for youth
all around the world to play a role in curbing the negative impacts of globalisation,
whilst maximizing its benefits. Young people are now asking that their voices be heard,
that their issues be addressed and that their roles be recognized. Young people want to
be accepted as partners for development, helping to chart a common course and
shaping the future for everyone.

The SOS Hermann Gmeiner International College Summer Programs are meant to
provide unique opportunities for young people of different nationalities, races, cultures
and religions to live and mix together, actively sharing one month of their summer
holidays. The programs seek to challenge the students‘ established views on race and
religion, but also to create an environment where they can learn to balance the values
of youthful exuberance and growing maturity. Perhaps most importantly, the programs
are designed to catalyze positive change in the students‘ home countries and
communities by providing them with the necessary knowledge, understanding,
conceptual and practical tools.

In short, we hope to produce a fresh generation with broad and active outlooks that
leap across boundaries and engage positively with life.

We invite you to learn more about the SOS Hermann Gmeiner International College
Summer Programs on the following pages and look forward to welcoming you in Costa
Rica in summer 2005.


―UN Habitat and the Global Partnership Initiative for Urban Youth in the Americas‖

Organized by SOS Hermann Gmeiner International College
Santa Ana, San Jose, Costa Rica
June 11 – July 10, 2005

―Youth and the UNESCO Decade for Education for Sustainable Development‖

Organized by SOS Hermann Gmeiner International College & Green Rescue Foundation
Giardini di Papagayo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
July 9 – August 7, 2005


In 2005, the Costa Rica-based SOS Hermann Gmeiner International College
(SOSHGIC) offers two extraordinary opportunities for young, talented and motivated
people aged 16-20 to spend one month in Costa Rica in an intellectually challenging
and stimulating international environment filled with fun and adventure.

From June 11 to July 10, 2005, the SOS Summer Academy (SOS-SA 2005) will be held
on the College‘s campus in Santa Ana, Costa Rica. The culmination of this program is a
Model United Nations Conference whose main purpose is to agree upon and adopt a UN
Habitat Youth Strategy for Enhanced Engagement, a Global Partnership Initiative for
Urban Youth in the Americas and subsequently develop a Plan of Action to be
implemented by June 2006. The Plan of Action will be composed of individual and
collective action plans for specific projects designed by SOS Summer Academy
participants. The participants will also prepare a wide range of innovative presentations
and artistic expressions to be presented at the UN Habitat‘s World Urban Forum 2006
(WUF 2006) to be held from June 19-23, 2006 in Vancouver, Canada. SOS-SA will
sponsor the participation in WUF 2006 of up to three SOS-SA participants.

From July 9 to August 7, SOSHGIC in cooperation with the Green Rescue Foundation
and the Athos Foundation will host the first Guanacaste Summer Academy (GSA 2005)
at Hotel Giardini di Papagayo located on Costa Rica‘s northern Pacific coast, also
referred to as the Gold Coast. The program seeks to contribute to the UNESCO Decade
for Education for Sustainable Development by inspiring and motivating young people
from all over the world and by providing them with the practical tools necessary to
design and subsequently implement a wide range of educational programs and
activities on sustainable development-related issues upon their return to their home
countries and local communities.

During both programs, students from all over the world will participate in classes and
workshops complemented by fieldtrips and excursions facilitated by scholars and
practitioners from a wide range of academic fields and disciplines. They will take part in
social, cultural and recreational activities, including excursions highlighting Costa Rica‘s
history and its cultural heritage. During the weekends, students can participate in
sightseeing, fun and adventure activities and explore Costa Rican national parks and
conservation areas, visit nearby volcanoes or simply relax on a beach either on the
Atlantic or the Pacific coast.

Both of our programs are firmly grounded in the belief that effective leadership
requires much more than knowledge. Confidence, information and skills, opportunities
for and recognition of positive youth action are all prerequisites for effective youth
leadership. As a result, we complement in-class teaching with experiential learning,
skills training and discussions on the themes of social, political, economic and
ecological justice.

We insist that the investments made both by the program organizers and the
participants generate positive change. Participants in both programs will therefore be
expected to use their newly acquired knowledge and skills to take action and contribute
to positive change upon their return home.

We invite you to learn more about the SOS Summer Academy (June 11 – July 10,
2005) and the Guanacaste Summer Academy (July 9 – August 6, 2005) by visiting our
website at where you can find out more about courses,
planned social and cultural activities, excursions, fieldtrips and an overview of weekend
tours and adventures. Revenues from these programs will benefit activities and
projects of SOS Children‘s Villages, Green Rescue Foundation and Athos Foundation, all
of which are legally registered nonprofit organizations in Costa Rica.

Please call (+506) 282-5609 or e-mail us at for further information.
We look forward to welcoming you in Costa Rica.

Jan Kozak, Director of Summer Programs
SOS Hermann Gmeiner International College


SOS Summer Academy
The first two weeks of the program are devoted to coursework designed to provide
participants with a strong understanding of a wide range of issues pertaining to
urbanization and social development. The third week consists of workshops focusing
specifically on UN programs, UN Habitat and urban development. During this week,
participants will also be preparing for the culmination of the program, the 1st SOS
Model United Nations Conference. Topics covered during the program include the

Week One
Introduction to Social Development
The Politics of International Aid
The Natural Environment and Development
The Role of Education in Development
Social and Community Development

Week Two
Program Design and Evaluation
Health Problems and Policies in Developing Countries
Civil, Political, Social and Economic Rights
Refugees, Internally Displaced and Forced Migration

Week Three
The United Nations, its History and Relevance
The Millennium Development Goals and Civil Society
Urban Development and UN Habitat
Governance: Who Rules and How Can We Govern?
Model United Nations: An Introduction

Week Four
SOS Model United Nations Conference

Program Objectives
This program aims to increase awareness among young people of a broad array of
issues pertaining to the promotion of socially and environmentally sustainable towns
and cities. Specifically, the program seeks to enhance young people‘s understanding of
the work of UN Habitat and to stimulate discussion and debate among young people
around the world on some of the most critical social development issues in the world
today, including youth unemployment, crime and youth empowerment.

Guanacaste Summer Academy
This four-week long course combines regular lectures with small group discussions,
workshops, activities, excursions and field trips. Throughout the course, groups of
students will work on specific case studies and will examine various actions and
strategies employed to address specific challenges to sustainable development. The
event will culminate in design and presentation of individual and collective action plans
for educational programs to be implemented upon the students‘ return home. Topics
covered during the program include the following:

Week One
Introduction to Sustainable Development
Culture and Religion for a Sustainable Future
Indigenous Knowledge and Sustainability

Week Two
Women and Sustainable Development
Population and Development

Week Three
Understanding World Hunger
Sustainable Agriculture

Week Four
Sustainable Tourism
Sustainable Communities

Program Objectives
This program aims to provide a comprehensive introduction to the interdisciplinary
study of sustainable development and effectively integrate it with experiential learning
programs so as to create conditions conducive to personal growth, development and
academic excellence. In so doing, this program seeks to contribute to the UNESCO
Decade for Education for Sustainable Development.

Fieldtrips and Excursions
Costa Rica is one of the oldest democracies in the Americas, its first election held in
1889. The few times tyranny tried to gain the upper hand it quickly failed. In 1949, the
modern constitution abolished the army and directed the country's resources to
education, social programs and economic development. Two generations have grown
without knowing war. This political stability has attracted many international
organizations to Costa Rica, such as the Inter American Court of Human Rights, the
International Development Bank and the Earth Council. Aside of international
organizations, Costa Rica prides itself with a vibrant civil society represented by a wide
range of non-governmental organizations, foundations and community associations.

As such, it provides an ideal learning environment where classroom experiences can be
connected to fieldtrips and excursions to organizational headquarters and thus
providing a unique opportunity for students to meet in person with leading scholars
and practitioners active in a wide range of academic disciplines and professional fields.

During the afternoons, students will have unique opportunities to meet with
government officials, representatives of multi-national companies, international
national and local organizations.

Skills-Sharing Workshops
The Skills-Sharing Workshops provide an opportunity for all students to share with
others their special skills and talents ranging from teaching songs and national dances
to organizing topic-specific presentations.

Capacity-Building Workshops
Recognizing that passion and idealism is often simply not enough for young people to
effectively contribute to positive change in their local communities, the Capacity-
Building Workshops seek to enhance students‘ skills and capacities in a broad range of
areas such as project design, planning, coordination and marketing, networking and
fundraising, public speaking and awareness-raising techniques.

Daily Program

Monday – Friday

0800    Breakfast
0900    Theme Presentations and Lectures
1000    Break
1030    Workshops, Group Discussions, Simulations
1200    Lunch
1400    Fieldtrips and Excursions
1800    Dinner
2000    Social and Cultural Events

Saturday – Sunday

0800    Breakfast
0900    Tours, Sports and Leisure Activities
1200    Lunch
1400    Tours, Sports and Leisure Activities
1800    Dinner
2000    Social and Cultural Events

Social and Cultural Events
The evening programs are reserved exclusively for social and cultural events such as
parties, concerts, student-organized cultural shows, open-mic and talent shows. These
will take place either directly on site or will be organized in cooperation with local and
national organizations, media groups and companies. During the weekends, students
can also visit upmarket shops and cafes, folkloric restaurants, agricultural fairs, rent
and ride bikes or horses, and a lot more.

Arts Program
Music, visual and performing arts are powerful means for positive social change.
Participants will therefore engage in collaborative efforts employing a wide range of
arts to communicate some of the most important messages and conclusions generated
in daily presentations, discussions and workshops.

Fun and Adventure
There are no mandatory activities during the weekends offering the students an
opportunity to select one of several optional programs including trips to nearby
volcanoes, to the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, hiking, rock climbing, white-water rafting,
canopy tours and a lot more. Please, see the Fun and Adventure section for detailed

We believe that diversity is a key prerequisite for the creation of an environment
conducive to intercultural exchange and an ongoing process of learning. For this
reason, our summer programs seek to attract students from a wide range of countries,
religious, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. A number of full scholarships will be
made available to support the participation of students from SOS Children‘s Villages
and students from Costa Rica. A number of partial scholarships will also be allocated
for students from overseas.


SOS Summer Academy

The SOS Summer Academy is based on the philosophy that as human beings, each of
us belongs to a greater, global community. From this philosophy stems the recognition
that the social development processes that aim to empower and bring about economic
and social improvement to the lives of our neighbors are essential to our own survival
and the survival of our planet. Through courses designed to encourage mutual learning
and teamwork, participants from diverse cultures and backgrounds will deepen their
understanding of the nature of poverty and inequality and will engage with the major
concepts, themes and debates within development studies.

Introduction to Social Development
This course is designed to provide an analytical framework for dealing with topics
which will be covered over the remainder of the program. Participants will develop their
understandings of the conceptual, structural and pragmatic issues in social
development from a global perspective. The course provides an opportunity to examine
prevailing social theories and ideologies as well as controversies in development
theory. Participants will explore global issues such as the colonial legacy, poverty,
population growth, and Third World debt as well as the national and international
policies which attempt to address them.
The Politics of International Aid
This course provides an introduction to the international aid agencies, their respective
structures, roles and relationships with one another. The first part of the course will
examine the impact of international economics and international politics on matters
relating to international aid and the workings of government and non-government aid
agencies at the national and international levels. During the second part of the course,
participants will relate this information to case studies which demonstrate the skills
necessary to negotiate within the international aid systems, secure funding, lobby and
advocate to redefine development assistance.

The Natural Environment and Development
Participants will examine the ethical questions behind development, asking the basic
yet problematic questions: What constitutes progress and development? If social and
economic progress is accompanied by the degradation of ecological systems, are these
gains jeopardized? Or have policies aimed at protecting the environment compromised
rapid economic development and as a result hindered the improvement of living
conditions? This course introduces the paradigm of sustainable development, which
seeks to establish a balance between the demands of economic development and the
limits imposed by environmental integrity.

The Role of Education in Development
Investment in education has long been seen as a key factor in development, linked to
economic growth, poverty reduction, and improvements in health. Yet persistent social
inequalities and economic crises along with the equity and quality problems associated
with decades of educational expansion and reform have caused questions to be raised
about this view. This course explores the fundamental relationships between education
and key issues such as growth, poverty, inequality, development and globalization.
Participants will examine different models of education adopted in developing
countries, such as the work of Paolo Friere in Brazil. They will consider appropriate
objectives, methods, communication skills and assessment for adult learners, taking
into account adaptations required in different socio-cultural contexts.

Social and Community Development
This course will provide participants with a sound understanding of the history of
community development and the changing nature of community work. It examines the
concept of culture in relation to community work in developing societies. Participants
will analyze varied ideological approaches to community work, with particular attention
to the effects these approaches might have on communities and the subsequent
development of alternative models of planning and service delivery.

Program Design and Evaluation
This course is designed to provide participants with an overview of the values,
knowledge and skills required to design and to evaluate social development programs
in cross-cultural contexts. Key themes include: cooperation in change, methods of
needs assessment, defining outcome objectives, theories of decision making, the
theory and practice of evaluation, and the ethics and uses of evaluation.

Health Problems/Policies in Developing Countries
Participants will survey major health issues, including: health systems currently in
place in developing countries, the prevention and control of AIDS and other infectious
diseases, reproductive health in selected regions, the design of health systems with
both public and private roles, health finance and equity, and health education.

Civil, Political, Social and Economic Rights
Participants will deepen their understanding of the role of human rights in social and
economic development, focusing not only on civil and political rights, but also on social
and economic rights. The course examines global agreements and treaties and how
they affect human rights, as well as the role of NGOs in the processes by which such
agreements can be developed, monitored and enforced.

Refugees, Internally Displaced and Forced Migration
This course provides participants with the opportunity to evaluate the factors that
cause forced migration, the root causes of these factors, and the impacts of forced
migration on the people affected. Participants will examine the international legal
framework as it applies to these groups and their needs and rights in the various
stages of flight, first asylum, secondary movement, repatriation, and resettlement. The
major impact of conflict as a push factor is also explored, and strategies for peace and
conflict resolution are addressed.

The United Nations, its History and Relevance
How does the current system of global governance work? What is its capacity to deal
with pressing global issues? What accounts for differential patterns of outcomes in
different issue areas? What are its prospects? This course is devoted to answering
those questions.

Specifically, this course will introduce students to the history, purposes, structure,
principal arms and specialized agencies of the United Nations. It will address the
following major themes: (1) law and politics of the UN Charter (including historical
legacies and the process of decolonization); (2) international peace and security
(including collective security, monitoring weapons of mass destruction, and
peacekeeping in interstate and civil conflicts); (3) humanitarian action (including
protection of individuals and groups, responses to disaster and genocide, and civil-
military coordination in peacebuilding); (4) development strategies (including wealth
distribution and environmental challenges); and (5) proposals for reform of the UN

The Millennium Development Goals and Civil Society
The Millennium Development Goals commit the international community to an
expanded vision of development, one that vigorously promotes human development as
the key to sustaining social and economic progress in all countries, and recognizes the
importance of creating a global partnership for development. The goals have been
commonly accepted as a framework for measuring development progress.

We have the opportunity in the coming decade to cut world poverty by half. Billions
more people could enjoy the fruits of the global economy. Tens of millions of lives can
be saved. The practical solutions exist. The political framework is established. And for
the first time, the cost is utterly affordable. Whatever one‘s motivation for attacking
the crisis of extreme poverty—human rights, religious values, security, fiscal prudence,
ideology—the solutions are the same. All that is needed is action

This course will review the progress (or lack thereof) in international efforts to attain
the Millennium Development Goals, evaluate the impact of the existence of MDGs on
developmental efforts around the world and will highlight the role of civil society
groups in advancing (or creating additional obstacles to) the MDG agenda.

Urban Development and UN Habitat
The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT, is the United
Nations agency for human settlements. It is mandated by the UN General Assembly to
promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of
providing adequate shelter for all. In 1978, when UN Habitat was established,
urbanization and its impacts such as urban poverty and urban crime were far less
significant than at the beginning of the 21st century.

From 1997 to 2002, by which time half of the world‘s population had become urban,
UN Habitat, guided by the Habitat Agenda and the Millennium Declaration of the United
Nations, underwent a major revitalization. The agency used its extensive experience to
identify emerging priorities for sustainable urban development. This course will review
the work of UN Habitat, provide background to its current strategic priorities and
evaluate current programs and initiative.

Governance: Who Rules and How Can We Govern?
There is a growing international consensus that the quality of urban governance is the
single most important factor for the eradication of poverty and for prosperous cities.
The course therefore aims to highlight the roles of local governments and their efforts
to actively engage other stakeholders to practice good urban governance. The course
focuses attention on the needs of the excluded urban poor. Recognizing that women
are one of the biggest levers for positive change in society, the course particularly
emphasizes the need to promote the involvement of women in decision-making at all

Model United Nations: An Introduction
This course will actively introduce the participants to the Model United Nations history,
procedures and themes. After reviewing the history and development of the MUN
movement, the participants will explore the structures of this simulation while actively
learning the skills needed by the various actors involved in the simulation. The
activities will cover topics on diplomacy, public speaking and persuasion. The last part
of the course will be dedicated to identifying further research resources and techniques
for an effective preparation for the conference.

Guanacaste Summer Academy

We explicitly acknowledge that effective leadership requires much more than
knowledge. Confidence, information and skills, opportunities for and recognition of
positive youth action are all prerequisite for effective youth leadership. As a result, we
complement in-class teaching with experiential ‗hands-on‘ learning, skills training and
informal discussions on the themes of social, political, economic and ecological justice.
In the end, however, knowledge will remain useless unless ideas for positive change it
generates are turned into reality. It is for this reason that the Guanacaste Summer
Academy focuses primarily on what will follow after the event concludes to ensure the
investment made both by the organizers and the participants generates the desired

Introduction to Sustainable Development
A key concept about our common future is the idea of 'sustainable development', which
originally made an appearance in the 1970's during the first modern upsurge of
interest in environmental issues. Though it received some attention, it did not really
enter the mainstream until the World Commission on Environment and Development
(the Brundtland Commission) of 1987 provided a working definition that has largely
been accepted ever since. The commonly accepted wording –―Development that meets
the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to
meet their own needs.‖ - is only one of over sixty other the definitions of the same

Even so, with the benefit of hindsight, it is possible to trace a line of conceptual
development from the Commission's work through the historic Rio Earth Summit of
1992. Though many felt the failings of the summit outweighed the achievements, there
is no denying the contribution to the current debate through Agenda 21, to say nothing
of the subsequent protocols and agreements on subjects as varied as global warming
and biodiversity.

Sustainable development is a dynamic concept with many dimensions and many
interpretations. Some argue that there is no need for one agreed definition of
sustainable development; instead, sustainable development should be seen as a
process of change that is heavily reliant upon local contexts, needs, and priorities. It is
built on three pillars - economic, social and environmental development-which must be
established at local, national, regional and global levels. This recognizes the complexity
and interrelationship of critical issues such as poverty, wasteful consumption,
environmental degradation, urban decay, population growth, gender inequality, health,
conflict and the violation of human rights. Clearly, while there is no one definition, the
global dimensions and impacts of the challenges facing the 21st Century require
extensive international co-operation, political commitment and stewardship, and
energy to move forward into a sustainable future.

This introductory course will provide students with a comprehensive overview of the
evolution of the concept beginning with the debates at the 1972 United Nations
Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm, the publication of Our Common
Future in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development, the 1992
United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, the
United Nations conferences of the 1990s. and ending with the 2002 World Summit on
Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.
Culture and Religion for a Sustainable Future
Culture shapes the way we see the world. It therefore has the capacity to bring about
the change of attitudes needed to ensure peace and sustainable development which,
we know, form the only possible way forward for life on planet Earth. Today, that goal
is still a long way off. A global crisis faces humanity at the dawn of the 21st century,
marked by increasing poverty in our asymmetrical world, environmental degradation
and short-sightedness in policy-making. Culture is a crucial key to solving this crisis.

The primary objective of this course is to enable students develop an understanding of
the relationship between culture, religion and sustainable living. Students will explore
the principles for sustainable living encouraged in a chosen religion and a case study.
Subsequently, they will analyze the relevance and applicability of principles of
sustainable living in their case study and reflect on the contribution of religious
education in education for a sustainable future.

Indigenous Knowledge and Sustainability
Sophisticated knowledge of the natural world is not confined to science. Human
societies all across the globe have developed rich sets of experiences and explanations
relating to the environments they live in. These 'other knowledge systems' are today
often referred to as traditional ecological knowledge or indigenous or local knowledge.
They encompass the sophisticated arrays of information, understandings and
interpretations that guide human societies around the globe in their innumerable
interactions with the natural milieu: in agriculture and animal husbandry; hunting,
fishing and gathering; struggles against disease and injury; naming and explanation of
natural phenomena; and strategies to cope with fluctuating environments.

The specific objectives of this course are to appreciate indigenous perspectives on
ways of living together and using resources sustainably; to appreciate the role of
indigenous knowledge and traditional ways of learning in maintaining the sustainability
of a community; and to understand the role of 'modern' education in undermining
indigenous knowledge and ways of teaching and learning.

Women and Sustainable Development
Development affects people in different parts of the world in different ways. It also
affects people differently, depending whether they are male or female. Being aware of
this, and taking it into account in development planning and action is known today as
practicing a 'gender perspective'.

Generally speaking, there have been a number of improvements to women‘s lives in
the past twenty years. For example, female life expectancy is increasing; more girls
are going to school; more women are in the paid workforce; and, many countries have
introduced laws to protect women‘s rights. However, the gender-divide remains. There
has been ―no breakthrough in women's participation in decision-making processes and
little progress in legislation in favor of women's rights to own land and other property,‖
according to Mr. Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nations.

This course explores women's experiences of development in different parts of the
world. It also explores ways in which women from a number of countries are working
to promote sustainable development in their communities.

Population and Development
The topic of Population and Development is linked to the controversial North-South
debate over the relative role of population numbers and resource consumption in
threatening global sustainability. For example, are many countries in the South over-
populated? Or are resource consumption rates in the North a key problem? The specific
objectives of this course are to recognize major trends and issues in global population
dynamics; clarify the importance of population issues in relation to sustainable
development; appreciate the significance of the 'new understanding' of the dynamic
population-environment-development interrelationship; and recognize the significance
of gender and human rights in population issues

Understanding World Hunger
In his World Food Day 2000 message, the Director of the United Nations Food and
Agricultural Organization said, ―The scourges of hunger and poverty are morally
unacceptable and have to be defeated. Hunger and chronic malnutrition diminish
human life. The lack of physical or economic access to safe, nutritious and healthy food
at all times leads to negative consequences for peoples and nations‖ (Source: Diouf, J.
(2000) World Food Day message). The focus of this course is on the concept of 'food
security' and strategies through which this may be attained. The specific objectives of
this course are to distinguish between the symptoms and the root causes of hunger
and population pressure on food resources; to better understand perspectives from the
South on issues related to population, hunger and food security.

Sustainable Agriculture
Over 800 million people in the world do not have sufficient food for a healthy and
active life. While much progress has been made towards food security in recent
decades, without further urgent and coordinated action, poverty, hunger and
malnutrition will continue to undermine the lives of hundreds of millions of people now
and in years to come.

The world's population reached 6 billion people in 1999 and is expected to reach 8.5
billion by 2025, when 83% of the world will be living in the South. However, our long-
term ability to meet growing demands for food often seems uncertain. Thus, one of our
greatest challenges is increasing food production in a sustainable manner so that
everyone can be adequately and nutritiously fed without over-exploiting the Earth's

This course introduces the main goals of sustainable agriculture and examines a range
of sustainable farming practices and case studies. As such, it develops an
understanding of how sustainable farming can both enhance food production and
ensure that natural resources are managed in the best way possible for long-term
sustainability. The specific objectives of this course are to understand the nature and
importance of sustainable agriculture; to understand ways in which different
agricultural practices can alter the environment either positively or negatively; and to
analyze examples of farming practices that are economically viable, environmentally
sound and socially responsible.

Sustainable Tourism
Tourism is one of the world's fastest growing industries and is a major source of
income for many countries. Being a people-oriented industry, tourism also provides
many jobs which have helped revitalize local economies. However, like other forms of
development, tourism can also cause its share of problems, such as social dislocation,
loss of cultural heritage, economic dependence and ecological degradation. Learning
about the impacts of tourism has led many people to seek more responsible holidays.
These include various forms of alternative or sustainable tourism such as: 'nature-
based tourism', 'ecotourism' and 'cultural tourism'. Sustainable tourism is becoming so
popular that some say that what we presently call 'alternative' will be the 'mainstream'
in a decade.

All tourism activities of whatever motivation - holidays, business travel, conferences,
adventure travel and ecotourism - need to be sustainable. Sustainable tourism is
defined as ―tourism that respects both local people and the traveler, cultural heritage
and the environment‖. It seeks to provide people with an exciting and educational
holiday that is also of benefit to the people of the host country.

This module explores the characteristics and objectives of sustainable tourism through
a series of case studies. It also helps identify ways in which sustainable tourism can be
introduced to students. The specific objectives of this course are to appreciate the
benefits and problems arising from various forms of tourism, especially in terms of
social equity and the environment; to develop a critical awareness of the ways in which
tourism can enhance the welfare of people and protect our natural and cultural
heritage; and to promote a personal commitment to forms of tourism that maximize
rather than detract from sustainable human development and environmental quality.

Sustainable Communities
The kind of change required by sustainability implicates each community, each
household, and each individual. Successful solutions to problems at this level of society
will need to be rooted in the cultural specificity of the town or region if the people are
to be supportive of and involved in such change. In the end, sustainable development
will be made at the local community level. All the other changes in favor of
sustainability - by business, by national governments and by international agencies -
help create the conditions that facilitate action for sustainable development at the local
level by individuals, families, schools, hospitals, workplaces and neighborhoods. As a
result, all over the world people are working together to build a sustainable future at
the local level. The focus of this module is on the actions being taken by local
governments and their citizens to make their communities sustainable. These actions
are the local community version of Agenda 21 and, thus, are called Local Agenda 21

The module provides examples of ways in which communities around the world are
addressing local problems such as poverty and loneliness, unemployment and
economic decline, pollution and traffic congestion. This focus on solutions helps
establish several principles for sustainable community building that can be integrated
into educational programmes. The specific objectives of this course are to appreciate
the scale of urbanization around the world and the opportunities and problems that this
brings; to identify characteristics of a sustainable community and principles of
sustainable community development; to use these characteristics and principles to
analyze case studies of sustainable community development around the world; and to
recognize the contributions of Local Agenda 21 Planning to sustainable community
development and local citizenship.


SOS Hermann Gmeiner International College and Green Rescue Foundation are
currently accepting applications for the SOS Summer Academy and the Guanacaste
Summer Academy programs.

Selection Process
There is no application deadline. Applications for admission and applications for
financial aid are reviewed on a rolling basis. Admitted applicants will be notified of the
Admissions Committee‘s decision via e-mail, fax or telephone within one to two weeks
of the receipt of their application. Some applicants may be placed on a Waiting List and
receive a final notification of the Admissions Committee decision by May 15, 2005 at
the latest.

SOS Hermann Gmeiner International College and Green Rescue Foundation recruit
from approximately 1,500 educational institutions in more than 120 countries. around
the world. Early application is therefore strongly encouraged as enrollment is limited to
100-150 of candidates aged 16-20 in each summer program. We expect to fill all
spaces by mid to late April 2005.

The College is not responsible for forms that are lost in transit. The Admissions
Committee looks for mature, academically talented students, who have demonstrated
prior commitment to community service. Background in one or more of the themes of
the SOS Summer Academy or Guanacaste Summer Academy is preferred but not
required. Equally, proficiency in English is strongly recommended.

Address questions about the program to Mr. Jan Kozak, Director of Hermann Gmeiner
International College Summer Programs,

SOS Summer Academy

Tuition and Fees

Application Fee*             US$ 50.00
Registration Fee**           US$ 600.00
Room, Board & Tuition***     US$ 2,600.00
TOTAL****                   US$ 3,250.00

Guanacaste Summer Academy

Tuition and Fees

Application Fee*            US$ 50.00
Registration Fee**          US$ 600.00
Room, Board & Tuition***    US$ 3,600.00

TOTAL****                   US$ 4,250.00

* The Application Fee is non-refundable.


** The participants are required to pay a non-refundable registration fee of US$
600.00 within two weeks of notification of selection or by June 1, 2005, whichever
comes first. For more information about payment options, see the Payment section.

*** Participants in the SOS-SA 2005 program will reside in double rooms in residences
on campus of SOS Hermann Gmeiner International College. Participants in the GSA
2005 program will reside in double or triple rooms in residential villas on the premises
of Hotel Giardini di Papagayo.

**** There is a 20% discount if the full amount is paid before March 30, 2005, 15%
discount if paid before April 15, 2005, 10 % discount if paid before April 30, 2005 and
a 5 % discount if paid before May 15, 2005. Aside of the non-refundable Registration
Fee of US$ 600.00, the full amount must be paid by June 1, 2005 at the latest.

There is a 50% cancellation fee if participation cancelled 60 days prior to the start of
the program (refund of 50% of total amount paid excl. the non-refundable Registration
Fee and 75% if 30 days prior to the start of the program (refund of 25% of total
amount paid excl. the non-refundable Registration Fee). No refunds will be made once
the program officially opens with the exception of cases of serious injury or illness,
which prevent a participant from full and meaningful participation in the program and
his/her condition necessitates immediate return home and hospitalization. In such
cases, US$ 50.00 will be refunded for each missed day of the program. All refunds will
be processed within two months of the program‘s conclusion. Refund transaction costs
such as wire transfer fees will be borne by the recipient.

The organizer reserves the right to cancel the program at any time in which case all
payments will be refunded in full.


A limited number of partial scholarships (up to 50%) are available to enable students
with a background of academic excellence and strong commitment to community
service to attend SOS Hermann Gmeiner International College Summer Programs.
Applicants requiring financial assistance should apply as early as possible as financial
award decisions are made at the same time as admissions decisions. Only students
from Costa Rica and from SOS Children‘s Villages throughout Latin America are eligible
for a small number of full scholarships.


To make a payment using your Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express credit
card, please, fill out the Payment Form and fax it to +506 282 1540. To verify payment
dates, amounts due or to request additional information, please, call +506 282 5609
extension 121 or 108 Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Central
American time.

Money Transfer
Banco Nacional de Costa Rica
Central Avenue, Street 4 and 6
San Jose, Costa Rica.

Beneficiary:             Fundacion Colegio Internacional SOS Hermann Gmeiner
Bank Account (CRC):      100-01-080-002970-5
Bank Account (USD):      100-02-060-600045-6
Swift Code:         BNCRCRSJ
Reference:               SOS-SA or GSA
Corresponding Bank:      City Bank (ABA: 021-000-089) / Chase Manhattan (ABA:

Mail a Check
Fundacion Colegio Internacional SOS Hermann Gmeiner
P. O. Box 678-6150
Santa Ana, Costa Rica

Online Payment Center
Please, visit and look for the Payment section for further
information. Payments can be made easily using your credit card directly through an
online portal of Banco Nacional de Costa Rica (National Bank of Costa Rica) using a
secure online payment form.

Accepted Students
Once you enter the Online Payment Center using your e-mail address as your login
name and the password you have received in your Letter of Acceptance, you will see a
detailed overview of payment options, amounts due and amounts of financial aid
awarded. You will also find information about payment deadlines and available
discounts. Once you click on the ―Pay the Registration Fee‖, ―Pay Room, Board, Tuition
and Program Fees‖ or ―Pay All Fees‖ button, you will be redirected to the website of
Banco Nacional de Costa Rica (Costa Rica National Bank), where you will be asked to
fill out and submit a secure encrypted online payment form. Once you complete your
payment, you will be redirected back to website and should
see a page confirming that your payment has been carried out successfully. Should you
have any questions about this payment method, please, do not hesitate to contact us
at or at +506 282 5609.


SOS Hermann Gmeiner International College

Founded in 1949, SOS Children‘s Villages International is a private, independent, non-
governmental and non-profit organization, which endeavors to give orphaned or
abandoned children a permanent home and a stable environment.

SOS Hermann Gmeiner International College in Santa Ana, Costa Rica, was founded in
2000 by SOS Children‘s Villages International as a premier residential international IB
school with the sole aim of providing a gateway to tertiary education for highly
motivated and talented students from SOS Children‘s Villages and from particularly
disadvantaged backgrounds throughout Latin America, and thus help bridge the
growing educational gap and socioeconomic inequalities that characterize much of
Latin America today. The college currently recruits students from Bolivia, Chile,
Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, México, Nicaragua,
Panama, Perú, Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

To learn more about SOS Children‘s Villages International, visit http://www.sos-
To learn more about SOS Hermann Gmeiner International College, visit

Green Rescue Foundation

Since 2000, the Green Rescue Foundation (Fundacion Rescate Verde) has sought to
promote sustainable human development in Costa Rica through the implementation of
activities and projects that advance social justice, creation of economic opportunities
and protect biodiversity as preconditions for peace and progress.

In accordance with our mission, the Green Rescue Foundation has developed the
Guanacaste Program for Sustainability. This program aims to help organize
communities in the Province of Guanacaste to improve health care and education,
conditions for business activities, political organization and environmental
conservation. The program supports sustainable development of the region and
provides means through which communities gain access to advice on implementation
of activities generating profits for and satisfaction about communal life.

Following a recent strategic review of the Green Rescue Foundation‘s programs, and
building upon the activities carried out under the umbrella of the Guanacaste Program
for Sustainability, the Green Rescue Foundation has recently decided to reorient its
programming towards three key strategic areas and focus primarily on current efforts
of the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) and the Regional Council of the
Guanacaste Conservation Area to advance the sustainable development agenda in the
Province of Guanacaste. Specifically, the foundation recognizes that there is a greater
need to research current obstacles and challenges to sustainable development in the
Province of Guanacaste. The absence of a comprehensive research program and thus
the absence of reliable data prevent effective participation of citizens and civil society
groups in regional decision-making on issues pertaining to environmental protection,
nature conservation and sustainable development.

Recognizing the role which education and research institutions can play in providing
access to critical information, increasing public awareness, enhancing civil society
participation and advancing the sustainable development agenda, the Green Rescue
Foundation established the Guanacaste Summer Academy.

The summer program designed and implemented in cooperation with Hermann
Gmeiner International College represents the first step of increasing national and
global awareness of contemporary challenges and obstacles to attaining sustainable
development in Guanacaste, nationally and globally. The summer program represents
an innovative approach to education, which inspires and motivates young people from
all over the world to come together, learn, share their experiences and return home
with knowledge and skills necessary for them to become agents of positive change.
Other activities of the institute include research and compilation of data on current
levels of poverty, literacy, employment and other social, economic and environmental
indicators. The institute also aims to promote participatory decision-making through
public awareness campaigns, conferences and educational programs.


From June 19-23, 2006, Canada will host the World Urban Forum (WUF III) in the city
of Vancouver, BC. An internationally renowned city on Canada's majestic Pacific coast,
Vancouver was also awarded a 2002 United Nations "Dubai International Award for
Best Practices to Improve the Living Environment". The 2006 Forum will mark the 30th
anniversary of Habitat I: the first major United Nations (UN) conference on human
settlements. Also held in Vancouver in 1976, this historic event helped bring
urbanization and its impacts to the top of the UN agenda, and led to the UN resolution
that created the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT.
The SOS Summer Academy will enhance young people‘s understanding of the work of
UN Habitat and stimulate discussion and debate among young people around the world
on some of the most critical social development issues in the world today, including
youth unemployment, crime and youth empowerment. It is hoped that the conference
will result in a number of tangible outcomes, such as case study presentations,
individual action plan presentations and a plan for the implementation of the Global
Partnership Initiative for Urban Youth, which can be presented at the World Urban
Forum 2006 in Vancouver, Canada. The organizers are currently working to secure
financial resources to enable up to three participants to travel to Canada and represent
the SOS Summer Academy at the World Urban Forum 2006.

For more information about UN Habitat, visit

For more information about the World Urban Forum 2006, visit


The World Summit on Sustainable Development recommended to the United Nations
General Assembly that ―it consider adopting a Decade of Education for Sustainable
Development starting in 2005‖ (para. 117d, Plan of Implementation). In December
2002, resolution 57/254 on the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable
Development beginning 1 January 2005 was adopted by consensus. The resolution had
been introduced by Japan and co-sponsored by 46 countries.

The United Nations General Assembly resolution designated UNESCO as the lead
agency for the promotion of the Decade and requested the Organization to develop a
draft international implementation scheme.

As the United Nations lead agency in education, UNESCO must play a key role in
setting quality standards in education for sustainable development. It needs to reorient
its own programmes to include the changes required to promote sustainable
development. Improving the quality of education and reorienting its goals to recognize
the importance of sustainable development must be one of UNESCO‘s and the world‘s
highest priorities.

To contribute to the UNESCO Decade for Education for Sustainable Development
(2005-2014), the Guanacaste Summer Academy seeks to bring together approximately
100 young people aged 16-20 from all over the world for one month of intensive
learning, fieldwork, exploration, social and cultural events, fun and entertainment.

For more information on the UNESCO Decade for Education for Sustainable
Development, visit



Costa Rica is situated in the center of the New World between two colossal continental
cones. Ever since it was discovered almost five hundred years ago by Christopher
Columbus the country has not ceased in its unflagging efforts to become a great nation
due to its vocation for peace and human brotherhood. Although it is small in size as
well as in population, it has maintained its freedom and sovereignty and has also built
a just and happy society. The concept of democracy is woven into the very being of the
tico (the nickname by which Costa Ricans are known); therefore it comes as no
surprise that Costa Rica should be the adopted country of a great many people, all of
whom are integrated as regards nationality, without any distinction of creed, race or
convictions. The death penalty was abolished a century ago by constitutional mandate.
The army was done away with fifty years ago in a spontaneous and voluntary way.
Primary education is free and compulsory, and health and education take up almost
half of the national budget. Law and order is maintained by the Civil Guard and the
District Guard. These two corps also protect institutions and their total number is
hardly 20 per cent of the number of teachers in the country. Costa Rica is the seat of
the UN University for Peace and also of the Inter American Court of Human Rights, a
fact which reaffirms the confidence placed in it by the international community vis-à-
vis the country‘s political and social stability. Every four years there are elections which
provide for complete freedom in the choosing of leaders, leaders who come from
democratic political parties and who are extremely modern in thinking. Complete
freedom of expression, together with the naturally privileged situation of the country,
provide the perfect backdrop for the life of a hospitable and open people.

Peace and Human Rights

Both the UN-mandated University for Peace and the Inter American Court of Human
Rights are located in Costa Rica. In both forums the high interests of the concord of
the free nations of the world converge. The first, as a world international organization,
is charged with the study of peace as a way of life and development for the human
species. The second is a forum for the expression of concern and a defence and
elucidation court in the man-society-state inter-relationship existing in the New World.
The truth is that the traditional atmosphere of peace and democracy as well as political
stability which Costa Rica enjoys is the ideal background for the free discussion of
ideas, which will direct man towards ever higher goals and convert this nation into a
focal point for those who, all over the world and throughout its history and in the
innermost depth of their beings, do not flag in their struggle to construct a more just
and happier society.

Forests and Parks

Just like everyone else, Costa Rica has suffered from de-forestation, but nevertheless it
still preserves some 15 per cent of its territory intact. This means some 8,000 km sq of
natural woods, of which 60 per cent have been declared National Parks and Reserves
and are under the care of the state.

It is extraordinary that such a small country should provide such a wealth of all kinds
of forests from the typical rainforest to the vegetation of the scrubland which is
particularly observable on the highest mountain of the country, the Cerro de Chirripó
with its 3,820 m standing above sea level. This mountain peak also possess moraine
lakes, carved out by ancient glaciers, and it is here too where during the summer
months there are considerable periods of cold which cover the whole area with a carpet
of ice.

There exists a proper infrastructure of communications and access in order to enjoy
the full of parks and reserves. Various public and private organizations are devoted to
the protection, conservation and study of this environment. There is a constant flow of
specialists who come to study certain species of butterflies and anurans as well as the
green tortoise, which has been provided with a protected sanctuary on the Atlantic
coast of the country. The admiration which the Costa Ricans feel for nature can be
seen from the fact that three of the country‘s national emblems are the ―Guanacaste‖
tree, the orchid known as ―Guaria Morada‖ and the song bird called ―Yigüirro‖.

Practically all the population centers of the country have one or several parks which
are normally located in the centre of the locality and standing on the sites of what was
once the colonial main square. The design and format of the parks is normally a
reflection of the tastes and creativeness of the inhabitants of each village or town
rather than a result of town planning, a fact which makes them something rather
special and a reason for pride. In the capital itself, these parks are rather conceived of
as being the ―lungs‖ of the city as well as fulfilling the function of peaceful recreation
centers with their leafy and (at times) venerable old trees, their small areas of
parkland and their flowers.

San Jose‘s Metropolitan Park of La Sabana lies on the same site as the former
international airport, which went by the same name. In addition to its groves of trees
and artificial lakes, the park contains several open spaces for sports and for open-air
entertainment and this has made it a favorite venue for the city dwellers on their days
off. In the city centre there are various parks, such as the National Park which, due to
the beauty of its design, its broad walks and leafy trees, is a worthy framework for the
national monument, that symbol of the unbending national will to remain free and
sovereign, ready to serve and defend the best interests of the homeland. Also lying in
the heart of San Jose are the Central, Morazán, España and La Merced parks.

The largest cities also have one or several parks, some of which are so beautiful that
they are well worth a visit from the native inhabitants and people from outside. At the
eastern end of the Intermountain Central Valley lies an artificial lake which supplies the
Cachi Hydroelectric Dam with energy. The sides of the lake have been reforested,
mainly with conifers and thus it has been transformed into a fine ―natural‖ park which
serves as a backdrop for the lakeside beauty spot of Charrarra. In this spot one may
enjoy walks through open or wooded land or else trips across the lake, or quite simply
be an onlooker of the boat and yacht activity taking place there.

A visit through the Valley of Ujarrás itself, where the lake lies, is to take an
unforgettable journey through the countryside of Costa Rica. Cahuita Park, created for
the protection and conservation of the only coral reef in the country, is a natural park
but is so accessible; it seems to have been purpose-built. The profusion of coconut
trees, the turquoise-blue crystal-clear waters, the white sands, all framed by the lush
tropical vegetation of the nearby foothills of the Talamanca Cordillera (the highest in
the country), make Cahuita with its fishermen‘s village an absolute must for nature-
lovers. This part is considered as the most characteristic of the tropical coast parks in
the world.


Cosmopolitan San José lies at an altitude of 3.770 feet above sea level. This Central
American city with nearly perfect climate, modern surroundings and warm, friendly
residents has lured many travelers to stay and call it home.

The Central Valley in which San José finds itself is the central nervous system of the
country. Government, finance and economic sectors all headquarters is sleek San José.

San José is home to nearly a third of Costa Rica 's population. The bustling streets can
attest to that figure in the early morning hours when everyone is heading to work.

The city offers a variety of sights for the visitor. Museums, the National Theater, and
elegant cathedral are waiting to be explored. Below the Plaza of Culture lies the
impressive Gold Museum, as well as the offices of ICT. The Plaza's museum complex
also houses a collection of contemporary art exhibits.

The Gold Museum houses an impressive collection of pre - Columbian gold objects
including jewelry, breast plates and even gold tweezers! The displays are as
informative as they are appealing. You will see how the indigenous worked their gold
using wax and solid casting methods. Try not to miss this wonderful museum!

When you want to visit an outdoor sight, head for the National Zoo which boasts some
of Costa Rica's native species as well as a few from far away lands. Or head for one of
the many tree - shaded parks found throughout the city. Take a stroll along the path or
take a few minutes rest on a beach.

Needless to say, there is a great variety of hotels and restaurants available for visitors
intent on staying a few days in the city. All offer typical Tico hospitality and
comfortable lodging. From San José , day trips can be taken up two semi - active
volcanoes, where roads climb to the very brink of the craters! Irazú Volcano, just 35
miles from the capital, towers eight thousand feet above the Central Valley.


A closer inspection of Costa Rica‘s human development indicators reveals the relative
underdevelopment and higher incidence of poverty in the province of Guanacaste. With
a population of 250,000 and area of 10,140 sq km, Guanacaste is the largest and the
least populated province of Costa Rica. As a result, many communities throughout
Guanacaste continue to be effectively isolated from Costa Rica‘s economic centers and
denied access to important public services such as schools and health centers. These
circumstances further reinforce unemployment, social disintegration and migratory
tendencies towards urban areas. This in turn adversely affects public security
particularly in Liberia but also in the San Jose metropolitan area.

Perhaps with the exception of the province's capital of Liberia , opportunities for
development in Guanacaste are largely unexplored and unexploited. The province's
nine national parks and refuges contain a world of wonders, from caverns and geysers
to nesting turtles combined with tropical rain forest beaches. In 1999, the
Conservation Area Guanacaste was added to UNESCO's World Heritage List for its
important natural habitats and biological diversity, including the best dry forest
habitats from Central America to northern Mexico and key habitats for endangered or
rare plant and animal species. The site also demonstrates significant ecological
processes in both its terrestrial and marine-coastal environments. A rolling savannah of
hot dry plains and grasslands with large cattle ranches, this province has the potential
to become the most diverse and attractive area not only for tourist enjoyment, but also
for a broad array of economic activities.


SOS Hermann Gmeiner International College

SOS Summer Academy 2005 will be held on the campus of SOS Hermann Gmeiner
International College located in Santa Ana, in the province of San José. Its expansive
green areas and spacious facilities create an excellent learning environment as well as
a place where students can relax and enjoy their spare time.

The residences are located within expansive green areas and thus create an excellent
living environment for our students. There are eight halls that can facilitate up to 192

―Chef‖ Carlos Azuola and other talented people work here. It is a comfortable place,
where students and teachers can enjoy delicious meals.

Currently, there are 18 classrooms. Each classroom has a storage room where
documents, books, maps and other materials are kept. One advantage of our
classrooms is that they are well-lit by natural light and thus we rarely need to use
artificial lighting.

The Library is open Monday to Friday, 8 am - 9 pm, and Saturday from 7 am - 12.30
pm. It is equipped with books, magazines, CDs, newspapers, videos, computers and
more. Here our students can find audiovisual materials that they use to prepare
classroom presentations.

The amphitheater houses dance presentations, theater performances, and celebrations
of civic holidays of all the nations represented by our students. Additional activities
may include debates and official presentations of visiting dignitaries.

We have two basketball courts and one for volleyball, as well as a soccer field. Our
students participate actively in national championships.

Hotel Giardini di Papagayo

Guanacaste Summer Academy 2005 will be hosted by the four-star Hotel Giardini di
Papagayo located on the Northwest Pacific coast of Costa Rica, in an area commonly
referred to as Costa Rica‘s Gold Coast. The majority of the hotel rooms have incredible
ocean and sunset views as they are on gentle sloping hillsides on the shores of Culebra
Bay, with direct frontage and access to Panama Beach.
Attention to detail is the overwhelming characteristic that instantly comes to mind
when one visits Giardini di Papagayo Resort. Each villa is surrounded by lush green
gardens that utilize the local flora and fauna. The common area walkways are nicely
enhanced with artistic tile work. Local artisan statues are interspersed along the
walkways, as are additional gardens.

The night lighting of the gardens and walkways further exudes the incredible beauty of
the local flora and fauna while permeating the ever-present atmosphere of tranquility
and peace.

The Location
Giardini di Papagayo is located directly off Playa Panama, in the Gulf of Papagayo,
Guanacaste. Playa Panama is just thirty minutes away from the Daniel Oduber
International Airport located just outside of Liberia. Charter flights offer direct service
from cities such as Toronto, Montreal, Minneapolis, Chicago, Boston, Washington,
Atlanta, Houston, Miami, Madrid, Milan, Helsinki and many others. Both the American
and Canadian charter companies are now flying into the Liberia airport year round. The
airport is expected to have international service from the scheduled airlines within the
next few years.

Playa Panama is a five-minute drive from Playa Hermosa and another five minutes
from Playas del Coco, a small beach town that has a number of bars, restaurants,
stores and services. The capital of Guanacaste province is Liberia and it is about a half-
hour drive away from Giardini and has additional restaurants, stores and services.

The Beach
Giardini di Papagayo is ideally located at the northern end of Panama Beach making it
a very private and secluded beach for swimming, tanning or simply exploring at your
leisure. Playa Panama is arguably one of the most beautiful beaches in all of
Guanacaste. It is over a mile long and about 50 yards wide at mid-tide. It is a sandy
beach with no rock. Playa Panama is a great swimming beach as the waves are quite
small and there are no rip tides or harmful currents. Playa Panama is an extremely
quiet little beach area and the local residents here consider it their own private beach.
Most of the year it is essentially a private beach and even during the holiday season it
remains a quiet beach area making it perfect for leisurely walks, relaxing swims and
undisturbed tanning. Playa Panama offers Giardini guests a special place to go for a
relaxing swim, to take romantic peaceful walks, or simply just to sit and watch the
amazing sunsets. There is no doubt that the beauty and tranquility of Playa Panama
captivates our guests and is an important ingredient for the cherished memories they
take home with them.

The Hotel
One of the aspects that makes a guests stay at Giardini di Papagayo is that there is no
large hotel on the property. Instead there are twenty individual villas that have been
architecturally designed to offer four independent and private hotel rooms. Students
will reside in double or triple rooms with at least one staff member assigned to each

Pool Area
The free form pool is large with an abundance of lounges for tanning and palm trees to
provide shade for those that prefer to limit their tanning but wish to enjoy the pool
area. The pool is of a unique design, and is located just a short walk from the beach
and offers beach and ocean views. Daily activities are promoted and include pool
exercise class, volley ball, beach walks and other activities.

The Little Extras ($)
Horseback Riding · Spa Services · Scuba Diving · Deep Sea Fishing · Canopy Tour · Jet-
Skiing · Water-Skiing · Day and Sunset Sailing · Tour Desk · Car Rental · Laundry
Services · Medical Services

Local Amenities
For those that may wish to golf, Giardini is located approximately a one hour drive
away from a Robert Trent Jones Jr.. signature course ―The Lion's Claw‖ as well as a
Mike Young and a Ron Garl course.

Land Tours
Our guests are able to take advantage of the many exciting and unique tours that are
offered with I close proximity to our hotel. For our guests convenience a tour desk is
located in our lobby. Additionally, we offer private professionally guided private tours.
Descriptions of the tours are available in the Tours Section.

Scuba Diving
Costa Rica has become one of the top eco-tourism destinations in the world due to its
incredible biodiversity. It also offers incredible diving and the northwest Pacific coast is
the hot spot for diving in Costa Rica . In recognizing the desire of many of our guests
to want to explore the underwater world Giardini di Papagayo has a Resort Divers shop
on site which offers all levels of dives. Specific information for Scuba Diving is in the
Scuba Diving Section.

Deep Sea Fishing
Costa Rica is with out question one of the top three deep sea fishing locations the
entire world. A multitude of IGFA records have been caught Costa Rican waters. Deep
sea fishing is can be booked directly with us on site. Specific information for Deep Sea
or coastal fishing is available in the Fishing Section.



What are the key eligibility requirements for SOSHGIC Summer Programs?
All students aged 16 to 20 are eligible to apply. English proficiency is strongly
recommended. Application Form, Recommendation Form, Rules and Regulations Form
are required. Financial Aid Form is optional.

How many recommendations do I need to submit?
All students are required to submit at least one recommendation from a teacher,
counselor or school director. Additional recommendations are encouraged.

Is financial assistance available?
Financial assistance is available but limited. Students requesting financial assistance
must do so upon the submission of their formal application to the selected program.
Since decisions regarding admission and financial aid are made simultaneously and on
a rolling basis, it is strongly recommended that students requesting financial assistance
apply as early as possible.

Can I apply to and potentially attend both of the SOSHGIC Summer Programs?
Yes, it is possible to apply to both programs as the selection processes are conducted

Is there an application deadline?
There is no application deadline. Admissions and financial assistance decisions are
made on a rolling basis. Early applications are therefore encouraged as number of
spaces is limited to 100-150.

Is there a possibility that the US$ 50 application fee could be waived for
students requesting financial assistance?
It is not possible to waive the application fee. However, admitted students receiving
financial assistance will see this fee refunded upon their arrival to Costa Rica.

When will I find out whether or not I have been admitted?
The Admissions Committee will meet regularly to ensure that all applicants can be
informed via e-mail, telephone or fax, within one to two weeks of the receipt of their

What happens once I receive a notification of admission?
All admitted students must confirm their participation within two weeks of the receipt
of the notification of admission and pay the US$ 600.00 non-refundable registration

What are the payment options?
You may choose to make the entire payment in full at the time of registration or pay
only the Registration Fee first and the remaining amount later on. Please, take note of
the discounts available depending on the date of payment completion. Payments can
be made via the college's secure Online Payment Center, through a wire transfer, a
check or via telephone/fax by using your credit card.

What are the payment deadlines?
The non-refundable registration fee of US$ 600.00 must be paid at the time of
registration and no later than two weeks within the receipt of notification of admission.
The total amount must be paid no later than June 1, 2005. There is a 20% discount if
the full amount is paid before March 30, 2005, 15% discount if paid before April 15,
2005, 10 % discount if paid before April 30, 2005 and a 5 % discount if paid before
May 15, 2005. Aside of the non-refundable Registration Fee of US$ 600.00, the full
amount must be paid by June 1, 2005 at the latest.

What is your Cancellation and Refund Policy?
There is a 50% cancellation fee if participation cancelled 60 days prior to the start of
the program (refund of 50% of total amount paid excl. the non-refundable Registration
Fee) and 75% if 30 days prior to the start of the program (refund of 25% of total
amount paid excl. the non-refundable Registration Fee). No refunds will be made once
the program officially opens with the exception of cases of serious injury or illness,
which prevent a participant from full and meaningful participation in the program and
his/her condition necessitates immediate return home and hospitalization. In such
cases, US$ 50.00 will be refunded for each missed day of the program. All refunds will
be processed within two months of the program‘s conclusion. Refund transaction costs
such as wire transfer fees will be borne by the recipient. The organizer reserves the
right to cancel the program at any time in which case all payments will be refunded in


Will there be anyone to meet me at the airport?
All students will be met at the airport and subsequently transported by the college
shuttle to the campus.

Where will I be accommodated?
Participants in the SOS-SA 2005 program will reside in double rooms in residences on
campus of SOS Hermann Gmeiner International College. Participants in the GSA 2005
program will reside in double or triple rooms in residential villas on the premises of
Hotel Giardini di Papagayo.

Who will be my roommate?
The organizers will work to ensure that students are matched with a roommate from
another country.

What is the food like?
The organizers will assure that two meal options are available for lunch and dinner,
including a vegetarian option. Students on special diet or food requirements should
indicate this in their application.

Is there a curfew?
Students wishing to leave the program venue during their free time must inform one of
the program staff members. All students are required to be on campus by 10 p.m.
Students who are 18 years and older may solicit permission from the Director to stay
out longer on Fridays and Saturdays.

What should I bring with me?
Pants, Shorts, T-shirts, Hiking Shoes, Socks, Bathing suit, Sandals, Waterproof
sunscreen, Sunglasses, Travel Dictionary, Light-weight hat, Day Pack, Light rain jacket,
Flashlight, Insect Repellent, Umbrella, Casual Attire for evenings, Binoculars, Camera
and film.

National dress and/or Formal Dress for Formal Occasions, Photos from your country,
your favorite CDs, Postcards and Posters from your country, your National Flag, your
Laptop, Musical Instruments, a Set of School/College Stationery (notebooks, pens,
pencils, color markers).


Where is Costa Rica located?
Costa Rica is one of the several small nations that together comprise the isthmus of
Central America. The country's borders are defined by Nicaragua to the North and
Panama to the South. The converging land and water makes the region a great
bottleneck, which is rich in ecological diversity.

What is the climate like in Costa Rica?
Average annual temperature is approximately 27ºC/80ºF.

In which time zone is Costa Rica?
GMT / UTC minus 6 hours

What languages are spoken in Costa Rica?
The official language in Costa Rica is Spanish (97% of the population); although there
are other native languages used mostly within the indigenous reserves. Many
businesses, in and around San Jose, and resorts throughout the country have
employees who also speak English.

What languages are used during the summer programs?
Almost exclusively, English will be the official language used during the summer
programs. There may be a few exceptions where speakers will present in Spanish in
which case simultaneous interpretation will be provided.

What is the name of Costa Rican currency and what is the exchange rate to US
The Colon (¢1.00) is the national currency of Costa Rica. The exchange rate with the
US dollar can vary from day to day, but in early January 2005, it was ¢500 colones to
the dollar.

Can I use my credit card in Costa Rica?
Most international credit cards are accepted throughout the country: Visa / Master
Card / American Express / Diners Club. Automated Teller Machines (ATM‘s) can be
easily found in most populated areas of Costa Rica.

What are the tipping customs in Costa Rica?
Most restaurants include a 10% service charge on the bill. Taxi drivers generally do not
receive tips. If you are satisfied with the service you received, hotel maids, tour
guides and drivers would appreciate a tip.

Is there a departure tax to be paid upon leaving the country?
There is a departure tax imposed by the Costa Rican government of approximately US$

Do I need visa to enter Costa Rica?
Citizens from Western European and EEC countries, the United States or Canada only
need a valid passport to enter the country. The only exception is Greek citizens. All
are allowed to stay for up to 90 days. If you are from any other region, please, check
with the nearest Costa Rican consulate or consult the following website:

If you require a tourist visa, please, contact us so that we can provide you with
invitation letters and further assistance.

There are no mandatory activities during the weekends offering the students an
opportunity to select one of several optional programs including trips to nearby
volcanoes, to the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, hiking, rock climbing, white-water rafting,
canopy tours and a lot more. The organizers will arrange a number of trips, which will
be covered by the Tuition and Program Fees. The description of these tours will be
made available online by May 15, 2005.