UCA Occupational Therapy in Costa Rica


Program Description

Through this international education abroad experience, students will learn how well-being, health, and longevity stems from lifestyle and occupational patterns made along the life course. The Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica was selected as the destination because it is one of five areas designated as a “Blue Zone”, a place where people reach age 100 at rates up to 10 times greater than in the United States. Using lifestyle dimensions as a guide, students will explore contributing occupational factors that promote longevity and “pura vida” (the pure life). Students will acquire unique insight regarding the Nicoyan lifestyle through hands-on activities, tours, observation and dialogue with local residents, health care professionals, and researchers who promote the peninsula’s healthy/happy lifestyle.

What it’s like:

UCA student, Andree, shares about her experience learning about life and occupational therapy abroad.

Course Offerings

Brittany Saviers, PhD, OTR/L
Academic Fieldwork Coordinator and Clinical Instructor II, Department of Occupational Therapy

    • OTHY 6112 Level I Fieldwork: Analysis of Human Occupational Performance


    Important Dates

    Tentative Travel Dates:  TBA

    Health and Safety Meeting: TBA
    Students must attend one health and safety meeting in the spring semester.
    Application Deadline: 
    Students are required to attend one health and safety meeting in the spring semester.

    Faculty Leaders


    Brittany Saviers

    Prof. Brittany Saviers is the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator for the UCA Department of Occupational Therapy.  Mrs. Saviers’ expertise is in pediatrics and the lifelong value of play and creativity. Understanding the importance of fieldwork to the occupational therapy curriculum, Mrs. Saviers is excited for the opportunity for students to develop a greater cultural awareness and appreciation through this international experience that is necessary when working as an occupational therapy practitioner in diverse settings with diverse client groups. All faculty leaders of this international experience look forward to learning with the students about the persons, culture, environment, and occupations that contribute to the longevity of the people of the Costa Rican Blue Zone!

    Deborah Gangluff, ScD, OTR/L


    Deborah Gangluff, ScD, OTR/L

    Assistant Professor


    Doyne 308C

    (501) 450-3334







    Program Cost

    Program Cost: TBA. Email studyabroad@uca.edu to request past budgets for reference.

    In addition to the program cost associated with the trip, each student must pay Education Abroad Tuition. For reference, 1 credit hour amounts to $300 in Education Abroad Tuition. A cost calculator has been included here if you need any assistance in finding your total cost.

    For information about international insurance coverage: https://uca.edu/globalstudy/health-and-safety/

    Learn Spanish

    Practice some Spanish before your trip with our Basic Spanish Translations cheat sheet. Also, check out Mango Languages, a language learning resource free for UCA students.