GVI’s Jalova base is a research station in the Tortuguero National Park, bordered by the Caribbean sea that’s home to one of the largest nesting colonies of Green Turtles in the world. The other three sides of the park are home to protected rain-forest. All transportation into the park is via canoe or motor boat along the canal and river systems. Students will spend their time surrounded by amazing scenery and wildlife in the canals, tropical rain-forest, and Caribbean beaches. The program will focus on gaining a better understanding of the local ecosystem in Jalova, Costa Rica, and preserving it’s biodiversity. Other elements that may be examined are water security, climate energy, and access to clean energy.
These projects range in content suitable for students studying academic disciplines such as:
- Biological & Environmental Sciences
- Marine Biology
Example project activities include:
- Learning species monitoring techniques
- Participating in turtle surveys
- Educational awareness workshops
- Marine species identification
- Invasive species investigation/removal
GVI afforded me the opportunity of gaining valuable practical experience relevant to the environmental management and impact assessment fields. Further to this it also provides the individual with a unique experience in a visually stunning and stimulating environment. I would recommend this to any individuals wishing to further themselves with regard to environmental science and would be ideally suited for recent graduates looking to develop their practical ability after the theory of University.
What's Not Included
This inter-disciplinary program introduces students to international service-learning and sustainable development in content and practice, in Jalova. Through lectures, discussion, research, service, and reflection (beginning two weeks prior to their departure and continuing two weeks after their return home), students in this program engage in meaningful, context-driven service-learning at home and abroad. Emphasis will be placed on relating long-term project goals with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and engaging in daily reflection surrounding the experience, which will be led by qualified group facilitators who are trained to enhance individual student development. The program curriculum will be tailored to your students’ academic needs as well as any faculty requirements.
A GVI service-learning program provides students with the opportunity to live and work within the “classroom” of their chosen field of study, and to develop professional capacities associated with intercultural competency, global citizenship, teamwork, problem-solving, and leadership. By participating in this program, students will be prepared to contribute to solutions for critical global issues related to sustainable development within a local community, and alongside an international team.
- 24-hour emergency phone
- 24-hour in-country support
- A dedicated course co-ordinator
- Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
- Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
- All necessary project equipment and materials
- All necessary project training by experienced staff
- Flight bookings service on request
- In-country transport costs
- Insurance on request
- Location orientation
- Long term experienced staff
- Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
- Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
- Welcome meeting
What's Not Included
- Additional drinks and gratuities
- Extra local excursions
- International and domestic airport taxes
- Medical and travel insurance
- Personal kit
- Police or background check (where necessary)
- Visa costs
The objectives for each GVI project are based on specific United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In Jalova, students will largely contribute to pre-established environmental monitoring and research initiatives by collecting and reporting critical data. Emphasis will also be placed on increasing awareness surrounding pertinent conservation issues and knowledge of the local environment.
Jalova's short, mid, and long-term objectives
All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualize their contribution to the UN SDGs.
Upon arrival to base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. You will learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.
Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.
Learn about the long-term objectives you will be contributing to in Jalova:
1. Increase scientific knowledge of Tortuguero National Park
2. Increase awareness of GVI Jalova projects and the ecological value of the Tortuguero National Park.
3. Build local capacity to support long-term conservation of biodiversity and sustainable community development in Costa Rica
4. Continue to minimize our environmental impact on TNP and raise awareness of environmental issues amongst volunteers and visitors
This program varies in duration, depending on project requirements as well as cultural expeditions or activities. The below outlines a one week in-country program; however, your in-country service can run for as many weeks as set by your academic curriculum, objectives, and requirements.
Two weeks prior to departure, students will be assigned readings and assignments. These assignments make sure they have a basic cultural understanding of Jalova and it’s local conservation-based issues; a foundational understanding of international service learning and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; and begin a dialogue surrounding global engagement. Materials will be chosen based on collaboration with the group’s educational leader to ensure the work fits within the group’s in-class curriculum.
Day 1- Arrival at San Jose Airport and Transfer to Base
On arrival, the group will be met at San Jose’s International Airport by a GVI representative or staff member. Participants will be transferred to their hostel accommodation and given time to settle in and rest. There will be an initial welcome presentation and introduction to the GVI staff, history and background of the projects, as well as a health and safety breakdown.
Day 2- Arrival in Tortuguero
Accompanied by a GVI staff member or representative, the group will journey by bus 3.5 hours and then 45 minutes by boat to base. The group will meet for an afternoon orientation and welcome session where they will discuss the week’s logistics, duties and responsibilities, and receive an introduction from the local partners. Materials and tools will also be prepped to maximize productivity for the following days. In the evening a reflection period will take place in which participants will debrief and review their initial reactions and observations on the experience and location.
Days 3-6- Daily Structure: Service, Education, and Reflection
The exact project will be based on the requirements of our local partners at the time. The group can expect to be involved in a variety of environmental awareness activities, discussions, and lectures. This may include bird walks, biodiversity surveys, species identification, and rain-forest ecology.
All service elements will be connected to a greater understanding of the cultural context in which the students are working. Assignments, in the form of lectures, readings, written response papers, journal entries, group presentations, and miscellaneous creative projects will be conducted daily to enhance student learning from their service involvement. Daily reflection sessions will act as the bridge that connects and helps to synthesize the many aspects of the experience.
Particular emphasis will be placed on the ways in which participants are working towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Students will critically examine their part in this process, by analyzing their contributions, challenges, and observations.
Day 7- A Fond Farewell
GVI field staff will transfer the team back to the airport and bid them a fond farewell! GVI will endeavor to keep the group informed of any updates there might be in the field and with particular reference to the projects students contributed to during their time in Costa Rica.
Students will continue to engage with active reflection and educational expansion two weeks after leaving Costa Rica, with emphasis placed on incorporating the international experience, and insights gained which are then applied to the students’ home context. Assignments will involve generating ideas to continue global engagement, connecting the experience to personal and career goals, and reflecting on the insights gained while in the field.