August 2, 2021
Written by Public Relations & Communications Strategist Jill Wilson
As part of the long-term vision in Augustana’s strategic plan Viking Bold: The Journey to 2030, Augustana is excited to announce that the university will offer a semester-long study abroad program in Central America with a physical location in Costa Rica, set to open by the spring of 2023.
Starting a campus in Costa Rica would capitalize on existing interest as one of Augustana’s top semester-length study abroad destinations. The university is in the process of locating a physical location for classes and housing, staff, transportation and other logistics that come with laying down roots in another country.
“It’s a new challenge and a lot of work, but it’s something we’ve been dreaming about for a long time,” said Ben Iverson, Augustana alumnus and director of international programs & enrollment. “I think everybody in the International Programs Office (IPO) is just really excited to see this come together and see the first group of students go.”
To help support the initiative, Augustana secured a leadership gift from alumni Micah ‘04 and Jaclyn (Sutton) Aberson ‘05. The Abersons have had transformative study away experiences themselves, therefore, they are passionate about funding experiential learning opportunities like the ones that would take place in Costa Rica.
“I think that there’s great potential to do some pretty remarkable things in that country, both by way of education and training Augustana students, but also engaging the people of Costa Rica with an educational opportunity that’s different and apart from what they otherwise perhaps have access to,” said Micah, executive vice president for Sanford Health, who oversees a large part of the organization operationally.
Augustana has a long and rich history of study abroad. Before COVID-19 impacted the globe, 53% of AU’s 2019 graduates studied away — nearly five times the national average. As the world reopens, Augustana is positioning itself to come out stronger, with even more opportunities for students to study away. If all goes as planned in Academic Year 2021-22, the university will have up to 16 courses taught by around 30 faculty members with more than 225 students participating across the globe.
For more information about Augustana’s International Programs Office, visit augie.edu/international.