In cooperation with GVI, an international volunteer organization, Ohio State STEP students may participate in service projects with a focus on Childcare and Community Development, Sea Turtle Conservation,Teaching and Community Development or Women's Empowerment in Costa Rica. Volunteer placements range from two to 12 weeks in length and participants design their own program dates within this time frame. Please refer to the volunteer site link listed above and click on the “dates & costs” tab for information on possible start dates and program costs.
View a testimonial video from a former Ohio State STEP student.
PLEASE NOTE: While this experience is only available to STEP students, this is not a group program. Individual applicants work with the program provider to select their preferred placement and experience dates. There is no guarantee there will be other STEP students on-site during your particular dates of participation.
APPLICATION PROCESS: Students are required to follow the application steps in order as they are outlined under the "Eligibility" tab. Students must first apply via Ohio State Education Abroad by the application deadline and be approved before continuing the application process with the provider.
Volunteers working on projects related to childcare, community development, and teaching will travel to Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast to live and work in Quepos, a short bus ride from the famous Manuel Antonio National Park and beach, where GVI works on an extra-curricular program focusing on childhood development, life skills, and conservation education.
Sea turtle conservation volunteers travel to Costa Rica's Tortuguero National Park to assist with the monitoring of endangered green turtles, critically endangered hawksbill and leatherback turtle species. This work contributes to the long-term conservation of these species while developing research skills and gaining an understanding of the region's rain forest and it's ecosystem
Volunteers engaging in the Childcare as well as Teaching and Community Development programs will reside in a small but comfortable volunteer house in the centre of the typically Costa Rican town of Quepo with other GVI volunteers. The task of cooking and cleaning is shared among all volunteers and as meals are prepared and taken as a group.
Sea Turtle Conservation participants live in a basic and remote setting in order to study and track these turtles in their natural habitat . The base is a one hour boat journey from the nearest small shops, phones and internet facilities. The GVI base is small but comfortable, with enough space for people to relax together or in private.
Education Abroad Coordinator
Courses and Credit
This is not a credit-bearing experience.
In order to be eligible to apply for this program, students must be in STEP, be in good academic standing with the university, and meet OIA's General Eligibility Requirements and Conditions for Participation. All students will also be required to participate in on-campus pre-departure orientations organized by the Office of International Affairs.
1. Complete the OIA Education Abroad Application: start at the "Apply Now" at the bottom or top of this page.
2. Eligible applicants will be prompted by OIA to continue the application process with the service-learning program provider. Students should only apply to the provider after being instructed to do so by OIA.
3. The service-learning program provider will advise students on their application requirements.
4. Students approved by the provider will be formally accepted to the program by OIA.
Passports are required for every Ohio State education abroad program. For many destinations, passport information is required to apply for an entry visa early as 6 months prior to departure. For information about apply for a passport, go to travel.state.gov.
Students will pay the GVI program fee directly to GVI according to their payment schedule plus an international insurance fee to Ohio State. Program fees vary by project and placement length. Please see the project-specific links in the "program description" section.
IMPORTANT: Ohio State does not make payments to the program provider on behalf of students, nor are funds transferred between the two institutions. Students are responsible for making payment directly to the provider.
The release of STEP funds cannot be changed to accommodate the billing cycle of a particular program provider. Students who rely on STEP funds in order to make payments to the provider should work directly with the provider early on to determine if a portion of their payment may be deferred based upon expected release of university funds. Students may be expected to make payments months prior to the release of STEP funds and should plan accordingly.
If a students withdraw or become ineligible any time 11 days after the acceptance notification, they will be held responsible for a cancellation fee. Please refer to OIA's Cancellation Policy.
Information session times and dates are TBD.
U.S. Department of State: travel.state.gov (travel advisories/country-specific safety information)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: cdc.gov/travel (pre-travel health guidance)
Ohio State reserves the right to change without notice any statement contained herein, concerning but not limited to rules, policies, tuition, fees, curricula and courses. In the event of a change to an existing U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory, CDC Travel Health Notice or other risk designated criteria, the Office of International Affairs reserves the right to cancel any program prior to departure or while in progress. Discrimination against any individual based upon protected status, which is defined as age, ancestry, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, HIV/AIDS status, military status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status is prohibited.
Please review this information about the Zika Virus and other pre-travel health considerations.