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New Study Abroad Programs in Costa Rica, Ecuador and Ireland 'Spring' to Life

UAlbany students at the sacred Peguche Waterfall near Otavalo in Ecuador in 2015.

ALBANY, N.Y. (January 26, 2016) — How about a break from the standard Spring Break? Take time to listen to native music. Feed livestock. Pony trek up mountains. Protect wildlife along a rainforest. Work with children in an orphanage. And celebrate St. Patrick’s Day where St. Patrick actually spent his days.

UAlbany offers more than 600 opportunities in over 50 countries to live out invaluable experiences, and this year for the first time such experiences are available to students in the “Alternative Spring Break” programs being offered in Costa Rica, Ecuador and Ireland through the Center for International Education and Global Strategy.

New programs are also being offered this summer in Madrid, Spain, Malaysia, and Dublin, Ireland. You can learn more about these programs at UAlbany’s Study Abroad Fair on Wednesday, February 3, from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. in the Lecture Center Hallways.

2016 Alternate Spring Break Programs

In conjunction with the Department of Residential Life’s Leaders in Service program, up to 20 undergraduate students will spend March 12 to March 20 in La Fortuna, Costa Rica, a rural city located just four miles from the Arenal Volcano and 75 miles from the capital, San José.

Students will work four days alongside the bilingual staff members of an organization dedicated to wildlife protection, environmental conservation, and fostering positive cultural exchanges along the edge a rainforest. The rest of the week will be spent getting to know, through education and games, the children of the San Bosco Orphanage. Staying with “tico” families the whole time will acclimate students to the life and culture.

The break in Ecuador, March 12 – 19, gives up to 25 students the opportunity to volunteer with rural and indigenous communities in the Ecuadorian Andes, learning about sustainable agriculture, agro-ecology and traditional handicrafts, and evaluating the impact of the flower export industry on local economies and environments.

The students will also have opportunities to explore the world-famous historic areas of Ecuador’s capital, Quito, as well as witness the breathtaking views of deep valleys, canyons, and volcanic mountains. The Ecuadorian program’s bilingual staff ensures that all students, whatever their level of Spanish, will learn a lot.

The Alternative Spring Break in Ireland, March 12-20, is built around the celebration and understanding of Saint Patrick’s Day, Irish independence, culture and national identity, and the history and context of the Easter Rising — the armed insurrection by Irish republicans to end British rule in Ireland during Easter Week of 1916.

Students will walk the picturesque and historic city of Dublin, visit key sites and museums in and around the city, and meet with some local historians who know all the dramatic and colorful histories. And they will be there during St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, as well as the Centenary commemoration of the Easter Rising.

Application deadline to International Education for the Ireland break is Monday, Feb. 1, and Monday, Feb. 8, for Costa Rica and Ecuador. Visit the Alternate Spring Break site for more program information, including requirements and costs.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.