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Colorado State University Global Challenge Semester 

Embark on a Pan-American exploration of identity, expression, and our sustainable future during a journey through Colorado, Costa Rica, Panama, and Mexico. You’ll explore prominent issues alongside professors from Colorado State University (CSU) and the United Nation’s University for Peace while learning from local communities, nonprofits, and businesses. After the program, continue on to CSU with the opportunity to join CSU Honors Program, or take your transferable college credit wherever your academic journey takes you next.


Aug. 29, 2024 – Jan. 24, 2025

Jan. 29, 2025 – Apr. 24, 2025

Areas of study

Your semester starts in the CSU Mountain Campus, where you will learn more about your own strengths and values in the Craft Your Story course and build your toolkit for understanding the other cultures you’ll be experiencing.

Travel to the EF Campus on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica to take survival Spanish lessons and continue your courses: Global Studies and Thinking Toward a Thriving Planet.

Explore the vibrant world of Costa Rican fine and cultural arts at the Museo de Arte Costarricense in San José and trace the footsteps of ancient civilizations at the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum. Venture to regenerative communities for sustainable living insights, challenge assumptions about the agricultural industry at an organic coffee farm, and engage with local communities through community development nonprofits dedicated to empowering disadvantaged communities in San José.

With your foundation of global awareness and critical thinking, you’ll move into Costa Rica’s Central Valley to study at the UN-chartered University for Peace: an international institution training the leaders of tomorrow to build a sustainable, peaceful, and equitable future for all. Your course at the University for Peace will focus on Sustainable Development and the Circular Economy, and will include co-curricular field visits to bring your experience to life.

In Panama, visit with a Panamanian government agency to uncover the inner workings of global trade and governance by interacting with government officials at the heart of this operation. Delve into biodiversity at Biomuseo, a captivating museum that illuminates Panama's natural richness. Join hands with a nonprofit nourishing the minds and bodies of school children daily across the Boquete district and immerse yourself in the folk arts of the Panamanian indigenous communities, gaining insights into their rich cultural heritage and artistic expressions.

End your semester at CSU Todos Santos in Baja California, Mexico. Along with your cohort, you’ll get to experience life in this beautiful small town, while getting to know some of the people and families who have been there for generations, making it what it is today. You’ll end the program with a greater sense of who you are, the opportunities to create a sustainable future, and the role you want to play in building it.



Global Studies examines how people’s experiences are interconnected across countries and cultures, drawing from various fields to understand the world’s major forces. The course aims to contribute to a better world by focusing on exploring different countries, understanding global citizenship, and delving into science, history, economics, current events, and cultural understanding—all through a central theme of sustainable development. Your journey encompasses the CSU Mountain Campus in Colorado, Costa Rica, Panama, and the CSU Mexico Campus, where you’ll explore diverse cultures, their unique challenges, and collaborative solutions for a better future.


This course acknowledges your role as a co-creator in a holistic planetary ecosystem and the desire to collaborate with the natural world for a sustainable future. By examining art, literature, and language from Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico, and the United States, you’ll seek insights into the interaction of environments and cultures to reimagine our planetary future.


This course delves into personal narratives to help you reflect on the origin and evolution of your values, goals, and identities during your studies abroad, and their influence on your academic and personal decisions. You’ll examine personal narratives from diverse cultures, creative nonfiction, memoirs, and visual and oral forms to help you understand how your story aligns with university programs.


This course introduces case examples, a robust framework, and implementation principles around the circular economy concept, emphasizing optimizing processes and systems as a whole rather than individual components. The shift to a circular economy is a significant challenge for a more sustainable society—one that demands an interdisciplinary approach that combines social, technical, managerial, and environmental perspectives.

What’s included

Tuition for this 16-week program is $24,750 and payment plans are available. Your program tuition includes:

“This experience combines every one of EF’s capabilities into one, amazing, program. I’m excited for students to take part in the full breadth of opportunities that span from language learning to ocean conservation all while developing a deep understanding of themselves and the world.”

Markus S.
EF Program Development

Student applicant requirements

Students interested in embarking on an EF Foundation Program must be at least 18 years old, hold a U.S. passport, maintain a 2.5 GPA minimum, and be a high school graduate by departure day in order to apply.