Co-Founder, STOKE Certified

Groundswell Educational Travel is teaming up with the world famous Safari Surf School in the quaint surf and yoga wellness community of Nosara, Costa Rica for a 10-day Costa Rican Immersion study abroad trip. The first-of-its-kind organization, which provides university students study abroad trips to surf tourism destinations around the world in exchange for college credit, is proud to offer a trip to Nosara from May 23 – June 1, 2014.

Students from any university will have the opportunity to participate in applied sustainable tourism studies with time for daily surf sessions and exploring the local area with Safari Surf, all while earning 3 course credits in Cross-Cultural Interactions in Surf Tourism. The specialized curriculum was developed by Dr Jess Ponting, Director of the Center for Surf Research at San Diego State University and is based on almost two decades of research into the sustainability of surf tourism around the world.

As Sustainability Director of Safari Surf for the past two years, I have developed a strong connection to the vibrant community that exudes the pura vida lifestyle. Leaders in the rural farm town are striving to make Nosara a sustainable development model for coastal communities in Costa Rica – their recognition as a Blue Flag Beach Community by the Costa Rican government, is a testament to this. I was fortunate enough to visit the town as an intern for the Center for Surf Research my senior year at San Diego State University, and I could not be more stoked to help provide a similar opportunity for undergrads. I approached Groundswell Educational Travel with the idea for a sustainable surf tourism study abroad course in Costa Rica and the result is a hybrid curriculum with community development projects and surfing – students will have the trip of a lifetime.


I am honored to be a guest lecturer alongside professor Dr. Leon Mach for Groundswell, speaking to students about my responsibilities as Project Manager for Safari Surf’s prospective LEED Platinum Certified and STOKE Certified headquarters, Olas Verdes Resort, which is slated for completion in April, 2015. Students will be able to see first-hand the project’s sustainable design and construction practices as well as the resort’s sustainability initiatives such as its innovative water conservation initiatives and how they relate to the community’s struggle with a decade-long drought.

Groundswell’s curriculum has integrated a voluntourism aspect for this trip as well. I have coordinated volunteer opportunities for community development projects with local nonprofits in order to further enhance this unique experience outside of the classroom. Students will be staying at the Nosara Beach Hostel, where the reforestation organization BarriGuiones, grows its trees before planting them along the shores of Playa Guiones – students will be assisting with watering and maintaining the newly planted trees. The Nosara Recycling Center was completed last year and students will learn about Nosara Recicla’s challenges of building and operating the first recycling center for the region. Surfing Nosara Foundation, a local nonprofit, will be hosting a volunteer project for students to teach English to local school children.

In addition to classes/lectures on sustainable surf tourism, sustainable development, and helping out with community development projects, students will have the opportunity to surf, zip-line, visit the Ostional Turtle Reserve, and hike to waterfalls. Scholarships are available for the program and the official deadline to register is April 12, 2014.

Groundswell Educational Travel aims to shape surfers (and those who aspire to be) into responsible global citizens by leading immersion courses in sustainable tourism to world-class surfing destinations in exchange for college credit. Because travel & tourism is one of the world’s leading industries, the courses offer a focused look at the influence of tourism on coastal populations. The courses leverage students interest in travel and surfing (or learning to surf) to provide a powerful learning experience centered on cross-cultural understanding and sustainability. Upcoming trips also include Nicaragua and Peru this summer,


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