Simplified: Augustana University this week announced plans to open a physical campus in Costa Rica by Spring 2023.

Why it matters

  • The Costa Rica campus is just one of the ways Augie is looking to grow. The university earlier this year announced plans for a Division 1 hockey program, and construction is underway on a new residence hall.
  • Studying abroad has long been a tenet of Augie's education philosophy, said Ben Iverson, director of international programs for the university. And Costa Rica is one of the most popular destinations students choose.
  • The goal is not only to encourage more students to study abroad but also, down the line, to attract more Central American students to attend Augustana, Iverson said.
"There are just a ton of experiential learning opportunities," Iverson said.

Why Costa Rica?

A few reasons, Iverson said.

For one, it's already a popular destination for students to study abroad, and its biodiversity makes it well-suited for hands-on learning in the sciences.

Costa Rica also has Sioux Falls ties.

  • Sanford World Clinic works with a hospital chain in the country, and Sanford's Executive Vice President Micah Aberson, along with his wife Jaclyn – both Augie alumni – donated $125,000 to support the university's expansion.
“I think that there’s great potential to do some pretty remarkable things in that country," Micah Aberson said in a press release announcing the new campus.

Another reason is the number of students studying Spanish, nursing, biology and business – all programs the university hopes to offer in Costa Rica.

"We really didn't have a lot of debate about other possible locations," Iverson said. "It was just a really obvious opportunity."

How will the new campus be structured?

The idea, to start, is for students to spend a semester in Costa Rica. It's not going to be a full four-year program, Iverson said.

It also may not start as its own building, but rather, the campus may start off as rented classrooms in an existing university building or office space, Iverson said.

The exact details haven't been ironed out, including courses, staffing, or a physical location, but university officials plan to travel to the country next week to start laying a foundation for the program.

"We're going to know a lot more after next week and a lot more three months from now," Iverson said.

What happens next?

Lots of logistics, Iverson said.

The goal is to start the first cohort of students in the spring of 2023, but nothing is set in stone at this point.