Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the cost?
A:  Here it is...

  • $3308 Tuition
    Tuition covers the 3 credit class, all lodging, food, fees, and excursions while in Costa Rica.  This also covers the 3 uniform t-shirts required for the trip, plus the transfer between MMA and the airport, and the airline ticket.  You have to remember bag fees!  We do not cover those.  Expect to take one bag down and one bag back.
  • Personal Expenses (Varies)
    This is up to your discretion. There will be opportunities for cadets to purchase snacks or souvenirs.

And that is it.  You do not have to spend another dime.  All necessary items are covered.

Q: Should we bring money for souvenirs and personal expenses?  Should we convert the US dollars to Colones (the currency of Costa Rica) before we leave?
A: I would not bring any more than $200 with you at the most.  Of course, most places will take credit cards (let your bank know you are traveling) and in a pinch there is a bank on Earth Campus with an ATM.  The fees on the ATM are quite high.  You can find the current exchange rate here.

Q: How do I pay the Tuition?
A: You will be billed just like if you took an On-campus winter class.  Many students may have already been given finanical aid to cover the trip.  Check your student account.

Q:  Will this program have MMA supervision?
A: Accompanying the students will be two professors from MMA who provide the course content and adult supervision.  There will also be four 1st Class Cadets (seniors) who act as Teaching Assistants and  enforce MMA standards of appearance and discipline.  You can look at our Staff page to see who is going along this year.

Q: What do you mean by “MMA standards of appearance and discipline”?
A: Cadets will be wearing appropriate MMA required uniform for the weather in Costa Rica, this includes an MMA Polo and a long sleeve shirt to protect cadets from mosquito bites in the field. Cadets still have to follow appropriate rules and regulation to represent MMA. Please look at the the MMA experiential learning code of conduct for more details.

Q: This sounds great, but Costa Rica is a Spanish speaking country and my child does not speak Spanish.  Will this be an issue?
A: Of course it will not be a problem.  Fortunately, a great number of Ticos (what the people of Costa Rica refer to themselves as) speak English.  Also, our contacts in Costa Rica (who will be with the group the entire time) are bi-lingual.  Dr. Camp’s Spanish is improving and Dr. Montesino is bilingual.  Before the students travel down to Costa Rica, they will attend a couple of Spanish lesson at MMA to cover things like food (to make the cafeteria line faster).  While in Costa Rica, they will be given a few conversational Spanish lessons.

Q: What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?
A: Take one of Dr. Camp’s fluid classes.  He will show you how to calculate it (he seriously does).

Q: Do I need a passport for this trip?
A: Yes you do.  You can apply for one using this link.  Remember, it takes some time to get these done (about 8 weeks if you do not expedite it).

Q:  What should we pack?
A: Review the suggested packing list.

Q: What are all the places that the trip will be visiting this year?
A: The highlights page will show you some of the places we will visit.

Q: So we pay the money and get credit for a 3 credit class?  This really does not seem like a class.
A: There is more to this class than taking a two week trip in the middle of winter to a foreign country (or tropical paradise as Dr. Camp refers to it).  There is a great deal of academic content before, during, and after the trip.  You can find the syllabus here.

Q: How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
A: About 3 chords and hour.

Q: How and when do I sign up?
A: Just like you would for a regular class, through Webadvisior.  Registration is typically the 3rd week of October.

Q: This looks really cool, but I am not a cadet at MMA.  Can I take this class?
A: Sorry, this class is only for MMA cadets.  

Q: I am not enrolled as a Facilities or Energy Systems Engineer.  Can I still take this as an elective?
A: This class is ONLY for Facilities and Energy Systems Engineers.  Contact the head of your major to find out about the experiential learning opportunities available to your course of study.

Q: I am not a freshman Engineer.  Can I still take this as an elective?
A: This class is intended for freshmen.  If the class does not fill completely, slots will be offered to upper class cadets on a first come first served basis.  A general email will be sent out if there is space available.

Q: There is a burning question that I have that is not found in this FAQ.  How will I ever get it answered?
A: Email Dr. Camp at  After he answers it, it will probably be added to the FAQ.