Global Issues Design Challenge - Costa Rica

Global Issues Design Challenge - Costa Rica

Global Issues Design Challenge offers a unique visit with a local Rustic team to understand critical global issues. We are happy to discuss customizing a program to the length, location, or topic of your choice. Contact us at to learn more.

Build your students’ skills to change the world on a week-long (remote) adventure to Costa Rica. Meet the local team and learn about Costa Rica’s work to tackle the issues of climate change. Then, using IDEO’s Design Thinking framework, your students will collaborate with their team to identify a specific problem and develop and pitch a solution.

Climate change is occurring at rates much faster than anticipated and its effects are being felt worldwide. Since the 1980s, Costa Rica’s forest cover has increased from a low point of 25% to currently over 60%. However, this success is threatened by climate change, pollution, habitat extinction, ecosystemic losses, and extreme weather changes.

During the Global Issues Design Challenge, your students will:

  • Be empowered to take real action at a time when the world is ready for change.
  • Develop creative thinking skills, grow as a global citizen, and have practiced thinking about systems for change.
  • Discuss issues with like-minded Rustic Pathways staff and experts from around the world.
  • Apply a Design Thinking framework to quickly iterate creative solutions.
  • Earn a 15 hour Community Impact Certificate reflecting the time spent on the program.
  • Build something to brag about on their college transcripts.
Program Profile
Program Profile

Rustic program leaders will guide your class on this learning journey, and local experts will join to share context and insights. Your students will drive the learning journey, diving into burning questions about how these critical issues impact our world, and where their passions and interests connect with creating meaningful change.

Join our Costa Rica team and learn about the meaning of conservation and the difference between conservation and sustainability. Learn about the infrastructure that Costa Rica has created to fund environmental conservation, and how finding a way to combine laws and regulation with local communities being benefited by these policies benefit the mother earth but also serves national goals.

Weekly Overview

Monday : Empathize – Live interaction with the Costa Rica country team. Learn about environmental conservation, climate action, and local culture.

Tuesday : Define – Students will get to know their Rustic Pathways program leader and team. Further discussions help build background knowledge.

Wednesday : Ideate – Students brainstorm ideas with their teams on how they might combat climate change. The sky’s the limit here!!!!

Thursday : Prototype & Test – Working with their groups, students flesh out their solution concept and plan a final presentation.

Friday : Present – Live presentations of plans! The team with the best plan wins Rustic gear!

Local Experts

Felipe Hernandez

Program Manager

Felipe has a bachelor’s degree in Sustainable Tourism Management. He joined RP in 2017 as a program leader, but his experience as vice president of a non-governmental environmental organization in Costa Rica made him a great fit to manage our Turtle Conservation programs. He has worked on projects with protected wild refuges and in rural areas in different parts of Costa Rica. In addition to that, he has been part of different wildlife issues commissions and projects. If not working he can be found enjoying his two main passions nature and wildlife.

Ricardo Romero

Costa Rica Country Director

Ricardo joined Rustic Pathways in 2005 after working in Costa Rica’s rafting industry for a decade. Ricardo has worn many hats on our team, from community service coordinator to sales representative and everything in between. An avid outdoorsman with extensive experience as a river guide, his commitment to safety in the tourism sector and degree in business from the University of Costa Rica make him the ideal director of our Costa Rica operations.

 See Ricardo’s Profile Page

Wainer Ocampo

Costa Rica Country Manager

Since he joined Rustic Pathways in 2008, Wainer’s patience and constant smile have won him a special place in the hearts of our students. A Costa Rica native, Wainer has also spent time in the U.S., where he completed a cultural exchange at Hiram College in Ohio. Always the first person on the dance floor, he can often be found teaching salsa to our students. the Costa Rica team.

 See Wainer’s Profile Page