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A group of Illinois State students spent one week in Costa Rica over spring break with politics and government faculty Noha Shawki and Julian Westerhout.

Students—who are all studying fair trade and the fair trade movement this semester—visited fair-trade cooperatives and fair trade coffee, cassava, sugarcane, and pineapple farms and had conversations with farmers and coop leaders about the economic, social and environmental dimensions of fair trade. In addition, students visited a pineapple processing facility as well as a shade-grown coffee plantation certified by Rainforest Alliance. Another highlight was a visit to an indigenous crafts market in the capital city of San Jose, where students met with a member of one of Costa Rica’s indigenous groups.

Students also had the opportunity to visit a local organic farmers market and the National Museum, which is located in San Jose.

Students stayed with host families, which was a great opportunity to round out the immersive experience and experience family life in Costa Rica.