International Study: Sustainability Leadership

420.670.91 Sustainability Leadership

January 2, 2020 – January 21, 2020

Course Description

Using a highly interactive (and often outdoor) learning format, this course examines practical, state-of-the-art concepts in leadership, often using the unique challenges of sustainability facing our world as examples. Students will examine the essential components of leadership, including vision, communication, strategy, organization, synergy and strategy. Recognition of barriers and risks and how to work around them will be stressed, and the restricted conditions under which leadership is actually exercised will be revealed. Outstanding guest speakers will speak to leadership challenges associated with environmental conservation and sustainability in Costa Rica.

Students will also practice self-reflection/assessment and become familiar with advanced tools to improve their leadership ability. Coursework will include frequent work in small groups, review of leadership case studies and a practical, ‘real-world’ leadership project. Prior to the trip, students will be asked to voluntarily offset their carbon associated with the course.

The course will run during the January 2020 Intersession; in-country portion in Costa Rica January 10-19, 2020.

420.670.91 Sustainability Leadership

Course Schedule (Subject to change)
Jan. 2, 2020 Online portion of course begins.
Note: online materials will be made available on December 19, 2019, so students can begin coursework early if they choose to do so.
Jan. 10, 2020 Class convenes at San Jose airport (SJO) Country Inn and Suites by Radisson, Costa Rica 9:00 AM.
Jan. 10 — 19, 2020 Field course with lectures, discussion, frequent group work and other activities related to state-of-the-art leadership. Housing (simple but clean), meals (featuring locally sourced cuisine and fresh fruits) and transportation provided from the Radisson on January 10 and to the airport on January 19. Activities are all day and often extend into evenings after meals.
Jan. 20, 2020 Online work continues.
Jan. 21, 2020 All course materials due by midnight.

420.670.91 Sustainability Leadership


Paul Kazyak is a recently retired Maryland Department of Natural Resources senior scientist and he has been a popular JHU instructor since 1994, including courses in aquatic ecology and applied sustainability. However, leadership is perhaps his true passion, and he has been providing intensive leadership training for nearly two decades to high school and college students, government, NGOs and other organizations. He also served for two summers as Program Director for the US State Department-funded Russian Youth Environmental Program at Dartmouth College. This effort provides cutting-edge leadership training for college students from all over Russia. Paul is a Fellow of the prestigious National Conservation Leadership Institute (NCLI) and he served for a year as an NCLI staff member following his fellowship year. Paul also consults with and provides leadership course development services for the training arm of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. In 2008, Paul was named Environmental Educator of the Year by the National Association of Science Teachers and one of his sustainability projects (Frostburg Grows) was a national finalist for a Climate Leadership Award from Second Nature.

420.670.91 Sustainability Leadership


The first six days of the field portion of the course will be at Casa Mariposa, a hostel located at 5,000 ft elevation near the town of San Gerardo, Costa Rica. This facility is surrounded by a stunning rainforest, with a rich network of steep trails and waterfalls available for exploration. Cerro Chirripo, Costa Rica’s highest mountain, is just 14 km ‘up the hill’ from the hostel. Accommodations at Casa Mariposa are simple but uniquely beautiful, and the rooms vary in occupancy. The owner-operators of Casa Mariposa are ecologically minded, highly involved in the local community and wonderful hosts. Lunch and dinner at Casa Mariposa will be prepared by a local cook; breakfast will be provided but ‘on your own’. Snacks and incidentals are not included.

420.670.91 Sustainability Leadership

The last three days of the course will be at Hacienda Baru, a national wildlife refuge near Dominical on the west coast of Costa Rica. The terrain on most of the refuge is flat, and there are a number of trails and several miles of undeveloped beach. Accommodations at Hacienda Baru are in well maintained multi-occupancy cabins and there is a restaurant where meals will be provided as well as a pool. Snacks and incidentals are not included but can be purchased.

420.670.91 Sustainability Leadership

Students should expect a range of warm to cool weather conditions and should be prepared for these. We recommend comfortable clothes that can be layered. Biting insects are generally not a problem during January but maybe annoying during the evening. Suggested packing lists will be provided prior to departure.

420.670.91 Sustainability Leadership


Students are responsible for their travel and food expenses (including airfare) until the class convenes and then after the group returns to the airport, but those students who need overnight accommodations prior to or after the field component of the course may choose to share accommodations with classmates to reduce cost. Students should budget for the following costs for the course:

$4,091 Tuition (subject to change)
~$1,600 Estimated course fee.
This fee includes ground transportation within Costa Rica, basic meals and lodging while in Costa Rica (9 days). Snacks and incidentals in Costa Rica are not included and are at the student’s discretion. Immunizations are the student’s responsibility. This fee needs to be paid to JHU upon registration.
$800 Estimated round-trip airfare to San Jose, Costa Rica, and meals en route (based on DC/Baltimore point of origin). Students are responsible for making their own arrangements and paying for their airfare themselves. Students should plan on arriving in San Jose on or before January 9 so that they are ready to depart for Casa Mariposa from the airport Radisson promptly at 9 AM on January 10.
Do not buy an air ticket until the course is confirmed to be running.
For budgeting purposes, students are advised to check airfares before registering for the course and then make airline reservations immediately after the course is confirmed to run so that travel is locked in.
$25 Departure fee required to leave Costa Rica.
$6,516 Total estimated cost for the course.

420.670.91 Sustainability Leadership


Registration for this course will open on September 16, 2019, at 10 am and will close on October 21, 2019. Students will register for this course in SIS. Payment is due at the time of registration. If a student decides to drop this course, $500 of the tuition is non-refundable, regardless of a student’s payment method choice (financial aid, employer assistance, tuition remission, etc.). Please note: this course does not follow the regular tuition refund schedule and all tuition and fees for this course are nonrefundable after October 21, 2019.

The course needs 8 people to run. Tuition refunds will be made if there are not enough people to run the course. The maximum number of people for the course is 14. Registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis with priority given to ESP degree candidates. Do not purchase travel or make other investments in your trip until you hear from AAP that there are enough participants to run the trip.

If you have any questions, please contact an academic advisor. If you have any questions about course logistics, please contact Dr. Jerry Burgess, JHU point of contact for the course, at If you have questions about course content, please contact Paul Kazyak at

420.670.91 Sustainability Leadership

Important Dates
Sep. 16, 2019
10:00 AM
The first day to register.
Oct. 21, 2019
11:59 PM
Last day to register
Oct. 22, 2019 Students will be notified if the course has sufficient enrollment to run; do not purchase travel or accommodations before this notification.
Dec. 4, 2019
5:00 PM
Last day to submit required student forms (listed below under Important Forms), and a copy of your passport.
Jan. 2, 2020 Course begins.
Jan. 10, 2020
9:00 AM
Field component begins, convene at San Jose airport (SJO) Radisson Hotel Costa Rica
Jan. 19, 2020 Field component concludes.
Jan. 21, 2020 Course ends at midnight.

Health and Travel Insurance

Well before departure, check with your doctor to see if you need any immunizations or medications before traveling. Immunization information can also be found at the sites for the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization International Travel and Health. Click here for the Johns Hopkins University Travel Resources.

Participants should make sure their health insurance and accident insurance covers them while traveling abroad. Additional coverage can be purchased through a variety of travel insurance options. To compare policies and for further information, visit a travel insurance comparison site such as Insure My Trip or Square Mouth.

HX Global, Inc.

Johns Hopkins is a member of HX Global, Inc., which covers JHU students while participating in international courses. HX Global, Inc. is medical and emergency evacuation assistance, it is NOT health insurance. Students are encouraged to review HX Global, Inc. benefits/information by going to MyJH, selecting Travel, then Travel Program. If you cannot access it through JHU’s website go directly to the HX Global website. First-time users will need to register and enter the Policy Number JH18492. Members can use the site to access medical and travel safety information.

For more travel information please visit the AAP Student Travel page.

420.670.91 Sustainability Leadership

Student Emergency Contact Information

Students must update their emergency contact information in SIS by following these instructions:

  1. Log in to
  2. Hover over the “Personal Information” tab
  3. Select “Emergency Contact”
  4. Complete “Emergency Contact” information

Important Forms for the Field Study

Note: For the International Travel Registry, you will need to log-in using your JHED ID. Click on the “My Travel Profile” in the upper left-hand corner. Please complete the “My Travel Profile” form in its entirety.

These forms all need to be completed by December 4, 2019.

Note: Emergency Contact Information in Costa Rica will be provided before departure.

420.670.91 Sustainability Leadership


Students will make their own travel arrangements to and from San Jose (SJO) Costa Rica airport for the field component of the course and should arrive at the Country Inn and Suites by Radisson near the SJO airport by 9:00 AM on January 10, 2020, and should plan on a departure from SJO airport after 2:00 PM on January 19, 2020. The university is not responsible for refunds, penalties, or other fees that may be incurred or lost for changes or cancellations of airfare. Trip insurance is recommended.

Each student must have a valid, signed, US passport, one that has an expiration date that is at least 6 months beyond the date of arrival in Costa Rica (i.e. later than June 10, 2020), carried on their person, in order to enter and leave Costa Rica. Students should allow plenty of time to obtain a new passport or renew one that is set to expire. Expedited service is recommended. No visa is required for US citizens; non-US citizens should contact the Embassy of Costa Rica to find out about visa requirements.

420.670.91 Sustainability Leadership