Enriched in Costa Rica

Costa Rica really does justice to its name – two weeks there have been super enriching! After two years of online classes, in 2021 it was possible to teach at the University for Peace campus in Costa Rica again. I came back energized and enriched in so many ways.


Teaching always challenges me to keep up with the latest developments in my field. Just like the Master students, I have to study the course materials on Responsible Management and Sustainable Economic Development. Thank you, professor André Nijhof for our partnership for this course and UPEACE for bringing us back year on year. And to guest lecturers Nicola Matthews (Tony’s Chocolonely) and Dante Pesce (Business & Human Rights expert) for adding inspiring, practical content.


A unique opportunity to engage with amazing students, joining classes in Costa Rica and online from all around the world. Sharing reflections on the course content from many angles and therefore challenging us by asking questions, disagreeing, and raising the bar for future years. Thank you to this new generation of change-makers. And to the alumni speakers who joined as well, Risa Richardson-Tuitt (Trinidad & Tobago) and Justin White (Mars).


Spending time in Costa Rica’s abundant nature is both soothing and energizing. I really enjoyed observing ecosystem trees with a great guide, stretching my comfort zone by swimming in rivers and waterfalls. Also loved just hanging out at the beach, getting up early with the birds to watch the sunrise, and a walking meditation on a volcano.


Being in Costa Rica allowed me to meet inspiring people like Earth Charter’s Mirian Vilela, entrepreneurs Ed Smit and Wiet de Bruin, and artist Mariano Lirman. We shared plans, challenges, and lovely meals. And as a result, I ended up hauling home a 3kg work of art for my home office!

Practicing Spanish and Pura Vida

After nearly 700 days of online practice on DuoLingo, I fully took the opportunity to speak Spanish every day. Thank you Guillermo ‘Memo’ Quiros, Esteban Gutierrez Mora, Flavio at Casa Aquiares Lodge, and all other friendly Ticos who were not just patient and helpful with my Spanish skills, but also great examples of how to live the Pura Vida way!

I look forward to the next steps on this journey, such as reading papers and perhaps writing one. And, hopefully, the opportunity to teach this course – in Costa Rica – again next year!

This blog was written by Marjolein Baghuis and also appeared on LinkedIn. To read about interesting people, book reviews, and other posts about sustainability, change, and communications please subscribe to this blog in the right-hand column. 

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