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Culture of Costa Rica

Costa Ricans culture is a rich mixture of many different cultures.  Costa Rica is an isthmus between North and South America and touches both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts.  A wide variety of people and cultures make up the nation, due to its contact with many different places. Costa Ricans ideals are based on peace, education and democracy.  Costa Rica is unique in its humanitarian values.  It is a people oriented country in which they strive to provide every person with basic human rights such as health care and education.

Costa Rica’s current population is approximately three and a half million people.  The growth rate averages at 2.3% and is not decreasing.  This population is unique to other Latin American countries in the whiteness of the population.  The 1989 census classified 98% as white or mestizo and 2% of the people black or indigenous.

Class also tents to be relatively homogenous in the nation.  Most people fit into the middle class.  Extreme poverty exists, but is minor compared to neighboring countries.  When measured by the standards of a developed country Costa Ricans average income is very low, but proves to be much better than other Latin countries in both salaries and earnings.  The upper class is still considered to be extremely elite.

Costa Rica has a tradition of making education a priority.  They view education as the path to prosperity.  One of the first acts Costa Rica established after gaining independence was to create the University of Santo Tomas.  In 1825 a law mandated the formation of public schools in all of the municipalities.  Immediately after Costa Rica gained its independence it began to make education and priority and a right for all people.

Currently four public universities have been established and the government funds them nearly completely.  One quarter of the universities students pay no tuition; students are charged on a sliding scale relative to their family’s income.

The university system is also very unique in its community service requirements.  There is a 150-hour community service requirement to receive your Bachelors degree and 300-hour requirement to receive your Masters degree.  In 1995, public high schools also adopted a community service requirement of 30 hours in order to receive their high school diploma.  These requirements are designed to inspire service and thanks to ones country.

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