Study in paradise

With top-notch academics such as Dr. Graham Higgs

Remember last winter? The mammoth snowdrifts, biting cold, howling wind?

This winter could be different.

From Dec. 26, 2011, to Jan. 3, 2012, you could be in sunny Costa Rica, taking classes on Costa Rican wildlife, its rainforests and its robust democracy — not to mention touring the vibrant capital, San Jose; the still-active Po├ís volcano; Sarapiqui, one of the best places in the universe for bird-watching; the Monteverde Cloud Forest; the tranquil Pacific Coast; Manuel Antonio National Park, home to squirrel monkeys and two-toed sloths; and a working coffee plantation.

Any friend of Columbia College — alumni, faculty and staff, students or family — is welcome. The cost, including round-trip airfare, eight nights in hotels (with private bathrooms), all ground transportation and three daily meals, is about $2,600.

Register online until Sept. 7 at Enter tour number 1008817. After Sept. 7, you may register by phone by contacting EF Tours at (877) 485-4184. If you have questions about the trip please contact Dr. Brian Kessel, Study Abroad coordinator, at (573) 875-7625 or or Dr. Graham Higgs, chair of the Department of Psychology and Sociology; professor of psychology and education and tour director, at (573) 875-7588 or

A Study Abroad tour this past summer took friends of the college to France and England and will take them to Greece and Turkey next May. For more about Columbia College Study Abroad and its destinations, go to or find us on Facebook at

Higgs is just one of the dedicated teachers and travelers with whom students will study. Higgs, a soft-spoken man with a neo-Einsteinian hairdo, is originally from what is now Zimbabwe. He won the Missouri Governor's Award for Teaching Excellence in 2004. Former students say things like: “This teacher rocks — he kicked my butt, but I learned more in here than I think I've learned in any other course.”

Over the summer, Higgs taught Darwin, Freud and the Birth of Modern Psychology in London and will teach Philosophical Foundations of Science in Oxford next summer.

Despite his globe-trotting resume, Higgs speaks with no discernible accent.

“I’m a chameleon,” he says in his Columbia College office. “I pick up the accent of wherever I am.”

Higgs earned his bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn., and his master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He did social work in the eastern part of the state, where accents can be extreme. Higgs said he fit right in, though.

Higgs will be teaching Travel Group Psychology in Costa Rica — how personality, emotion, cognition and social processes adapt to travel and how travel shapes human learning.

“I love to travel,” says Higgs. “It never ceases to show me new things, open new windows.”

You can see some of Higgs’ windows on the world at


Anonymous said...

I'm sure that Dr. Higgs is an interesting person, but shouldn't this ad focus on more on Costa Rica?

Anonymous said...

While I'm sure a lot of people are interested in knowing more about Costa Rica, just as many are interested in who the tour guide is as well. If you've ever study abroad before, I'm sure you know the guides play a pivotal part in your overall enjoyment of the trip. These professors can really make or break your study abroad experience -- this article helped me solidify my decision to go on this trip! : )

Anonymous said...

I studied abroad with Dr. Higgs, he is well informed of places to go as well as the topic of study. I learned more in the 3 days a week for 3 weeks studying abroad with him than I ever could in a whole semester. As good as the Costa Rica trip sounds the study abroad he is going to do in Oxford next spring is a once in a lifetime experience. The ad should not only tell about Costa Rica but also of upcoming trips; so when making a decision on an opportunity that may come around only once, you will have the ability to know all opportunities that are available. A study abroad trip with Dr. Higgs is a definite must do college experience!

Anonymous said...

FYI, many other trips are mentioned (albeit briefly) in the article. France/England, Greece/Turkey, and the Costa Rica trips are all in there.

istanbul tours said...

We just got back from a trip to Istanbul, Cappadocia, and Ephesus, and Private Tours in Istanbul did a fantastic job for us. All of our transfers from the airports were smooth, all of our travel guides to the various sites (mosques, Topkapi Palace, Ayasophia, Dolmabahce Palace, Hagia Sophia, Topokapi Palace, Blue Mosque and of course the Turkish night Ephesus, historic sites in Cappadochia) were great. I highly recommend this travel group. Very seamless. Makes for a terrific trip. Visited August 2011