A group of Kansas University students and faculty last year excavated the first evidence of Costa Rican coastal hunting and fishing practices 1,500 years ago.
That experience -- the result of a 35-year relationship between KU and the University of Costa Rica -- "changed the lives of several students on the dig," said John Hoopes, KU assistant professor of anthropology and expedition leader.
Hoopes said today he was relieved to learn that KU students and faculty will be able to continue research work in the Central American country.
On Tuesday, KU and University of Costa Rica officials plan to sign a new five-year exchange agreement.
Elizabeth Debicki, director of KU's study abroad program, said the pact will provide unique research opportunities and bolster the academic standing of both schools.
"It enhances the reputation of the University of Kansas all over the country because it is the oldest exchange in the Western Hemisphere," he said.
She said more than 100 KU students apply for a handful of slots in the exchange program each year.
Cathy McClure, director of programs at international studies at KU, said KU Chancellor Gene Budig and University of Costa Rica Rector Luis Garita will sign the agreement at 1:15 p.m. Tuesday in Strong Hall.
She said Garita and other members of the Costa Rican contingent would then go to Kansas State University in Manhattan to sign a similar accord.
At KU's invitation, Debicki said, KSU has collaborated with KU and University of Costa Rica in the exchange program since 1984.