Guanacaste’s Geeks Find Their Niche at New University in Cañas

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Las oportunidades en Guanacaste podrían verse de lejos, sobre todo si de ciencia, tecnología y educación se trata; no obstante, los geeks de la provincia han encontrado un nuevo espacio de formación académica: la Universidad Invenio.

Opportunities in Guanacaste may seem far away, especially in the fields of science, technology and education. However, the province’s geeks have found a new space for their education: Invenio University.

The campus is located in Cañas, Guanacaste, in the heart of Costa Rica’s renewable energy production, as it is close to the Miravalles geothermal energy plant, the ARDCOSA hydroelectric plant and the Tilaran windmill complex; it is a perfect location to put knowledge into practice.

According to Adrian Lachner, the university’s founder, Invenio has the appeal of the German Dual system, which consists of nine trimesters in classrooms and seven with a company.

“The basis of Dual is the theoretic phase in a classroom and the practical phase at a company . For a student to be able to go to a company, a guided internship is designed, which is a period at a company complementing the theory that was learned during the theoretical period. The first nine months are in the University, and afterwards [students] alternate one trimester at the company and one trimester at Invenio,” explained Lachner.

Florida Bebidas, Boston Scientific and Ad Astra Rocket Company (Franklin Chang’s laboratory) are a few of the more than 50 companies thathave agreements with the university for students to complete their internships.

This past July, President Luis Guillermo Solis visited the university to promote the institution’s efforts to create the first free zone in Guanacaste, based atInvenio University.

The academic center offers degrees in information technology and corporate communication, mechatronic engineer (which brings together mechanics, electronics and computer science) and industrial engineering with an emphasis on operations. The programs last four and a half years, and upon finishing, students graduate with experience in the workforce.

That is the case of Luis Zuñiga, from Los Angeles de Tilaran, who is 24 years old and studying Technology in Information while working for the company InvenioIntelectual.

“With what I earn from work I am paying for my studies. The truth is that I think you learn a lot more when you work; also, what is a degree worth if everywhere they ask you for experience? Here we have the advantage that we graduate with a degree and experience,” said the student.

In addition to the degrees, the university also offers certificates in Energy Plants Operations and Maintenance, Communication and Information Technologies, Manufacturing and Design Technologies and Business Technologies, which last two years, for those who lack more time for studies.

Luis Bogantes, from Hojancha, holds a piece of recycled plastic plastic produced by a 3D printer during a course on design and manufacturing.

Luis Bogantes, from Hojancha, is that way. When he graduated from high school in 2012 he did not have the time or money to study, so he began working at a sawmill. However, he received a scholarship from Empleate(Get a Job) that covers 100% of expenses to pursue a certificate in Design and Manufacturing.

After just a year of studying, Bogantes applies his knowledge at the sawmill and is now at the top of his program with a grade of 90.

Supported by Scholarships

In addition to Bogantes, the Empleate program gives scholarships to 176 students pursuing a certificate (the scholarships are granted directly by the Ministry of Work and Social Security).

Empléate ofrece una beca de ¢200.000 al mes. La mensualidad de diplomado cuesta ¢140.000, pero a los becados se les cobra¢100.000. Los otros ¢100.000 restantes se pueden distribuir en gastos de alimentación y alojamiento. Las residencias  tienen un costo de ¢40.000 al mes, pero ¢35.000 para becados.La alimentación de las tres comidas diarias tiene un valor de¢ 80.000 mensuales, pero para los becados se les deja a ¢65.000.

Empleate provides a scholarship of ¢200,000 ($376) per month. The certificate program costs ¢140,000 ($263) monthly, though scholarship students are charged ¢100,000 ($186). The other ¢100,000 ($186) can be used for food and housing. Residences typically have a cost of ¢40,000 ($75) per month, but scholarship students are only charged ¢35,000 ($66). Food, including three meals per day, costs ¢80,000 ($150), though the cost is only¢65,000 ($122) for students with scholarships.

All of the students at Invenio come from public high schools, and the majority are from Guanacaste. However, for 2015 some students from the Central Valley did enroll.

Invenio began its certificate programs in 2010, but did not start its university degree programs until 2013. Currently, 57 students who have graduated with certificates have found full time employment.

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