SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Shane Scholten has a big trip to look forward to next year.

The Augustana University assistant professor of exercise & sport sciences will travel with several students for a study abroad opportunity in Costa Rica.

“We’ll be exposed to a lot of different things that we aren’t exposed to in South Dakota, especially in January,” Augustana assistant professor Shane Scholten said.

Scholten and his students will be gone for about three weeks, but eventually students will be able to spend an entire semester at a new campus in Costa Rica.

The university is planning a new site in the Central American country.

Director of international programs and enrollment, Ben Iverson, says the campus may start out as modest.

“It could come in the form of a rented building or a shared space on an existing university campus, but over time we hope to grow that footprint, whatever that looks like initially and increase the number of Augustana students that study there and in the end, we’d also like to offer opportunities for Costa Rican students to study at this same center,” Augustana director of international programs and enrollment Ben Iverson said.

While many Augustana students have completed semester-long study abroad programs in the past, this will be the first one owned and operated by the university.

Iverson studied abroad in Spain when he was a student at Augustana.

“The way that changed my perspective and in my case my entire career trajectory. I have this career today because of my own study abroad experience. I think we see that a lot in our students, that they come home transformed in a lot of ways,” Iverson said.

The physical campus is expected to open by spring of 2023.

Augustana says it has secured a gift from alumni Micah and Jaclyn Aberson to help support the project.