Overall, Costa Rica is a safe country, but there are a few things you should know:
- Pickpockets are found in many major tourist areas around the world and San Jose is no different. Dress conservatively (no flashy jewelry) and always be aware of your belongings when in crowded areas.
- Use the buddy system! More than likely, the people you meet will be nothing but friendly and helpful, but it’s always better to have a companion in a potentially uncomfortable situation.
- With the many outdoor adventure activities that Costa Rica offers (zip-lining, mountaineering, surfing, white-water rafting, etc), we encourage you to take every precaution necessary to prevent bodily injuries. Always follow instructions that your guide offers you, and pay attention to any signs or warnings posted.
- Mostly, the food and water in Costa Rica are perfectly healthy for you to eat or drink, but there are different kinds of food that your body may not yet be used to or hasn’t yet experienced. You may suffer from food allergies or temporary ill effects until your body grows accustomed to the cuisine.
In Costa Rica there are not many general health risks beyond those found in the US. Health insurance is not required by the Costa Rican government, but CIS includes a comprehensive medical and accident insurance plan with all of our programs. For the most up-to-date information on traveling to Costa Rica, please visit the U.S. Department of State’s country specific website: http://www.travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1093.html.
The university system in Costa Rica is very much like that of the United States. At the Universidad Veritas, you are required to attend a given number of lectures, tutorials, and/or laboratory periods, and group practice sessions each week. Like your home university, individual reading and research will also be necessary to succeed in your courses. You will be expected to develop independent study skills with a minimum of professional supervision. Grades given on tests, assignments, and practical work count toward your final grade for the course.
We offer a variety of options to study or intern abroad in Costa Rica, so you can find the program that is right for you! This Central American country is home to an incredible amount of biodiversity, and its jungles, beaches, and mild weather have made it into a top tourist destination for people around the world.
Our study abroad programs all give you the chance to study Spanish abroad at any skill level. You’ll live in San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital city, and study with a mix of local Costa Rican students and international students. During your time off, you will have ample opportunity to enjoy some of the activities that Costa Rica is famous for, including zip lining, canopy tours, and exploring volcanoes!
For more details on CISabroad study abroad and intern abroad programs in Costa Rica, click here.
Official name of country: Republic of Costa Rica
Population: 4.2 million
Capital City: San Jose
Time Difference: Costa Rica is in the same time zone as the US MST, so it is two hours behind the east coast and one hour ahead of the west coast.
National Animal: White-tailed deer
National Currency: Costa Rican Colon (CRC)
National Food: Gallo Pinto (rice and beans dish)
National Sport: Soccer
Languages: Spanish is the official language of Costa Rica, but being such a popular tourist destination has led to English becoming a common second language amongst the locals. Locals are known as Ticos and their warm, friendly nature is the perfect practice ground for improving your Spanish. At Universidad Veritas, all levels of Spanish courses are available and you are sure to improve your Spanish in Costa Rica!
Geography: Costa Rica is bordered by Nicaragua to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the east, Panama to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Although it is only roughly the size of West Virginia, Costa Rica is home to 5% of the world’s biodiversity! Tropical jungles and rainforests are what Costa Rica is most known for. The country also boasts four mountain ranges within its interior that contain more than 60 volcanoes (don’t worry, the majority are inactive). You will love the year-round mild climate in Costa Rica that avoids extreme hot or cold temperatures. The rainy season lasts from May to November, and the Caribbean coast sees more rain than San José in the interior part of the country.
Famous People: Oscar Arias Sánchez (Nobel Peace Prize winner), Claudia Poll (first Olympic gold medalist), Francisco Amighetti (painter), Franklin Chang-Diaz (astronaut), and Juan Santamaria (official national hero).
Great Movies: El Camino; It’s a Jungle Out There; Paso a Paso: A Sentimental Journey; En el Nombre del Pueblo; El Loco, Cacharro y Su Capitán.