January in Costa Rica

Don’t let the winter blues get you down - spend your January break with us! Study Spanish in Costa Rica and learn why this country ranks as the happiest country on earth.

Study Spanish in Costa Rica. With Spanish-language courses on an urban campus in one of the most biodiverse nations on the planet, CISabroad January in Costa Rica is a unique way to improve your language skills and explore a fascinating country.

We give great advice. At CISabroad, all our advisors have studied or lived abroad. From watching toucans in the rain forest to drinking fresh juice on a pristine beach, we love Costa Rican culture. We are expert travelers and want to make your experience as easy and fun as possible.

Support environmental efforts in your green host country. Your round-trip flight to San Jose will be offset by the work of volunteers around the world. Plus, you’ll have opportunities to give back to the local community while you spend your winter abroad in Costa Rica.

Your January in Costa Rica will take place in San José, the capital of Costa Rica. You will study abroad in English and take Spanish-language courses at the university. While in Costa Rica you will have opportunities to explore volcanoes, beaches, rainforests, rivers, and cities!

Local professors, international feel – You’ll have local, Costa Rican professors and classmates from across the US and around the world. What a great way to have a truly international experience!

Study Spanish in Costa Rica – There’s no better way to learn a language than to immerse yourself in it, so study Spanish abroad at a local university, practice with your host family over dinner, and talk to locals at cafés, markets, and in the salsa clubs.

Amazing location with perfect weather! – You’ll be minutes from the heart of San José, so you can easily explore the city, as well as the beautiful nearby national parks, picturesque mountain villages, and relaxed beach towns that make Costa Rica famous! And to top it all off, you can trade your winter jacket for some shades!

Spanish instruction for all levels – Whether you have never taken Spanish before or are nearly fluent, you will learn in this intensive, yet fun environment.

Great excursions for Spanish Intensive Students  Your winter term in Costa Rica includes one day trip and one weekend excursion with your fellow study abroad students. Take a city tour, wander through the local markets, and try some exotic tropical fruit as you explore the rain forest and spend your winter abroad in Costa Rica.

Great Field Trips for Tropical Ecology Students - Students focused on tropical ecology will attend at least one day trip, and have two weekend field trips as part of their course. 

If you've always wanted to spend your winter studying abroad in Costa Rica, check out our January in Costa Rica program. Here are just a few of the key highlights that make this program unique:

  • One of the most environmentally diverse countries on the planet!
  • Study Spanish in Costa Rica with classes at all levels
  • Excursions throughout Costa Rica
  • No language prerequisite
  • Great local professors
  • Study at a highly ranked private university in San José
  • Live with a local family
  • Explore the bustling capital city of San José

Your January Spanish Intensive in Costa Rica program includes one day trip and one weekend excursion to allow you to explore other parts of the country. Tropical Ecology students will attend at least one day trip, and have two weekend field trips as part of their course. Field trips and excursions are not confirmed until closer to program.

You could visit:

Monteverde Cloud Forest
This cloud forest is really just a rainforest at a high altitude; with the forest’s location at over 1,000 meters, the moisture in the clouds is captured by the trees and creates an incredibly humid area. It also gives the area some of the most amazing biodiversity in the world, which you can view from skywalks and bridges suspended 60 meters in the air.

For a relaxing break from classes, the laid-back town of Tamarindo is the ideal excursion. You can surf, swim, kayak, and more on the Pacific coast, as well as visit Leatherback Turtle reserves. 

Poas Volcano
Hike in Poas Volcano National Park, where you can see an incredible active volcano that features two lake-filled craters at its summit.

Cataratas del Toro is a 300-foot waterfall that spills into the crater of an extinct volcano, creating a beautiful place to visit.

On January in Costa Rica, you’ll study at Universidad Veritas, located in San José, the capital of Costa Rica.  There are two different options for this program.

Spanish Intensive option: During the 4-week program, you’ll take one Spanish-language course at any level and have time every afternoon to further practice your Spanish and get to know this great city.  Course load: 1 course (5 U.S. credits)

Tropical Ecology option: Are you ready for a unique learning experience? During the 3-week Tropical Ecology option, you will have the opportunity to get a hands-on, intensive introduction to tropical ecology in a country that is home to a variety of unique ecosystems, including the tropical rain forest, cloud forest, coral reefs, and mangroves. Course load: 1 course (4 U.S. credits)

GPA Required: 2.5. If you find your GPA is lower than the requirement, do not despair! Use the "Contact An Advisor" button on this page or call us to let us know your situation. We'll do all we can to find the right program for you.

How to choose your courses 
Now the fun part! As part of the application process you will be required to complete the CIS Course Selection Worksheet found in the CIS Application Page. The following instructions will guide you through the steps.

Course approval for Spanish language: placement exam

When selecting a Spanish-language course, choose the one whose description best reflects your current abilities. Once you’re accepted into the program, we will send you instructions for taking an online placement exam so that Veritas can begin to assess your level of Spanish. Following the online (written) placement exam, you will be assessed orally by staff in Costa Rica via Skype, allowing you to be placed in the most appropriate language level before you arrive in Costa Rica.

Class descriptions and catalog:

Click here to view available Spanish courses. 

 Click Here to view Tropical Ecology Syllabus.

Did you know that 70% of all CISabroad students receive scholarships or grants to study or intern abroad? You can get a grant for something as simple as applying early, or a scholarship for blogging. 


For details on all scholarship and grant offerings and to apply, please click here.

You’ll love spending your winter in Costa Rica, which is known for its year-round warm weather. This peaceful country has been labeled as one of the happiest and greenest countries in the world, and it’s easy to see why!

Bordered on both sides by the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, Costa Rica has hundreds of miles of beaches to enjoy. Additionally, almost 25 percent of the country is protected by national parks, so you can be sure to see some incredible wildlife and rainforest ecosystems. Costa Rica is also known for being a haven for adventurous people- you can try whitewater rafting, zip lining, hiking, and kayaking!

Your time in San José will be made even better by the friendly, laid-back demeanor of the Costa Ricans who live there. Be sure to check out the many theaters, markets, restaurants, and clubs that are at your disposal through San José’s easy public transportation. 

January in Costa Rica is located minutes from the heart of San José at one of the best private universities in Central America, Universidad Veritas. You can enroll in a variety of English- and Spanish-language classes and also immerse yourself through on-campus activities, local excursions, and a Costa Rican language-exchange partner. The University has approximately 1,500 Costa Rican students and over 300 study abroad students from all over the world.

As a CISabroad study abroad student, you’ll get outstanding staff support, from academic advising to personal and cultural counseling. At the same time, you’ll have all the freedom you need to explore one of the most beautiful countries in the world and make it your home.

Improve your Spanish in their small classrooms oriented to advance your language skills while studying in your major. The Universidad Veritas is reknowned for its Architecture, Marketing and Design courses and so much more! Earn credits for your major while studying in one of the most beautiful places on earth!

San José is a fun, affordable city to live in that always has something going on! You can go to concerts, dances, movies, art shows, and more. The university also offers chances to take salsa dancing lessons, play on intramural sports teams, practice your Spanish with a Costa Rican partner student, take Costa Rican cooking lessons, explore the city, and take free self-defense classes.

In addition to your classes, you’ll also have the chance to participate in different volunteer opportunities, like working with underprivileged children. 

Our CISabroad January in Costa Rica study abroad program offers an extensive orientation program to make sure that you have the best time possible during your study abroad experience. We will help you get adjusted to life in San José through excursions both in San José and throughout the rest of Costa Rica.

You will get to become even more immersed in Costa Rican life and culture through your homestay, which many students say was their favorite part of their study abroad experience. You will have your own room, meals, and weekly laundry, and will be in easy walking distance of the university and the heart of San José.

In Costa Rica, you will get to participate in a homestay, the perfect way to truly immerse yourself in the Costa Rican lifestyle! You will live with a host family within walking distance of the university, and conveniently located with access to public transportation and the heart of San José. 

During your homestay, you will have your own private room complete with towels, bed linens, blankets, and pillows provided by your host family. You’ll get access to the kitchen, a weekly laundry service, and tasty traditional Costa Rican breakfasts and dinners provided for you.

CISabroad’s Site Director in Costa Rica:

Lisa was born in Costa Rica and has lived in the United States on several occasions. She is an alumni of Veritas University, where she majored in photography, and is currently pursuing her bachelors degree in Tourism and Hotel Management. She is passionate about travel, and has had 10 years of experience leading study abroad groups all throughout Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama. In her free time Lisa enjoys going to art exhibits, watching movies, dancing and learning new languages. She speaks Spanish, English and Portuguese, and is currently learning French.

1. What is the cost of program tuition? What is included in the program fees?

The program cost for the January in Costa Rica program can be found here.

2. When are the program fees due?

Program fees for January in Costa Rica are due on November 1st. CISabroad will email invoices to students approximately one month before the program payment deadline. For example, if your payment deadline is July 15, you should expect your invoice in mid-June. If you are using financial aid, please ensure all financial aid paperwork is returned to our office by the payment deadline. If your financial aid does not cover your entire balance, CISabroad accepts these payment methods.

3. What is due with my application and when is my application due?

The application process can be broken into easy steps!

1. The first step is to fill out the online application, which includes your contact information, what program you are applying for, etc. (Only takes five minutes!)

2. After filling out the online application, an advisor from our Global Advising Center will grant you portal access with a set of preliminary forms. 

3. The next step is to pay the $200 application deposit in order to secure your space in the program. This amount will be applied toward the final cost. 

4. Within a day after submitting your deposit, you will receive a welcome email from your Program Coordinator—the person you will work with until departure. Your Program Coordinator will then give you program-specific items in your portal. (Note: Both preliminary portal pieces and program-specific tasks must be completed by the application deadline.)

#CISabroadTip: Contact your school’s registrar and have them send us your transcript early on in the application process (you can send us your transcript even before you’ve made the $200 deposit!) since snail mail makes this the slowest piece to submit. (We also accept electronic OFFICIAL transcripts if your school provides them.)

For detailed instructions, see application instructions. The application deadline for January in Costa Rica is usually in early November. For exact dates, check here or contact a CISabroad advisor at 1-877-617-9090.

4. Do I need a passport or visa? When should I apply for my passport/visa?

Yes, you WILL need a passport to travel to Costa Rica. Your passport must be valid for 6 months BEYOND the date you return to the United States. For detailed passport instructions, U.S. citizens should check the State Department's Travel Site. For the January in Costa Rica program, a visa is not required for US passport holders. For non US passport holders, please see the Costa Rican embassy website for more details. Contact an advisor at info@cisabroad.com for more information.

5. Is there a GPA requirement?

Yes. The GPA requirement for the January in Costa Rica program is 2.5, but sometimes a lower GPA is accepted. If you find your GPA is lower than the requirement, do not despair! Use the "Contact a CISabroad Advisor" button on this page or call us at 1-877-617-9090 to let us know your situation. We'll do all we can to find the right program for you!

6. What are my housing options?

January in Costa Rica uses local homestay families that have been hosting international students for many years. They are thoroughly vetted and evaluated on a regular basis. Homestays are a great way to get to know the local culture and eat delicious, homemade food.

7. Will other students participate in the program with me? How many?

CISabroad programs are not only a great way to meet local and international students, but also students from around the United States. Program size varies each year - if enrollment size is important to you, contact a CISabroad advisor at 1-877-617-9090.

8. How many credits are offered in the program?

For the January in Costa Rica program, a student will receive 5 credits for a Spanish-language course or 4 credits for the Tropical Ecology course. For a more detailed breakdown of program and course options in Costa Rica, go here

9. Can I combine this program with another CISabroad program like intern, summer, or semester abroad?

Yes! A great way to extend your CISabroad experience is participating in another program. Combine semester programs to create a full academic year or if an academic year is just a little too long and a semester is too short, combine a semester and summer session or a semester and January term program. You can also participate in a semester abroad and combine that with a summer intern abroad. To find out more information on the application process for more than one CISabroad program, contact a CISabroad advisor at 1-877-617-9090.

Term: January 2017
Arrival Intensive Spanish January 7
CISabroad Orientation January 8
Classes Start January 9
Classes End February 3
Departure February 4
Application Deadline October 15
Arrival Tropical Ecology January 7
CISabroad Orientation January 8
Classes Start January 9
Classes End January 27
Departure January 28
Application Deadline October 15
Term: January 2017 Price: $3,490 more info

Dates posted here are for reference only and are subject to change. Please do not book flights until you have received the confirmed dates in your acceptance paperwork.

To view expected additional expenses for this program, click here.

Program fees are in US dollars and include the following: 

  • Full-time tuition and fees
  • Homestay
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • Medical and accident insurance
  • CISabroad support services before, during, and after the program
  • Academic advising
  • Financial aid counseling
  • Assistance with travel arrangements
  • Predeparture orientation
  • Airport pickup
  • Universidad Veritas orientation
  • One day trip and one weekend excursion (Spanish Intensive)
  • On-site support
  • On-campus internet access
  • Weekly laundry
  • Universidad Veritas official transcript
  • Carbon offset of travel & Green Travel Guide

CISabroad reserves the right to alter fees at any time due to currency fluctuations and/or fee changes made by our partner universities.