Escape from the winter blues to study and explore in the beautiful capital of Costa Rica, San José! For three or four weeks during January, you can spend your winter vacation studying, visiting beaches, and exploring the rainforest. The January in Costa Rica program is not only a great way to spend your winter vacation, it is also an amazing opportunity to gain some additional credit hours. You can choose to take an intensive Spanish course, designed to improve your language ability, or a robust ecology course that takes advantage of the nearby rainforest.
January 2021: Tropical Ecology: October 15
- One of the most environmentally diverse countries on the planet
- Course tracks in intensive Spanish or tropical ecology
- Spanish classes at all levels with no prerequisites
- Homestays with friendly, local families
- Hands-on experience with tropical ecology class trips
- Study at a highly ranked private university in San Jose
- Connect with your friendly Global Advisor to ask questions and find the best fit program. Start planning for on campus processes, and apply by the application deadline.
- Meet your Program Enrollment Coordinator to finalize acceptance paperwork, housing, courses, flights, visas, and payments. Attend one our our LIVE pre-departure orientations.
- Fly away! You'll be greeted at the airport (comforting after a long flight!) and experience a robust On-site Orientation and La Vida Local Curriculum with your Site Director.
Why This University?
Located minutes from the heart of San José, Universidad Veritas is considered one of the best private universities in all of Central America. Students flock to the Universidad Veritas for its art, design, and architecture programs, but the university offers so much more.
You can take courses in a range of topics, such as Costa Rican culture, environmental studies, or political science. Study in English or Spanish depending on your needs. If you’re looking to improve your Spanish language skills, Veritas’ Spanish language program is for you. Enjoy small class sizes that give you one-on-one attention, whether you’re a beginner or an advanced Spanish speaker.
Veritas offers many cultural, artistic, and athletic activities so you can dive deep into the local culture. You can improve your Spanish outside of the classroom with a Costa Rican language-exchange partner. You can join on-campus activities, such as dance or cooking classes and intramural sports. Finally, you can get to know the community through local excursions or volunteer opportunities. With 1,500 Costa Rican students and over 500 students from around the world, you’ll benefit from a close-knit but cosmopolitan campus.
Founded in 1976, Veritas is the first private university in Costa Rica.
Accredited by the Costa Rican Ministry of Education and authorized by the National Council of Private Higher Education (Consejo Nacional de Enseñanza Superior Privada, or CONESUP)
How To Choose Your CourseNow the fun part! You get to pick the courses you will take abroad. Review the course information on this page. Once you’ve decided which courses you want to take, fill out the CISabroad Course Selection Worksheet in your online portal.
Course ApprovalMake sure to talk with your home university about course approval and get additional classes approved before you go abroad. For example, if you are taking 4 classes abroad, we recommend getting 8 approved. This gives you some flexibility in setting up your class schedule. Think about courses required for your major, but also courses that fulfill your elective requirements.
Course ApprovalIf you find your GPA is lower than the requirement listed at the top of this page, do not despair! Get in touch to let us know your situation. In many cases, there are additional application materials that you can submit to make your case for acceptance.
1-2 Classes In
3-7 Classes In
Life In San José
Welcome and Orientation
San José is the bustling capital of Costa Rica and the place to learn about the country’s fascinating culture. Food, art, and people flow in from all directions. Likewise, you can use the capital as your launching point to discover the rest of this friendly country. Beautiful national parks, picturesque mountain villages, and relaxed beach towns are nearby and easily accessible. Spend your weekends exploring volcanoes, zip-lining through the jungle, or visiting a sloth sanctuary.
As a CIS Abroad student in San José, you’ll get to know local Costa Ricans (aka Ticos), who have a friendly, laid-back demeanor. Local classmates will show you the meaning of pura vida. Being minutes from the heart of the Costa Rican capital, you can explore the city with ease. Imagine sipping some of the best coffee in the world and nibbling on a churro with friends at a local café.
Chepe, as the city is known locally, is famed for its National Theater, busy market life, and easy-to-use public transportation. There are plenty of international restaurants, ranging from Lebanese to Italian, in addition to local sodas, where you can eat large helpings of gallo pinto, the delicious national dish. Visitors and residents adore the street food in San José or grabbing a cheap and cheerful meal at Mercado Central. After class, you can head to one of the many local theaters, concert venues, cinemas, or salsa clubs. Then, spend the evening with new friends in the Plaza de la Cultura watching the pigeons and a marimba band. It doesn’t get much better than this.
Live La Vida Local
- National Theater: Enjoy the tour and learn all about the history and architecture of this gem of San Jose!
- Coffee, coffee, coffee!: Try some of the world's best coffee in one of the many coffee shops around town, or take the Coffee Tour, where you'll learn about the history of Costa Rica and coffee production in the country.
- Art City Tour: Take advantage of this one night where all the museums in San Jose are open to the public (that's right, they're free!!). You'll also have a chance to see some amazing dance and music performances, as well as buy designer products made by locals!
- Volunteering: Take part in a volunteer project and give back to the community. Paint a school, work with children, or visit Territorio de Zaguates, a local dog sanctuary home to over 900 lucky dogs! Take some time to go play with the pups in this Dog Heaven and help out the organization.
Housing in San José
Costa Rica – Homestay
You’ll really immerse yourself with a homestay! Our experienced homestay families are fully vetted to ensure a safe and welcoming environment for you. Most of the host families (95 percent) are located within walking distance of the university, although students can also use public transportation. Students typically say that living with a local family was their favorite part of traveling abroad.
You’ll need to buy your own lunch, but your host family will cook you both breakfast and dinner. What better way to experience true Tico cooking!?
Inclusions and Amenities
Meet Your Site Director
Welcome & Orientation
On your first day in Costa Rica, you’ll have a chance to walk and get to know your new city. See important landmarks in downtown San Jose, such as the National Theater and Gold Museum, and enjoy the welcome lunch where you’ll try some local goodies! During orientation you’ll learn all about excursions, your home stay, and what to expect of your time in Costa Rica.
Farewell & Re-Entry
Returning to your home culture after being abroad can be shocking to the system, especially as you transition away from living among the lush landscapes and vibrant culture of Costa Rica. In fact, “reverse culture shock” is oftentimes even more pronounced than the initial culture shock you may have experienced, as you will have expanded your horizons and altered your worldview. Plus, Ticos are just a lovely bunch of people and it will be hard to leave them behind. Don’t worry, we’ve been in your shoes, so we’ll walk with you through some of the things to expect and help you process your experience in Costa Rica over a tasty meal.
Dont limit yourself to the more popular tourist spots. There are tons of lesser known places that are beautiful and rich in culture where you can really experience what Costa Rica is all about!
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.
While participating on a CISabroad program, you'll be able to take part in built-in day trips at no additional cost. These trips are subject to change from term to term; listed below are excursions that have run in the past.
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
The mountainous area of Monteverde is dense with tropical rainforest. At an altitude of over 1,000 meters, the trees capture cloud moisture, often giving the area 100 percent humidity. In this reserve, you'll see the staggering environmental diversity from skywalks and bridges suspended 60 meters up in the canopy.
Located on the northwest Pacific coast, Tamarindo Bay is ideal if you're looking for an adrenaline rush or some down time on the beach. Swim, surf, sail, kayak, or jet ski in the ocean -- or ride horses on the beach! Plus, you can visit the leatherback turtle reserves to spot these incredible creatures.
Arenal Volcano and Baldi Hot Springs
Take a hike down to the La Fortuna Waterfall, where you'll be able to swim in the cool water. Soak in the naturally heated waters of Baldi Hot Springs and enjoy the view of Arenal, which is a perfect cone volcano.
Your Support Staff
Travel Tip: We love what we do and want to talk to you! The Global Advising Center is here to help you decide on a program, and complete the Online Application. From the moment you first hear from us be it through a phone call, email or personal visit, you will find that our passion for international education is contagious. We’re ready to launch you abroad.
Travel Tip: When in doubt, reach out! More often than not, locals will respect and respond matching the effort that you put into communication. Practice makes perfect, and leaving your comfort zone means expanding your comfort zone!
Travel Tip: Drink coffee the local way. Dine with a host family. Eat some recommended street food. Drink fresh juice from local fruits. Find that hole-in-the-wall restaurant that will probably serve the best meal of your time abroad (and it will likely cost less too!). Food and drink can be an excellent inroad to getting to know another culture.
Participating in a CISabroad program allowed me to practice not just my language skills but also my people skills. CISabroad was an alternative to my school’s study abroad program where I would have already known most of the participants. Instead, I met people from around the world who had their own goals and dreams that brought them to the program.