Advance your health care career with Spanish fluency.
Spanish for Health Professionals in Costa Rica is ideal for students in the health sciences looking to widen their career options. Universidad Veritas offers health courses taught in English and a Spanish-language course focused on health-related vocabulary so you can learn to interact with Spanish-speaking patients. In your free time, explore nearby volcanoes, go zip-lining in the rain forest, and get to know Costa Rican culture while sipping some of the best coffee in the world with classmates at a local café! Spend five weeks of your summer studying Spanish (at any level) and health care in a unique and hands-on learning environment. Live with a local family and explore the markets, restaurants, and salsa clubs of San José.
What to Expect:
Language: English and Spanish
Average Courseload: 2 Courses (8-9 US credits)
GPA Requirement: 2.5
- Study at a highly ranked private university in Costa Rica
- Multiple healthcare-focused courses taught in English are available
- Cooking classes, dance classes, and sports events that help you bond with your classmates
- Spanish-immersion courses at all levels with no prerequisites
- Practice your Spanish outside the classroom by living with a local family and talking with Ticos as you live in San José
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)
Areas of study with fewer than 3 classes available
Don't see your major listed here? There may still be courses available. Browse our programs by major.
Areas of study with 3 to 7 classes available
Spanish for Health Professionals in Costa Rica lets you learn career-oriented Spanish while also taking a health-related course taught in English. This 5-week program takes place at Universidad Veritas, a private university in San José, the capital city of Costa Rica.
Course approval for Spanish language:
When selecting a Spanish-language course, choose the one whose description best reflects your current abilities. Keep in mind that you don’t need to know any Spanish to participate in this program. 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.
Course approval for English electives:
Before you go abroad, it is best to get 2–3 elective classes approved. This way you will have some flexibility in setting up your schedule.
Choose one Spanish-language course and one English health and human development course.
SPANISH LANGUAGE COURSES (4 weeks)
SSP 141 Español Básico para Profesionales de Salud (Basic Spanish for Health Professionals)
This course is designed for health personnel with no Spanish-language experience. Through simulations, you will acquire the language skills you need for basic communication with Spanish-speaking patients.
SSP 241 Español Intermedio para Profesionales de Salud (Intermediate Spanish for Health Professionals)
This course is designed for health personnel who have taken a minimum of 100 elective hours of Spanish as a second language. Through simulations of specific situations, you’ll deepen your knowledge of medical-related Spanish for better communications with Spanish-speaking patients.
SSP 341 Español Avanzado para Profesionales de Salud (Advanced Spanish for Health Professionals)
This course is designed for health personnel with advanced Spanish who need to raise their linguistic competency. The goal is to leave you capable of communicating more effectively and fluently with your Spanish-speaking patients and their families.
HEALTH AND HUMAN DEVELOPMENT ELECTIVE COURSES (IN ENGLISH, 5 weeks)
HIS-3293 Costa Rican Health Care System and Tropical Medicine (offered in Sessions 1 & 2)
Costa Rica´s socialized health care system has achieved excellent health indicators. This course focuses on the history and development of the public health care system within the context of the Costa Rican socio-political and economical situation. It emphasizes how the system actually works and highlights both its strength and its weaknesses. Also fundamental to understanding the system is the fact that Costa Rica is a tropical country, so you will learn about the prevention and transmission of tropical diseases.
HHD-1020 Physical Therapy and Rehab Exercises for Common Sports Injuries (offered in Session 1)
This course comprises basic concepts of human anatomy, an overview of the most common injuries and illnesses that require physical therapy, and an introduction to the tools and methods used to treat them. There will be lectures on theoretical concepts and also laboratory practice for a hands-on experience of therapy techniques. At the end of the course you will have general knowledge of various areas of expertise, and of techniques such as massage therapy, electrotherapy, and therapeutic exercises, among others.
HHD- 1050 Holistic Health Approaches (offered in Sessions 1 & 2)
This course introduces basic concepts in complementary alternative medicine. You will explore and evaluate alternative approaches and philosophies to personal health and wellness. Among the topics are homeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, herbal and nutritional therapies, massage, chiropractic, electromagnetic therapy, and breathing techniques and exercises.
PSY-2200 Health Psychology (offered in Session 1)
The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Today’s health care professionals have to approach health as a bio-psycho-social concept. Whether doctor, nurse, or physiotherapist, you must have a general understanding of Health Psychology—the study of how biology, behavior, and social context influence health and illness. This allows an integral approach to your patients. We will discuss some of the most common topics related to Health Psychology and pertinent to practice in the health care professions.
Why Life in San José
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
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!
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.
Homestay in San Jose
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
- Bed linens
- CommuteWalkingPublic Transportation
- Private Room
Program fees are in US dollars and include the following:
- Full-time tuition and fees
- Breakfast and dinner
- Medical and accident insurance
- CIS Abroad support services before, during, and after the program
- Academic advising
- Financial aid counseling
- Assistance with travel arrangements
- Predeparture orientation
- Airport pickup
- Universidad Veritas orientation
- On-site support
- On-campus internet access
- Weekly laundry
- One day and one weekend excursion
- Universidad Veritas official transcript
- La Vida Local cultural program
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 Program
Though you’re not an astronaut returning from space, re-entering your home culture after being abroad can be shocking to the system. We’ll walk you through some of the things to expect, rehash your time abroad so that you can remember the highlights and, yep, we’ll feed you again as part of our farewell to Costa Rica.
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.
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.
Your Support Staff
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 text, phone call, email or personal visit—you will find that our passion for international education is contagious. We’re ready to launch you abroad.
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!
Expect the unexpected! Sometimes culture shock is stronger in countries where you expect things to be more similar to your home country and environment. Traveling abroad is an excellent way to learn more about your own culture, habits, style, and adaptability.
Dates & Prices
ADVISOR TIP: Please WAIT to book flights until you have received confirmed dates in your acceptance paperwork. Dates posted here are subject to change.
- Application Deadline: Apr 1
- Arrival: June 1
- Departure: June 27
- Price: $4,990
- Application Deadline: May 1
- Arrival: July 4
- Departure: August 8
- Price: $4,990
- Application Deadline: Apr 1 (Estimated)
- Arrival: May 23 (Estimated)
- Departure: June 27 (Estimated)
- Price: $4,990 (Estimated)
- Application Deadline: May 1 (Estimated)
- Arrival: July 4 (Estimated)
- Departure: August 8 (Estimated)
- Price: $4,990 (Estimated)
As with all study abroad programs, you should count on a few additional expenses.
CIS Abroad reserves the right to alter fees at any time due to currency fluctuations and/or fee changes made by our partner universities.