Summer in Costa Rica

Gap Year Friendly

Learn the meaning of "pura vida" this summer.

Study abroad for a summer in San José, Costa Rica, to improve your Spanish, take fascinating courses in English, and check out all that this amazing country has to offer. You’ll live with a local “Tico” family and truly immerse yourself in Costa Rican culture. Enjoy an amazing campus setting at Universidad Veritas, a local, private university with an impressive approach to sustainability. Study Spanish language exclusively, or study Spanish and another course from a variety of topics (mostly locally focused) in English or Spanish.


What to Expect:

  • Language: English and Spanish
  • Average Courseload: 1-3 Courses (5-14 US credits)
  • GPA Requirement: 2.5

Highlights:

  • Great base for exploring the mountains, jungles, volcanoes, and beaches
  • Study on the lush, sustainable campus of a highly ranked private university in San José
  • Cooking classes, dance classes, and sports events to help you meet your local and international classmates
  • Choose from a wide courses taught in English, from business to tropical ecology to photography
  • Small, engaging Spanish classes for all language levels

Program Details

Universidad Veritas

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 3 to 7 classes available

  • Communications
  • Business
  • Health
  • Humanities

Don't see your major listed here? There may still be courses available. Browse our programs by major.

Areas of study which have more than 8 classes available

  • Art & Design
  • Natural & Applied Sciences
  • Spanish

Don't see your major listed here? There may still be courses available. Browse our programs by major.

Summer in Costa Rica at Universidad Veritas offers varied courses that help you earn credit toward graduation while gaining fluency in Spanish. Veritas is a great place to learn more about Costa Rica’s history, culture, environment, politics, and more!

We have three amazing study options for you in our Summer in Costa Rica program!

Course load based on program option choice:

  • 4-week Spanish language intensive: 1 intensive Spanish course course (5 US credits)
  • 5-week Spanish language and culture – 2 courses: 1 intensive Spanish course and 1 elective course (8-9 US credits)
  • 8-week Spanish language and culture – 3 courses: 2 intensive Spanish courses and 1 elective course (13-14 US credits)

Course approval for Spanish language courses: Spanish 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 a two-part 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. Language courses are taught in blocks. At the end of each block, you will be tested and then have the opportunity to move to a higher level.

Spanish Language Courses:

For a list of intensive Spanish language courses, please click here

Elective Courses (in English and Spanish):

All: For descriptions of English and Spanish electives, please click here.

Session I courses offered focus on creative arts, health and wellness, and Spanish. Session II courses offered focus on general STEM, social sciences and business. See this course offerings sheet for more details – and do note that just because a course is listed here does not mean it is guaranteed to run.

Course approval for electives:
It is best to get 2–3 elective classes approved before you go abroad. This way you will have plenty of classes to choose from and some flexibility in setting up your schedule.

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

  • 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.

Homestay in San Jose

Location

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.

Meals

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
  • Laundry
  • Meals
  • Private Room

What's Included

Inclusions

Program fees are in US dollars and include the following:

  • Full-time tuition and fees
  • Homestay
  • 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.

Program Excursions

While participating on a CIS Abroad 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

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.

Tamarindo

Tamarindo

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

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.

Site Director

Lisa Pinheiro
Travel Tip:

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!

Travel Tip:

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!

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

Global Advising Team
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 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.

Hadley Byrne
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!

Joan Perreault
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.

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: $3,890
  • Application Deadline: May 1
  • Arrival: July 4
  • Departure: August 1
  • Price: $3,890
  • Application Deadline: Apr 1
  • Arrival: June 1
  • Departure: June 27
  • Price: $4,290 - $4,890
  • Application Deadline: May 1
  • Arrival: July 4
  • Departure: August 8
  • Price: $4,290 - $4,890
  • Application Deadline: May 1
  • Arrival: July 4
  • Departure: August 29
  • Price: $6,490
  • Application Deadline: Apr 1 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: May 30 (Estimated)
  • Departure: June 27 (Estimated)
  • Price: $3,890 (Estimated)
  • Application Deadline: May 1 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: July 4 (Estimated)
  • Departure: August 1 (Estimated)
  • Price: $3,890 (Estimated)
  • Application Deadline: Apr 1 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: May 23 (Estimated)
  • Departure: June 27 (Estimated)
  • Price: $4,290 - $4,890 (Estimated)
  • Application Deadline: May 1 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: July 4 (Estimated)
  • Departure: August 8 (Estimated)
  • Price: $4,290 - $4,890 (Estimated)
  • Application Deadline: May 1 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: July 4 (Estimated)
  • Departure: August 29 (Estimated)
  • Price: $6,490 (Estimated)
Additional Information:

Language and Culture Exploration, Session 1 and 2: Students may either take one elective course for $4,290 or an elective and a Spanish course for $4,890.

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.