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Bilingual Spanish Language & Research Intensive for Health Majors

Bilingual Spanish Language & Research Intensive for Health Majors
Students on this program improve their Spanish language skills and learn about Costa Rican society. Research opportunities in exercise science and community health are available.
San Jose, Costa Rica
Language of Instruction: 
Academic Disciplines: 
Community Health
Exercise Science
Program Type: 
Summer Non-Faculty Led
Research Abroad
  • Take Spanish classes at the Universidad de Costa Rica, the largest university in Costa Rica
  • Engage in health-related research with UCR faculty
  • Earn HSES and Spanish KU credit 
  • Choose between the one month and two month programs
Program Summary: 

The goal of the program is to help students improve their language skills, become familiar with Costa Rican culture, and prepare future health care practitioners to work in programs that serve Spanish speakers. While in Costa Rica, students will take an intensive Spanish language course at the Universidad de Costa Rica and live with a host family to further practice their language skills and be immersed in Costa Rican culture. Students can choose between two program lengths: one or two months.

Students with some Spanish proficiency can engage in exercise immunology research with Exercise Science faculty at the Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR). Students with no Spanish proficiency can participate in human movement analysis research with other faculty at UCR. Read more about the Pattern Recognition & Intelligent Systems Lab (PRIS) and the Center for Research in Human Movement Sciences lab (CIMOHU) at UCR here and here.


Costa Rica

Costa Rica is known for its natural beauty, extraordinary diversity of flora and fauna, social and political stability, high educational levels, and efficient infrastructure and services. The capital of San José is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city. It lies in the Central Valley on a plain surrounded by large forested mountain ranges, some of which include active volcanoes, green savannahs, and working coffee plantations.

Universidad de Costa Rica 

The Universidad de Costa Rica is the oldest and largest university in Costa Rica, with a population of 35,000 students. The University of Kansas-Universidad de Costa Rica exchange program, initiated in 1958, is the oldest inter-university exchange of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. 

Academic Information: 

The Spanish credit earned on this program does not fulfill any part of the Liberal Arts & Sciences language requirement, the Spanish minor, or the Spanish major. This program is designed for students who do not need to progress in the Spanish course sequence, but want to achieve strong proficiency in the Spanish language and conduct health related research.

Three, six or nine hours of academic credit are granted by the University of Kansas upon successful completion of the program. Students participating on the one-month program will enroll in three credit hours of Spanish language. Students participating on the two-month program will enroll in six credit hours of Spanish language. Depending on the student’s language level, the Spanish credits will be SPAN 170, SPAN 270, or SPAN 370. All students will have the option to participate in research for 3 credits of HSES 475 Undergraduate Research in Health, Sport, and Exercise Science.


Students will live with host families. The homestay is designed to help students improve their Spanish language proficiency and immerse them in Costa Rican life. Three meals are provided daily. Most students use public transportation to get to UCR. 

Life Abroad: 

KU has a Grupo de Kansas office which is located on campus close to many UCR facilities. Two on-site coordinators work in the office with all KU programs.  

Students will take a city tour of San José to become familiar with the city and visit important sites of interests. Students on the one-month program will take one excursion and students on the two-month program will take two. Examples of previous excursions include the beach and La Fortuna waterfall, Arenal volcano, and hot springs.

Students on the two-month program with sufficient language ability may be able to volunteer in the San José community. If this is of interest, students can speak with the on-site coordinators upon arrival to discuss options. 


Open to all KU students with preference given to health-related fields of study. Minimum 2.5 GPA required. Exceptions considered after submission of a petition.


Study Abroad Information Center
To learn more about your study abroad options, we encourage you to visit the Study Abroad Info Center (105 Lippincott Hall). The Study Abroad Info Center offers walk-in advising for current and prospective students. Drop by to learn more about program options, make an appointment with a study abroad program coordinator, get information on scholarships and financial aid, and talk to returned study abroad students. We also encourage you to explore the resources available on our website to learn more about the application process, KU Core Approved programs, and the cost of study abroad. 

Study Abroad Information Center
Lippincott Hall, Room 105
1410 Jayhawk Boulevard
Hours: Monday - Friday. 9AM - 5 PM
Contact: studyabroad@ku.edu

Study Abroad Financial Advising
The Office of Study Abroad has weekly 'You Can Afford to Study Abroad' Financial Aid and Scholarship Info Sessions/Open Meetings on Wednesday afternoons at 4:00 pm and Thursday afternoons at 2:00 pm in the Info Center (105 Lippincott Hall). The financial aid officer will be happy to take any questions and can offer individual advising at the end of sessions for specific concerns. For those that cannot attend the weekly Info Sessions due to scheduling conflicts, we also offer appointments for financial planning as well as financial aid and scholarship advising for students. Please visit 108 Lippincott Hall or call 785-864-3742 to set up an appointment.


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9th among public universities in the country for high quality, low cost study abroad programs — U.S. News & World Report
Longest-running exchange program in Western Hemisphere (begun in 1958) between KU and University of Costa Rica
18th in the nation among public universities for undergraduate participation in study abroad — Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange
28.1% of KU undergraduate students study abroad prior to graduation.
KU students who study abroad graduate in four years at twice the rate of students who do not study abroad
More than 160 study abroad programs in 75 countries, with instruction in all disciplines and 20+ languages
Students can study abroad for an academic year, semester, summer, spring break, or winter break
Programs include international study, internships, service, and research opportunities
Students participating in semester, academic year, and select summer programs fulfill Goal 4.2 of the KU Core curriculum
Students can fulfill major, minor, certificate, elective, and KU Core curriculum requirements abroad
Programs are available for students in every major at KU
Financial aid is applicable to study abroad programs, and most KU scholarships and grants can be applied to study abroad
The Office of Study Abroad and many academic departments offer scholarships to qualified KU students
By studying abroad, students gain a global perspective on the world and strengthen their career opportunities
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times