Business in Latin America: Costa Rica

Image of Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica

Business in Latin America: Costa Rica

Location: San Jose, Costa Rica
Language of Instruction: English
Term: Spring Break
Program Type: Faculty-led
Open to non-KU Students: Yes
Fulfills KU Core 4.2: No
Fulfills KU Core 5: No

  • Visit local and multinational companies operating in Costa Rica
  • Learn about current business conditions in Costa Rica and the economic and cultural context of business in Costa Rica
  • Earn 3 credits of IBUS 499

Business students have the opportunity to learn first-hand about business in Latin America by visiting companies in Costa Rica. It's planned to visit local and multinational companies as well as connect with KU alumni working professionally in 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. San José, Costa Rica’s capital, 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.

Three hours of academic credit are granted by the University of Kansas upon successful completion of the program. Students will enroll in 3 credit hours of IBUS 499: Short Term Study Abroad: Costa Rica. There will several pre-program meetings/classes at at least one post-program meeting. IBUS 499 counts toward the International Business co-major and minor and fulfills 3 credits of the IDR for Business School students.

The course provides an interdisciplinary study of business in Latin America with a special focus on Costa Rica. The course will examine the economic, political, and cultural context of business in Latin America as well as explore response to those conditions. Company visits will allow students to examine the practice of business in various industries in Costa Rica by both domestic and multinational companies. Latin American markets offer many opportunities--and also unique challenges. Because of the study abroad component of this course, students will have a unique opportunity to discuss with business professionals in Costa Rica the strategies they use to find profitable opportunities in complex markets.

Students are housed in double or triple occupancy hotel rooms with breakfast included. Several group lunches and dinners are also provided.

The program will start in La Fortuna, home to the Arenal volcano and waterfall, where students will begin to learn about Costa Rica, receive orientation, and prepare for the week ahead. Students will receive a briefing from Costa Rican experts on the current economic, social, demographic, and financial market conditions in Costa Rica and meet with representatives from the non-profit organization that works to conserve the natural resources in the area and uplift the community with educational programming.

The group will then travel to San José, where it´s planned for the group to visit several companies, connect with the School of Business at the University of Costa Rica for some lectures, and meet alumni from KU living in Costa Rica. There will be a city tour, several group meals, and other cultural activities.

SAGE is dedicated to creating international engagement opportunities that meet the needs of all our students and providing resources to support you through the process of studying abroad. Study abroad is achievable for students of all identities including our BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students, students with disabilities, and students with religious/non-religious viewpoints. Before selecting a program, consider how your identities may impact your experience abroad in unique ways and talk with your Program Coordinator about any program-specific concerns. Students with documented disabilities should discuss any accommodation needs with their Program Coordinator early in the planning process.

Additional Resources

Check our Identity Abroad page and resources listed below for information specific to you and other students who may be on your program.

Open to students from accredited U.S. colleges or universities who have a minimum 2.5 GPA. Exceptions considered after submission of a petition.

Melissa Birch is Associate Professor in the School of Business and also a faculty member in the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) at KU. She also serves as the Executive Director of the Institute of International and Global Engagement (KU-IIGE). She has previously led study abroad programs to Brazil and Mexico.

Passport and Entry Requirements

All U.S. citizens must have a passport to enter Costa Rica; no tourist visa is required. It’s recommended that the passport is valid for six months beyond the return date. For students who need to apply for an adult passport, please view the processing times and request one soon. KU Study Abroad & Global Engagement has a Passport Center where students can apply for a U.S. passport.

Non-U.S. citizens are responsible for understanding their entry requirements. Read more about visas and entry requirements on the website of the Embassy of Costa Rica in Washington D.C. Most students will meet the visa waiver requirement of having a visa issued from the U.S., but also must meet the requirement of having a valid passport for six months beyond the return date. Please carefully read the information on the website.