Language in San Jose, Costa Rica

Image of San Jose, Costa Rica
This program is designed for students who want to achieve strong proficiency in the Spanish language while earning Spanish credit. Students have the option to spend one or two months living in Costa Rica studying Spanish language.
Location: San Jose, Costa Rica
Language of Instruction: Spanish
Term: Summer
Academic Disciplines: Spanish
Program Type: Summer Non-Faculty Led

  • Spend one or two months studying Spanish language in San Jose
  • Live with a host family to improve your Spanish skills
  • Go on an excursion to explore Costa Rica
  • Earn 3 or 6 hours of academic credit during the summer in Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is known for its natural beauty, diversity of flora and fauna, social and political stability, high educational levels, and efficient infrastructure. The country is a traveler's paradise, with 400 miles of coastline, active volcanoes, forty-six national parks, cloud forests, and rain forests. 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), savannahs, and working coffee plantations.

Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR)

The Universidad de Costa Rica was established in 1843 under the name Universidad de Santo Tomás. In 1940 it was restructured and re-named the Universidad de Costa Rica. It is the oldest and largest university in Costa Rica, with a population of 35,000 students.

Grupo de Kansas

Because of the long-standing relationship between the two universities, KU has an office with two Costa Rican staff members who advise students on matters related to academics, enrollment, and housing. The Grupo de Kansas office is located on campus close to many UCR facilities.

We anticipate next offering this program in Summer 2022.

The Language in San José, Costa Rica program is designed for students who want lower or intermediate level Spanish credit. Courses are taught by Universidad de Costa Rica faculty and students will be in classes with other international students. A placement test will be given upon arrival in Costa Rica and students will be placed in the appropriate level of a Spanish language course. No prior Spanish knowledge is required.

The program has three summer term options: two one-month options for 3 credit hours and a two-month option for 6 credits.

Students on the one-month program will earn 3 credits and students on the two-month program will earn 6 credits. The credits earned will be SPAN 170, SPAN 270, or SPAN 370, depending on Spanish level. All students will take a placement test to determine the appropriate enrollment.

Each month, students will take two UCR courses: a Spanish language course and an elective course. The courses are taught by UCR faculty memebers and will transfer back to KU as one course worth three credit hours. The Spanish language course focuses on reading, writing, and speaking skills. For the elective course, students will choose between a grammar and conversation course, depending on which skill they want to focus on and their placement exam. The conversation course could contain some volunteer work. Students will be in class with other international students from around the world. 

Students on the two-month program will progress in level in the Spanish language course and will choose the other elective for the second month. 

KU students: Please note that the credit earned on this program does not fulfill any major or minor requirement, so Spanish majors and minors should choose a different program.  

Students live with host families during their time in Costa Rica. The Grupo de Kansas on-site staff members arrange host family placements either individually or with another student from the Grupo de Kansas.Most host families have been receiving Grupo de Kansas students for many years, so they are used to helping U.S. students adjust to the Costa Rican culture and are warm and welcoming. Housing includes three meals a day and host families can accommodate most dietary restrictions. When possible, several Grupo de Kansas students are placed in the same neighborhood. Most students use the very reliable, inexpensive city bus system to travel from their home to the university.

The program places students with host families because of the great strides students have in their language ability and it allows them to become more integrated in Costa Rican society and culture. Students consistenly report that host families are one of the highlights of their experience in Costa Rica. 

The Grupo de Kansas office is located on campus close to many UCR facilities with two Costa Rican staff members. While in Costa Rica, students will take a city tour of San José to become familiar with the city and visit important sites of interest. Students on the one month program will go on one excursion and students on the two month program will go on two excursions. Past excursions have included trips to La Fortuna waterfall and Arenal volcano or the beach.

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.

The program is open to students with a minimum 2.5 GPA. Exceptions considered after submission of a petition.

KU Spanish majors and minors should not enroll in this program because the courses earned do not fulfill any major or minor requirement.