AFS Summer Programs in Costa Rica
92% Rating
(5 Reviews)

AFS Summer Programs in Costa Rica

Summer community service: This four-week program is an exceptional opportunity to get deep into the culture of Costa Rica while making friends from around the world and knowing that you are making a difference in the lives of others. Your luggage of choice will be a backpack – testament to the nature of the program. Take on rainforest preservation, community development and sustainable agriculture. Your first week of service will take place at an agro-ecological farm community in the province of Cartago in the mountains of central Costa Rica. The second week will be spent in the city of Palmares, Alajuela, a community with a long and proud history. Your 4th and final community service project will be the most challenging of all. This week will be spent in a national park where you will assist park rangers to improve and build rainforest trails.

Summer Language: This six-week program provides an intensive look at Spanish language through both formal study and first-hand cultural experience. By living with a host family, you will be truly immersed in the language and lifestyle of Costa Rica, getting a unique opportunity to skyrocket your learning while seeing the world. You will get a truly international experience by attending class alongside AFSers from all over the world. This program includes 60 hours of Spanish language classes (4 hours per day, 5 days per week, for 4 weeks). Classes will be offered by a professional language school in various locations across the country. Beginner Spanish speakers are welcome.

Summer homestay: This six-week program is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the lifestyle and culture of Costa Rica, becoming a true member of the community by attending a local high school and living with a host family. Learn Spanish through immersion by studying alongside friends in a Costa Rican school, and form lasting bonds with your family. Teenagers in Costa Rica generally like to hang out in groups, spending their weekends going to the movies, dancing, or going to parties at friends' houses. You will most likely be placed in a public school. As most Costa Rican students graduate from high school in 11th grade, you will probably be place in 10th grade. School generally starts around 7:00 am, with a couple of short breaks and a longer recess around noon.

Costa Rica
1-3 Months
Host Family
Starting Price

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

based on 5 reviews
  • Growth 9.6
  • Support 8.2
  • Fun 8.6
  • Housing 8.6
  • Safety 8.8
Showing 1 - 5 of 5
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True Tico's

The 4 weeks I spent at Costa Rica were amazing. I especially enjoyed my stay in palmares since we got to live with a host family. I felt like I had a new sister. We still keep in contact on facebook. The work we did was pretty hard especially at the volcano park on the 4th week but that just made it all the more rewarding. I really enjoyed my time with the volunteer group, as well as the individual time when we got to explore and work in Costa Rica. I hope that if you choose this particular experience you can also enjoy it as much as I did.

How can this program be improved?

Make sure people have proper understanding of spanish before you release them alone on public transportation.

Yes, I recommend
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Un país muy lindo

This was the best experience of my life. I loved going to school even if it was from 7am to 4:30 pm almost everyday. My host family and compañeros were the best and everyone I met was very helpful and kind. They tolerated my inability to speak Spanish and included me during recess and family events all the time. The social scene during my trip was a little dull but I was only there for 6 weeks and it was in the middle of their exam schedule at school so they did not have much time to have fun. Plus, school was very long. I love Costa Rican food too. It's muy rico. Life is completely pura vida. I wish I'd done a year exchange!!

How can this program be improved?

The one thing I didn't like other than not being able to change my program to a year was the 5 day AFS trip I had to go on. It happened the second week I was there so I missed school after finally getting used to it. It also halted the language learning process because I was with my other AFSers. I am not sure if it was mandatory, but while it was mostly fun, I would have preferred to be with my host family and going to school. One problem was that when they us back in our host town, they didn't let our host families know so we were stuck for 30 minutes until our host parents came to get us.

Yes, I recommend

It's a Smal World

While abroad with my program, I began having some recurring health issues and was promptly sent to a larger clinic in the capital city, San Jose. When talking with my doctor, I discovered that not only was he a former exchange student, but on his program, he lived about 20 minutes away from my hometown in the USA! Crazy how small the world is.

How can this program be improved?

Better support staff while in country. My particular committee seemed to be more concerned with petty drama and pointing out everything I was doing wrong, weather it was true or not.

Yes, I recommend
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Life Changing Six Weeks

The greatest six weeks of my life. I spent 6 weeks with 7 amazing people learning Spanish in school, while going out and using Spanish in real life situations. We lived with host families, traveled the country, and became natives. My family, and friends over there will always be with me. On our last night in Costa Rica, all 8 of us created a super bed. In one of the rooms we pushed together two beds together and all spent the night in the room. We sang Taylor Swift, drew tattoos on each other, ate foreign junk food, and watched Easy A. We played fishbowl laughing at things like pina colada, and eventually cried as we realized that we would be going back tomorrow. However in the end we knew that we would remain friends no matter the distance and to this date we have kept our AFS group chat active, keeping everyone updated on our lives.

How can this program be improved?

Overall the program was the greatest six weeks of my short life. However at times the scheduling remained a problem with many of the students left uninformed of plans.

Yes, I recommend
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The best summer of my life!!

My time spent in Costa Rica was the best summer of my life! I was lucky and got an amazing host family. The people in Costa Rica are so friendly and excited to share their culture and learn about yours. I fell completely in love with the country and people. I became so used to the new culture that I had a hard time coming home. I didn't expect reverse culture shock to hit me so hard. I still communicate with my host family at least every week. I learned so much in 6 weeks and the support I got from my AFS volunteers was really great.

Yes, I recommend


AFS-USA (formerly the American Field Service), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is a leader in intercultural learning and offers international exchange programs in more than 40 countries around the world through independent, nonprofit AFS...