Costa Rica is the place of pura vida (pure life), a contagious attitude of living life to the fullest. And it shows – Costa Rica is the world's happiest country according to the Happy Planet index. Costa Ricans call themselves ticos, and you’ll often hear them demonstrate their national pride by describing something as muy tico, or “very Costa Rican.” Ticos are generally easy-going, so you’re likely to get along with most people you meet.
Our high school study abroad program in Costa Rica is filled with an immersive homestay and high school experience, and an unbelievable tour of this stunning land. This is your chance to make lifelong friends across cultures and become a member of the community. With its tropical climate, biodiversity, fresh food, and relaxed lifestyle, going to school in Costa Rica is an enchanting way to discover a new culture. By living with a host family and attending a local high school, you’ll get an inside look at this idyllic society.
Gap community service: Spend a semester after high school making a difference in a community in Costa Rica while soaking up the local culture. Get the immersion experience through living with a host family and improving your Spanish, all in the lush tropics of this beautiful country. You will be assigned a community service projects based on your personal skills and interest. 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. Sports are popular among boys, especially soccer, basketball, and swimming, though female athletes are becoming more popular as well. As a community service volunteer, you might participate in social, health, or education projects, work on an organic farm, assist park rangers at a National Reserve, or help at a botanical garden. Upon arrival, you'll participate in a two-day orientation followed by ten days of Spanish instruction, then travel to your host community.
- Immerse yourself in the Spanish language - the best way to become fluent in the second most-spoken language in the world.
- Live with a host family to deepen your immersion and connection to Costa Rican culture. If you’re like most AFSers, you won’t want to leave this second family and home.
- Explore the lush, tropical beauty of Costa Rica and sample some of the world’s freshest fruits and vegetables.
- Make connections and memories you'll never forget with other AFS exchange students from all over the world.
- Become a global citizen. Gain intercultural communication skills. Build your college and career resume. Help create a more peaceful, understanding world.
AFS-USA Grants & Scholarships
The opportunity to study abroad should be available to everyone, regardless of their financial means. Annually, we award scholarships to about half of our study abroad students.