Sol Abroad High School Program in Costa Rica

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About

Come study abroad in the Happiest Country on the planet...¡Costa Rica! With the Sol Abroad program you will experience all the natural and cultural wonders of this unique Central American country. The program includes Spanish classes in the mornings, cultural and volunteer activities in the afternoons and incredible excursions all across the country on the weekends. For the Summer Programs, you will study at a language institute, located in the highlands of central Costa Rica. For the Gap Year programs, you will take classes at an accredited private university. Sol Abroad high school programs provide quality academic support and assistance throughout your experience.

Highlights
  • Highly rated homestays
  • Included excursions and cultural activities
  • High-level academic advising and assistance
  • Attentive and dedicated onsite directors
  • Very personable and inclusive program

Time to make summer plans!

Sol Abroad is accepting applications already for summer 2020. All new dates and prices have been published. Sign up today!

Questions & Answers

Reviews

93%
based on 55 reviews
  • Growth 8.5
  • Support 9.2
  • Fun 9.2
  • Housing 8.8
  • Safety 9.1
Showing 31 - 45 of 55
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Ally
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Awesome time in Costa Rica with SolAbroad

For the longest time I didn't want to go on this trip, I thought it was going to be super lame, that the school part would suck and I wouldn't be able to make any friends. However I actually had a great time, and this was easily a life changing experience. I gained a great new perspective, and still keep pretty close contact with some of the people I went with. The school/lessons portion of the trip was amazing and I didn't honestly realize how much i learned until I got home. Since I live in San Antonio I am surrounded by Spanish speakers, & coming back to being able to understand native speakers more easily, and just having a better understanding of even the billboards was awesome. All in all, great trip.

What would you improve about this program?
I honestly have no complaints, it was really fun.
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Jessie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

3 weeks in CR

At the end of my 3 weeks, I felt sadder about leaving than I thought I would. My host family was amazing and the people and friends I met along the way were truly remarkable. While Atenas is a small town (and about 45mins from SJ), it is a great place to live and study. Our houses were farther from town but that just meant you had to plan time at home, or in the town. One of my favorite things was that not very many people spoke English. As someone who has been to Mexico and Spain, it was such a refreshing experience to walk around and actually really need to use my Spanish.

While everyone is different, I think in an ideal world I would have stayed 4 or 5 weeks. By the end of the 2nd week I felt so at home and had gained enough confidence to speak, which made the 3rd week incredible. I just wish I had another week to enjoy the feeling of being a part of the town and to use my Spanish. I have always planned on studying abroad in college but this experience with Sol totally solidified that desire.
This is a summer I am going to remember for the rest of my life.

What would you improve about this program?
They could work a little more on their communication with the students and the school.
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Alyssa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

3 Weeks in Atenas

This past summer I joined the sol abroad program and went to Atwnas Costa Rica for three weeks. I can't say that I've ever had a better experience or ever done something that fun in my life. I love traveling and sol abroad was the perfect program for me. I met so many new friends that I am still in touch with today and I couldn't be happier with the experience that I had. The town life and activities that we participated in were always so enjoyable. We had the perfect amount of time to enjoy experience the culture and city on our own. It was over all an amazing trip and I hope I'm lucky enough to be able to go again.

What would you improve about this program?
I think that I would change the timing of some activities. Some days the activities were cramped together and other days the activities were hours apart.
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Arielle
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My experiences in Costa Rica

This is actually my second time going on a SOL Abroad program. My first was going to Argentina for a month the summer before last. It was an experience unlike any other and the first I had ever had but it was so interesting, exciting, and impactful that I had to go on another program. This past summer was filled with activities so I could not go for a full month, but it the 2.5 weeks I spend there was life changing. I was pushed out of my comfort zone because I had never stayed in a rural area, nor had I ever done some of the crazy excursions we did (like white water rafting and ziplining). All of these experiences, plus the teachers and staff, plus the phenomenal kids, made my trip one that I will never forget!

What would you improve about this program?
I really loved every aspect of the program. The only thing I would suggest are maybe some activities with local teenagers (if that is at all possible).
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CK
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An Ideal Maiden Voyage: a Parents Review

I sent my son to Costa Rica for 2 weeks this past summer. The Sol Abroad Program exceeded my expectations and I am so appreciative to the program directors for giving him such a uniquely positive experience. It's an uneasy feeling sending one's kid off to a faraway place for the first time ever without a parent, but I felt so happy everyday because I received an email immediately when my son arrived safely and then Orlando Murrillo posted pictures on Facebook all the time- so I could see my kid at cooking class one day, dance class the next, and hiking another day, all the friends he was with; In this way, it was a vicariously-lived adventure for the parents, too! My son came back happy and healthy, with many new friends, improved Spanish, lifelong memories of his charming host family and of Costa Rica's beauty. I thought that such a program would be prohibitively expensive and available only to the very well-off. But to my pleasant surprise, the Sol Abroad Program was actually affordable and very high quality-- the kids got it ALL (housing, meals, Spanish class, cultural activities, outings including white-water rafting and ziplining, historical tours); it was an amazing deal. As a parent, I would recommend Sol Abroad, Costa Rica to anyone wanting to send their kid to study (and play) abroad! It was the perfect "maiden voyage" for a young teen who hopefully has many globetrotting passport stamps in his future. Five Stars, and a cherry on top.

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Emily
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I loved It

The second to last day when we went to the waterfall was amazing. It was a really great way to end the trip. I would definitely recommend going back there, because seeing the old mines and tunnels was amazing!

What would you improve about this program?
The program was amazing! My only suggestion would be to make the curfew a little later.
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Lindsay
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Literally "the best trip" he says he has ever taken!

My son, a 17 year old from South Carolina, could not stop talking about how much fun he had and how much he loved this trip. He loved the other students, his host family, the language instructors and the people of Costa Rica. If he could have he would have extended his trip.

The best part, as a parent, was that he came back energized about language and wants to pursue a minor in Spanish. He even said the course instruction each day was reaaly fun and not boring. Coming from any boy of 17, that says a lot!

What would you improve about this program?
He literally could not think of a thing he would change… other than a later curfew of course ;)
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sean
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

pura vida comments

I got to the mother day party. I was exposed to spanish music and become influencd to listen to the same kind of music at home. I loved spending time with my parents at the parts. I just hoped that I could have gone to more similar to this in Costa Rica.

What would you improve about this program?
Need to provide more food
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Maggie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Atenas

Even though Atenas is small, it has alot to offer. When I first arrived here I never thought that I would have any fun in this small city, but I was really suprised. There is a ton of little surprises within the city. One thing to for sure do when in the city is to talk to the locals. they love to talk to you and it really helps with your spanish practice. All the people are so nice, except when they are behind a wheel. If the car is comming just let it go! A few resturants to go to are La Finca and Gellys. There are some of the best and super cheap. Another thing to also do is walk around the city. There are tons of small cute shops to explore and the little market is really cute and fun to walk around. Atenas is very small, but you can have a lot of fun when your here! Also, dont forget to do to the cooperativa. Its one of the nicer super markets and is a great place to get small gifts like local coffee and snacks to bring home!

What would you improve about this program?
I would have to say some the lenghs of the culture activities. Some of them where way to look and some of them were way to short for the occasion.
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Sydney
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Pura Vida Sol abroad !

Sol abroad is a very good program. They pick the perfect location, you truly feel like a part of the town. With,the location they choose you are forced to speak spanish 24/7. I thoughht sol abroad was a great program.

What would you improve about this program?
No, the program is great! If i had to change one more thing would add in some more excursions. So, we could experience a bit more of Costa Rica. Other than that i thought the program was amazing.
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Shelby
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Forest Excursions

With Sol Abroad I took a weekend trip to Manuel Antonio National Park, and went white water rafting the next day. Both were an incredible experience for me. I caught myself smiling without even realizing it. The scenery in Costa Rica was some of the most beautiful raw nature i've had the opporunity to see. Overall, I think it was a worthy experience.

What would you improve about this program?
We didn't have a lot of opportunity to bond with the other students before we went to do cultural activities together. They were fun, but I think if I felt closer to the other students it could have been better.
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Allison
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Atenas is Cool

Atenas has a ton of really amazing sights and experiences. The weather was always nice. The park was a great place to talk and hang out with friends, there were many excellent places to eat and have fun.

What would you improve about this program?
The activities were at odd times and lasted for wither to long or to short.
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Savannah
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

White water rafting

Last weekend, my group went white water rafting near Manuel Antonio National Park. This was my favorite excursion during my four weeks here. My tour guide was so much fun! When the water was rough, he would stand up on the raft and jump as high as he could. At one point when the water was deep and calm, he pushed me out of the raft and into the water. Then he grabbed my life jacket to help me into the raft... or so I thought. He grabbed my life vest and threw me like a rag doll to the other side of the water! The water felt great, and I hope I can go back again before I leave for the US!

What would you improve about this program?
I would require more Spanish speaking with the kids. During the excursions, they talked to us in English, and I feel like I missed out of some interesting Spanish vocabulary.
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Anna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Summer stay in Costa Rica 2015

Hi! I'm a high school student from the Midwest and this summer I went to Costa Rica as part of the Sol Abroad study abroad program. During my stay I was placed in a house in Atenas, Costa Rica with a roommate from the United States and a host mother. The house that I stayed in was absolutely beautiful and my host mother was very sweet. My roommate and I are not native Spanish speakers and our host mom spoke almost no English but she was very patient with us. She was also an amazing cook and served us 3 delicious and authentic meals per day. In the morning students attend school which helps us to enhance our understanding of the Spanish language. In the afternoons we participate in cultural activities such as cooking classes, latin dance classes, and volunteer days. On the weekend we go on excursion where we hike up volcanoes, go to the beach, go ziplining, and go white water rafting. In my opinion this program perfectly combines a small town cultural experience with the tourist type of activities you might do on vacation. There are also many opportunities to explore local cafes, restaurants, and shops with friends in your free time. I had a ton of fun on this trip and I wholeheartedly recommend it to high school students who want to experience another culture, be better at speaking spanish, make a bunch of lifelong friends, and have an unforgettable time in another country.

What would you improve about this program?
Honestly I can't think of anything!
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Robin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The first day and downtown life

The first day of my trip, I had a vague idea of what to expect but still found myself nervous and anxious. I was the only kid on the trip without a roommate, which added to my nervousness. Orlando and the other students came to pick me up at my house and we headed on our way. Not realizing that the walk to town was approximately thirty minutes through broken pavement, grass, and hills, I wore nice sandals which are good for walking.... on flat surfaces. Tip one kids- wear sneakers. We proceeded to downtown, exchanged money at the bank, and enjoyed the rest of our tour through to town. I immediately fell in love with Atenas. The park is fantastic for chilling with friends. There are volleyball and basketball courts, soccer fields, a half pipe for skateboarding, and lots of small stores and pastry shops. All the locals are super friendly and I had no problem making friends in my group of English speakers. That day was the beginning of a great month long adventure that I will always remember!

What would you improve about this program?
While spending time with my host family was great for improving my Spanish, I found it to be a hinderance that my friends and I all spoke English to eachother. While I realize this will happen anywhere, I think it wouldve helped if the use of Spanish was more strictly enforced.