CEA Study Abroad in San Jose, Costa Rica
98% Rating
(14 Reviews)

CEA Study Abroad in San Jose, Costa Rica

San José, the capital of Costa Rica, blends urban life and natural beauty with more than 800 miles of coastline and acres of lush rainforests lying just a short drive from this diverse metropolitan center.

Study a wide range of subjects with CEA’s partner universities: Universidad Latinoamerica de Ciencia y Tecnologia (ULACIT) and Veritas University. Each boasts a large international student body with a focus on international business, intensive and medical Spanish language, and health sciences. Courses are available in both Spanish and English.

In addition to study abroad opportunities, the CEA™ Internships Abroad program provides hands-on, pre-professional experiences that will let you to dive into a career field, develop the skills you need, and help you rise above the competition when applying for your dream job.

Interested? Click the “Visit Site” button to see what’s possible!

  • Hands-on learning experiences that transform the world abroad into a classroom
  • Personalized Pre-Departure Advising, including visa and immigration support
  • Courses offered in English that fulfill major and general graduation requirements
  • Comprehensive on-site support, including 24/7 emergency phone
  • Career workshops, Internships Abroad, and Alumni Ambassador positions
San José
Program Type
Subject Areas
Art History
Cultural Studies
Health Sciences
International Business
Service Learning
Sustainable Development
Wildlife Sciences
Degree Level
High School Diploma
Host Family
Online Application
GPA Requirement
Starting Price
Price Details
Included: Personalized Pre-departure Advising; Tuition & Registration; Travel Medical Insurance; On-site Orientation; Housing; Volunteer Opportunities; On-site Staff Support; Excursions and Cultural Engagement; Host Institution Services & Amenities and more. Scholarships available.

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

based on 14 reviews
  • Academics 8.3
  • Support 9.9
  • Fun 9.6
  • Housing 9.7
  • Safety 8.8
Showing 1 - 14 of 14
Default avatar

CEA San José - the ultimate abroad experience

I loved Costa Rica, and I know going with CEA was the right choice. I had a ton of support from the on-site staff, and I knew I could count on them. I took two months of advanced intensive Spanish and I spoke fluently by the end. I made amazing friends and I love my host family. Part of my heart with always be in Costa Rica.

1. Pay for a checked bag to bring sunscreen/shampoo/conditioner - imported stuff like that is expensive in Costa Rica.
2. Don't be afraid to embarrass yourself speaking Spanish. The only way to learn is to try!
3. Visit Puerto Viejo, but stay in Punta Uva or Manzanilla, which are nicer beaches right next door. Puerto Viejo has good night life.
4. You'll probably end up eating some ants at some point. That's not a tip. I'm just letting you know.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

Best Experience in My Life!!!

My semester abroad in Costa Rica was absolutely amazing! Costa Rica is absolutely beautiful and the weather is so nice. I learned so much about the culture and met so many amazing people. I definitely recommend Costa Rica to anyone who loves hiking, outdoor activities, and rice and beans. I went Bungee Jumping and I recommend it when you are abroad. Some locations that I recommend in Costa Rica include: Tamarindo, Puerto Viejo, Pacuare River, Monteverde, Arenal, and Manuel Antonio.

Yes, I recommend

Studying Abroad with CEA

I have nothing but great things to say about CEA! I have been studying abroad in San Jose, Costa Rica for the past three months. The staff at the CEA office are so helpful and really want all of the students to have the best experience possible. Each month we have a cultural immersion activity with allows the students to connect with their host country. I feel so lucky to have been apart of this study abroad organization and am so grateful for all they have done for me!

How can this program be improved?

The program could be improved if the housing was a little closer to the study abroad office!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

CEA San Jose

I loved my experience with this program. One of the classes I took (Revolution, Religion, and Spirituality in Latin America at Veritas Universidad) changed my life in so many ways. My Tropical Marine Biology class was like nothing else I could have taken in the states; we actually went out and did field work in the ocean a couple of times.
Living in the homestay was also amazing. It helped further my cultural understanding and my language skills, and my mamatica was so helpful when I got sick.
The country is also so beautiful, and there's something for everybody. From beaches to mountains, volcanos to waterfalls, there's no shortage of adventure in Costa Rica.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

Best 4 Months of my Life!!!

I jumped into my study abroad program having done little to no research about most things, so I was nervous of course. I was wondering what I had gotten myself into, but it turns out I found that I had gotten myself into the best opportunity and time of my life. I honestly would not change one thing from my experience! Going through CEA was the best decision I could have made, and Costa Rica is now forever a second home to me! I had a wonderful host mom, roommate, and I got to meet amazing people and create friendships that will definitely last a lifetime. All in all, I think that this is the perfect study abroad experience.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

The Best Decision of a Lifetime

This by far was the most amazing, eye opening, soul finding experience of my life. I made some of the most amazing friends and an entire new group of people that i call family. The country was absolutely stunning and there was never a dull moment. The Program CEA was beyond accommodating. The staff was always helpful and assisted with anything that was ever needed. Some times they would even go out of their way to show you how enjoyable cultural activities could be in the area!

How can this program be improved?


Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

CEA is the way to go!

The CEA Costa Rica team is AWESOME! Seriously the best! Leo and Maggie are super helpful and always available! They really care about each student and make sure you're doing okay! Anytime I needed help finding a bus, going on a weekend excursion, or anything they were always so helpful! If you want to learn Spanish and go on amazing excursion then go with CEA in San Jose! I would recommend this program to everyone!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

CEA Costa Rica

This country is simply amazing! Before coming here I looked at going to South America to places like Argentina but, I took a risk and decided on Costa Rica. I can honestly say that it was the best decision of my life! I am now reaping all of the majestic benefits of that risk. The culture is so relaxed and focused on living every day like it may be your last, and thinking of yes before automatically saying no. They are so humble and willing to open up about their lives and country, with lots of stories to tell. Lots of beaches to visit, culturally rich Caribbean side (I place you MUST visit), but also had places like ASOPROLA a community that is sustainable and ecologically friendly. All in all, it is a place everyone must visit in their life, and definitely a place to go study abroad! Follow your gut and go somewhere that has the whole package of an experience abroad.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

Discovery of true paz y pura vida

Pura vida! Studying abroad was something I knew I wanted to do before starting college; I also knew that I didn't want to get behind by doing so. As a pre-medical Biology major, it was a challenge to find a program that offered Biology classes. After a little searching the web,I found CEA. I was so amazed with the strength of the pre-departure help. CEA matched me up with an amazing host family and roommates. CEA's San Jose staff was such a blessing and invaluable tools throughout my semester (helped with activities in the capital and around CR). The Medical Spanish course was great, and I was able to use it there while I volunteered at the Nacional Hospital de Los Ninos (done thru CEA). I am proud to be a CEA alum; my semester would not have been as amazing w/out CEA.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

An Amazing Location For Learning AND Traveling

I loved how San José was at the heart of Costa Rica and offered us the rich culture of the huge city to explore as well as the option to hop on a bus for weekend excursions. The staff at Veritas is extremely friendly with all the foreign students, and they helped me feel like I really BELONGED to the school. The Spanish classes are challenging and, though they are quick-paced, I mastered a lot of topics that I hadn't been able to before. In general, the Costa Rican culture and people are very welcoming, and will make you feel very at home. I really didn't want to leave, because the longer I stayed, the more I realized there was to do, see, and explore! Good thing that many of my Tico and Tica friends invited me to stay with them whenever I chose to return to Costa Rica! :)

How can this program be improved?

I wish the professors at the university held office hours. It was difficult to ask them for help. It was also difficult to find the school nurse who didn't have actual hours. It was only by chance that you could catch him to ask him for a band-aid, or anything else for that matter.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

Best experience in my college career!

Being a pre-med STEM major, I was having such a hard time finding a program that would not make me behind in my hours and would be able to look good on an application, then I found CEA. With CEA, I was able to go to San Jose for a medical spanish and health psychology program that changed my life! Not only was I able to learn spanish that I use everyday at work in a hospital but I also was able to experience adventures like no where else in the world! During my free time, I was able to go ziplining, hike in the rainforest, rappel down waterfalls and go in both the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean. The wildlife and scenery in Costa Rica is like no where else in the world and is absolutely beautiful!

Yes, I recommend

Mae, tienes que ir! Dude, you have to go!

What I loved most about CEA and Veritas University was that they gave you opportunities to travel to different parts of the country through sponsored events they planned. In particular, while on a CEA assigned excursion, I had the chance to go to Bocas del Toro, Panama. It was 30 students and two CEA staff members on our way to the international border where Costa Rica and Panama met on the northernmost side. My initial thought was wow, riding in comfort on a AC bus towards Panama. Once we arrived at the border we were asked to grab all our things and get off the bus. It was a vibrant border town dedicated to selling fruits and merchandise. We walked towards immigration and that's when I realized we were crossing the border, walking! The bridge that led us to Panama was what divided the two countires. Once we all got the go to enter the country, we got on another bus that led us to a small boat town in Panama. The sun had already set and we were not able to see the beauty that is Panama yet. On small boats we made our way like sailors to the main island in Bocas del Toro called Isla Colon.

The classes at Veritas University offered hands on experience that related to topics learned in class. For example, in my environmental sustainability course we went to a self-sustaining biological reserve just outside La Amistad national park.

As this being my second study abroad experience I valued it more because it offered an alternative to a class setting. The classes at the university had mandatory field trips to different parts of Costa Rica. As someone who loves traveling and learning I would give this program 5 stars for an all-around best experience to its students.

Pura Vida

How can this program be improved?

More excursions please!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

The Happiest Country in the World

When I first decided to study abroad, I looked into many programs. I knew that I wanted to go to Costa Rica, and CEA was the only program through my university (Winthrop University) that went there. I am so glad that I went with CEA, because at every step of the way, they were there with me. After the application process, I received welcome phone calls and e-mails. I was in communication with the academic director for CEA in San Jose, and I had already attended the pre-departure workshop at my school. I was so excited to go! I attended Veritas University in San Jose, Costa Rica for the fall semester of 2012. I had the greatest time of my life there. I loved the school-especially the professors. They really care about their students, and the class size was small, which made it easier to interact with them. Some of my professors there have had a big impact on my life and outlook. Costa Rica has it all- mountains, beaches, forests, and the most beautiful wildlife I've ever seen. I love that I was was able to walk around everywhere and didn't need to rely on a car for transportation. Plus, if you want to go somewhere a little further away, buses are readily available and cheap. My program directors for CEA onsite in San Jose were the most lovely people I've had the pleasure to meet. They were there for me when I was feeling homesick or a little down, and they always made me feel better. I bonded with the other students in our group and now have a few lifetime friends that I am so thankful for. You can't top the experience that you get abroad- it is the best time in your life. I matured, opened my eyes and heart to new experiences, and learned many new things. CEA was a big part of that, because they helped everything run smoothly from departure to return. GO WITH CEA!

How can this program be improved?

I would maybe change the requirements for some of the families. I think it is important that in the homestay, the language used in that country is spoken at all times, no English should be allowed.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

CEA Study Abroad- San José, Costa Rica.

This trip was the most amazing experience I've ever had. My host family was amazing, and I was given an amazing roommate that I'm sure I will be close friends with forever. The classes were great and they got us to go out in the city and learn the language first hand. The excursions were great and I wish I could repeat every single one of them.
If you go on this trip though- TAKE TAXI'S AT NIGHT. Don't walk. Trust me.
Also, you'll have a lot of opportunities to meet Ticos (the locals). That was maybe in my top 3 favorite things about this trip and I'm so glad I took the time to make Tico friends. It's good for your Spanish, and your overall awareness of the culture.
The trip was completely amazing and will be something in my heart forever.

How can this program be improved?

If I could change one thing about the program, it would be the dates of the excursions. I wish they would have been more dispersed throughout the trip. All of the trips fell in the same month and it got pretty exhausting. They were super fun, I just wish we could have spread them out a little bit more.

Yes, I recommend

About CEA Study Abroad

With 20 destinations across 11 countries, CEA Study Abroad offers an ideal balance of academics, internships, and adventure to more than 4,000 students each year. Find out where learning abroad can take you by clicking the “Visit Site” button and...