• Costa Rica
    • San José
Academic Year, Fall, Spring
Subject Areas
Agriculture Anthropology Architecture Art History Arts Biology Botany Communications Cultural Studies Dance Design Digital Media Earth Sciences Ecology Environmental Studies Film Graphic Design Health Sciences Hospitality International Business International Relations Life Sciences Marine Biology Marketing Natural Sciences Performing Arts Photography Political Science Psychology Public Health Sports Science Sustainable Development Visual Arts Web Design Wildlife Sciences +25

Program Details

Program Type
Degree Level
Host Family


Starting Price
Price Details
Price may be an estimate, the lower end of a range, or from a previous term. Please see our website for specifics.
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Classes Meals
What's Included (Extra)

Please see our website for all that's included.

Mar 08, 2022
Jun 13, 2022
11 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

On our Semester in Costa Rica program, you’ll live minutes from the heart of San José and study at Universidad Veritas. Choose from a variety of courses taught in English or Spanish, including topics such as art, communications, ecology, biology, environmental studies, business, culture, health, history, political science, psychology, sustainability, and more. You can also study Spanish language at any level, including through an Intensive Spanish program. In your free time, explore nearby volcanoes, venture into the rainforest, hit the beach, and embrace Costa Rican culture in this bustling capital. Pura vida!

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Top private university with a focus on sustainability (which is quite apparent with its lush campus!)
  • Variety of courses taught in English, many with a local focus
  • Exceptional support and fun group activities organized by CIS Abroad and the host university
  • Spanish language courses at all levels, including an intensive option
  • Homestay accommodations ensure you'll be well taken care of, with most meals included


CISabroad Scholarships

CISabroad Scholarships and Financial Aid

70% of all CISabroad students receive scholarships, grants, or discounts to study abroad. We're unapologetically committed to increasing access to international education for all students.

$250 - $500

Program Reviews

4.83 Rating
based on 12 reviews
  • 5 rating 83.33%
  • 4 rating 16.67%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Academics 3.75
  • Support 4.35
  • Fun 4.7
  • Housing 4.85
  • Safety 4.2
Showing 1 - 8 of 12 reviews
Costa Rica Study Abroad
Yes, I recommend this program

I experienced so much! -Spring Semester in Costa Rica

Hi!!! My name is Jasmine Villavicencio and I'm an International Studies and Spanish major at the University of Tampa. I got the amazing opportunity to study abroad spring semester during my sophomore year in college and it was one of the most amazing experiences ever. There I lived with a Costa Rican family who owned a restaurant and I was a five-minute walk away from the Universidad. Each weekend I was always out traveling to a new part of the country and during the school week my roommate and I would check out all the amazing vegan restaurants! One thing I recommend for sure is living with a host family. There, you can really get good advice on where to go and what's safe or not. They also make you feel so at home and welcome and you can really immerse yourself in the language!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Don't be afraid to pack extra things you need or things that are special to you: Snacks, beauty products, crafts, books, etc You're gone for three-five months (it's a long time!)
  • Practicing your Spanish with your host family and locals
  • So many environments to visit! -beaches, waterfalls, mountains, forests, volcanoes, & more!
  • Creating close relationships with staff, new friends, locals, and host families
  • Some-what limited to city life during school days, but plenty of opportunities to travel on the weekends plus classroom excursions
18 people found this review helpful.
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica

I loved my experience with CIS abroad. From the time I arrived to the time I left it was truly unforgettable. Excursions, housing, and academics were excellent. I could not have chosen a better country or time to go abroad! They helped me along the way and gave me the tools I needed. Veritas is a small university located just outside the Heart of San Jose. San Jose is surrounded by mountains and volcanos. Every weekend you can take an excursion to the beach or the rainforest. There are endless possibilities. The academics are great. The department is small and so are the classes so the teachers get to give a lot of one on one attention. The class dynamic is also very flexible. The host families will become like your second family quickly. They not only help you learn Spanish but introduce and immerse you in the culture from food to music to dancing. It will be an unforgettable experience.

What would you improve about this program?
My only recommendation would be for CIS to have an office and more personnel. Other study abroad programs had offices for students to go and it seemed really beneficial. Lisa was amazing and always trying to help us as much as she could. That being said she is only one person and that became difficult. I would say more personnel on hand for students in case she couldn't come would be very helpful.
32 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica

I had an amazing time in Costa Rica, there are times I still listen to the music and think about my time there. I miss the friends I made while I was abroad and it is truly a once in a life time experience. I would recommend everyone to take a semester to study abroad while in school. I think that my favorite thing that I was able to do in Costa Rica was the white water rafting (I ended up doing this twice!) I also loved the ziplines! I highly recommend the ones in Monte Verde.

40 people found this review helpful.
Yes, I recommend this program

A Semester Abroad in Costa Rica

Writing a simple review about my experience doesn't seem possible, but I'll try. My semester abroad in Costa Rica was crazy, wonderful, awful, and amazing all in one! It was so different than just traveling. I actually LIVED in another country for 5 months. Not every day was amazing and happy and crazy. Some days was normal, or even a little rough. But that's when I knew I'm not just a spectator; I'm actually there and living it. I lived in the capitol city of San Jose during the week, attending classes at Universidad Veritas. I took intensive Spanish and some electives. And as intense as those Spanish classes were, I learned absolutely so much. However, I learned so much more at my host home living with my "Familia Tica." These people let me in their homes and treated me like family, and showed me more culture than I could have possibly learned anywhere else. And on the weekends, the oh so amazing weekends, I traveled. I adventured. I explored. With new friends every weekend, I zip-lined through rainforests, I para-sailed over the ocean at sunset, I jumped off waterfalls... The adventures were insane and I couldn't have done them anywhere else besides Costa Rica. And the people I met will forever hold a special place in my heart. I became so close with some students and my housemates, but I also met "Ticos" (Costa Ricans) that it almost broke my heart to leave them. My favorite memory comes from a weekend when I traveled to Nicaragua and went volcano-sledding with my housemate. I fell in a heap at the bottom of the volcano, covered in ash and panting from exhilaration. I slipped when I tried to stand, so shaky but with a smile so big that it hurt my face. My crew at the bottom cheered and clapped as I ran the rest of the way to them, tripping over ash and rocks but never losing my smile. Thank you, Costa Rica, for everything you've shown me. PURA VIDA

What would you improve about this program?
My experience in Costa Rica is amazing, but going through the program CISabroad was the wrong choice for me. There were other programs that other students went through that were a much better choice that had much more organization and better activities. CIS didn't have an office and only had one staff member, who wasn't even available to help you most of the time. It was unorganized, messed up my and most of the other student's classes. On every excursion with CIS, we never knew the itinerary until the day of basically. Our excursions (that we paid for) also seemed much cheaper than the others, like they skimped out, so I'm not really sure where all our money went.
I loved my semester abroad, but CIS made it almost harder than it would have been to go independent. If you can, go to CR through AIFS, it was a great program there.
38 people found this review helpful.
Response from CIS Abroad

We're glad to hear your experience was an exceptional one in Costa Rica! It sounds like you truly immersed and made the most of your semester in a place renowned for such natural and cultural wonders. At CISabroad, we pride ourselves on offering an exceptional value while offering everything you could need and most of what you would want to make your experience complete and fulfilling. We place full confidence in existing institutional support and activities (like those abundantly provided by Universidad Veritas), complemented by our own staff that focuses on delivering our unique cultural curriculum and providing any support needs that may arise. We also tend to limit pre-paid, pre-arranged excursions, as participants oftentimes prefer arranging excursions after arriving and gaining a sense of what's possible. Our staff are always happy to offer travel advice! Again, great to hear you had such an impactful time in Costa Rica!

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Pura Vida with CISabroad

I had a great time studying abroad in Costa Rica. San Jose was a good location because it's the capital and you get to see museums and all the history but you are also in a central location to take buses to beaches/other parts of the country. This was my first time going abroad, so it was so helpful to go with a third party program that would coordinate my housing, some meals, academics, some excursions, etc for me. Now that I have travelling experience, if I were to study abroad again I would arrange it myself (do direct exchange instead of a program) to save money. I liked that the program had excursions at the beginning to help you get acquainted to the culture/country. As time goes on, you get more comfortable with travelling and navigating the language/money/culture, and you can plan your own trips. In my last month, I planned a trip to Nicaragua with 3 other girls, and for our week off we booked everything ourselves and traveled all over Costa Rica. Basically, the excursions are expensive but worth it at the beginning, but once you know how to travel you should plan trip with friends to save money plus you get to choose exactly what you want to do. When students got sick, they initially paid for the hospital bill themselves, and were reimbursed later from CISabroad. My pre-departure advisor Jessica was THE BOMB - so helpful and kind and understanding. She checked up on my several times and was SO much more helpful than my school study abroad advisor. I felt taken care of and supported as I prepared to leave the US.

What would you improve about this program?
The cost includes a couple excursions, and it would have been good to see a breakdown of the excursion costs (transportation, food, activities, etc). There was one time on an excursion we were supposed to have dinner covered by the program but it was not and the students were never reimbursed.
42 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

The Best Decision You Will Ever Make!

Studying abroad in Costa Rica through CISabroad could be the best decision of your life. It was for me! From the application process all the way through your re-entry to the United States, CIS is there to provide all the support and tools that you need. The site director, Lisa, is one of the most incredible humans ever. She is so kind and helpful, and it's so fun to get to know her. All the professors at Universidad Veritas are so welcoming and want to help you improve your Spanish. If you don't speak Spanish, don't worry! Most people know at least some English, and you will have the opportunity to improve your Spanish skills through conversations with the local people. No one judges you if your Spanish isn't very good (like mine was), they just want to help you learn. Living with a host family is a huge benefit, and you can learn so much from them. There's also a lot of other students from the United States, so you will make a bunch of friends!

On the non-academic side of things, Costa Rica is an absolutely stunning place, with thousands of things to do and see. Some of the highlights of my trip were seeing baby sea turtles hatch in Tortuguero, learning to surf in Tamarindo, and snorkeling in Panama and with my marine biology class. You can visit somewhere new every weekend (which I highly recommend that you do), since you can get to almost anywhere in the country via public transportation in a very short amount of time. Most trips took us less than 6 hours via the public bus system. You can also plan your excursions through the travel agency at Universidad Veritas, named Tico Viajero. They are very accommodating and friendly. The wildlife, beaches, and food spots are endless.

If you're planning on studying abroad in Costa Rica, definitely check out CISabroad. They will walk you through every step and will help make your trip the best of your life!

40 people found this review helpful.
Yes, I recommend this program

Study in Costa Rica: A Family Tradition

When my mom was in college, she studied in Costa Rica and absolutely fell in love. Because I had Spanish experience, and because my mom had gone there, I decided it was where I wanted to have my first study abroad experience--and I have absolutely no regrets.

Costa Rica is an amazing country, Universidad Veritas had a great vibe and I had a wonderful instructor for my intensive Spanish class, and my host family was so sweet and considerate. I'm still in touch with my Mama Tica, most of other students in the CISabroad program, and some other Universidad Veritas personnel!

And if you're freaked out about being in a foreign country and not knowing anyone--the CIS onsite support staff are fabulous. I had some housing issues towards the end and the onsite director was very approachable, understanding, and helpful. CIS staff will guide you through every step before you go, and every step during. I fell in love with Costa Rica, its wildlife, natural landscapes and people, just like my mom.

35 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Me Encanta Costa Rica

Costa Rica with out a doubt is a beautiful and culturally enriched place. During my three and a half months living and studying in Costa Rica, there was not one day that I can say I was bored. The day to day routine of course involves attending class, but the classes I took were very interactive. Our Professors not only made Universidad Veritas our campus but the city that surrounded us. We went on many field trips: to Museums; the Zoo; visited the indigenous Bri Bri tribe; the Basilica de Cartago; Professors' homes where we engaged in group discussion and activities (and received a delicious meal).
After classes there were many activities to partake in. During the evenings on selected days we could participate in dance class (where I learned how to Bachata), cooking class and Tae Kwon Do. We also have the option of becoming a Veritas Ambassador or joining the mentor social group where we had the opportunity to meet local students, hangout and share experiences. The night life in Costa Rica is awesome there's a little hangout spot called Los Professionales (right off the Zapote la pista) where a lot of the students (including myself) like to hangout and unwind and have a all around good time, with great music, foosball, dancing, socializing, and great food. It is a great place to mingle with the international students and nationals that attend the local Universities and vive en el Barrio de Zapote.

On the weekends you pretty much go where the wind takes you, if you decide not purchase any of the excursions that come with your progra- no worries! You can still experience those same activities as others (like myself) did, and you'll probably save yourself some money as well. There are buses that will take you all over. From the Pacific to the Caribbean and back to the mainland. One of my personal favorite places to go is Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. It's off the Caribbean near Puerto Limon. It is not as touristy as Tamarindo, and that's what I like about this city. It has a rich African Caribbean influence and reggae, reggaeton, bachata, salsa, cuban, latin and american music can be heard in almost all of the night clubs. Mangos and Johnny's Place are the favs. Zip lining, hiking, biking, national parks, kayaking, camping, beaches, hostels, etc. are all in abundance in Costa Rica, you should never have a dull moment. If you plan on studying in Costa Rica I would say that during the dry season is the best time to go. Plus, you'll be able to attend the largest Carnival in Central America; Carnival Puntarenas.

Now you don't always have to leave the city to have a great time there are plenty of things to do in the city visiting downtown or central ciudad. The many festivals that take place during the year will keep you plenty busy and you eat plenty of good food. A couple dishes in particular that are native to Costa Rica is Gallo Pinto and Casado (frijoles, arroz, platanos, and su eleccion de carne). If time permits vist restaurante Nuestra Tierra they have awesome traditional and fusion dishes.

City transportation is easy to come by; there are taxis and buses all over. They are muy barto for the most part but taxi's can start to get muy caro depending on how far you are traveling. My advice; learn how to ride the bus, it's super cheap about 25- 35 colones depending on how far you are traveling but usually in that price range. (The most I've paid was about 65 colones which is about a $1.30 in USD and thats because I had to go to Hatillo to get my hair done and to take a taxi would be very costly.)

During vacations, during the holiday of Samana Sanata (the city is pretty much no man's land literally) and school breaks I traveld outside Costa Rica with friends to Panama and Nicaragua. Nicaragua is AMAZING! lots of culture and one of my favorite trips outside the country; and if you think Costa Rica is awesome wait till you see Panama it will blow your mind and they use USD as currency. So, if you do decide to travel outside the country of Costa Rica during your downtime or to renew your tourist visa, I would suggest you visit Granada, Massaya, Managua, or Bluefields in Nicaragua or Bocas Del Toro, Panama City, or David in Panama. Also keep in mind Bocas Del Toro is the probably the closet place to travel, as it is only a 6 hour drive to the border of Costa Rica and Panama and about 35 minute drive to the water taxi port where you will board and take a 45 minute boat ride to the island of Bocas Del Toro.

Moving on to my living experience. My living situation could have been better starting off. My first host mother was not all that great, I would have to say this is the only difficulty I faced and it was solved. My CIS Program Director Lisa P. made sure I was comfortable and found me a more suitable family which was awesome! and whom I still keep in contact with today. Choosing the homestay options was a great choice there are many benefits versus that of living independently.

CIS takes pride in its program and wants everyone to feel welcomed, accepted, and comfortable. You will meet a lot of people from all over and it's your job to get in there, break the ice and make friends-life long friends. I still keep in touch with my friends I met in Costa Rica and I've visited those who stay in different states, and frequently hangout with those who stay near. After it's all said and done, you will be happy with your choice in Choosing the CIS Costa Rica study abroad program. I can go on and on but I don't want to spoil everything for you. I want you to be able to make some discoveries on your own.

Bottom line, if you don't do anything in Costa Rica besides study and stay cooped up in your room (which I highly doubt); make an effort to get out in the city meet new people, mingle with the locales and get immersed in the culture. This is the best way to learn your surroundings, learn Spanish, gain first hand experience of the life people live outside the U.S. in parts of Central America, and learn that life can actually be great outside our nations borders. I can honestly say choosing to study abroad was a life changing experience and one of the best conscious decisions I have made in my life.

Pura Vida and Safe Travels!

Note: If you have your program cost covered and the only thing your really worried about is expenses when you get there. A budget of at least $250 per month (assuming your there for a full four months and your choosing the homestay option) will suffice. A budget of $2000 for four months is more than enough.

What would you improve about this program?
The communication process with CIS Study Abroad Advisor, organization of information given leading up to date of departure for program.
34 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers