CIS Abroad - January in Costa Rica

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study abroad student outside of san jose costa rica
study abroad student outside of san jose costa rica


Escape from the winter blues to study and explore one of the most environmentally diverse countries on the planet. For three or four weeks during January, you can spend your winter vacation studying, visiting beaches, and exploring the rainforest. Our January in Costa Rica program is not only a great use of your winter vacation, it’s also an amazing opportunity to gain some additional credit hours. You can take an intensive Spanish course designed to improve your language ability. Or maybe you would prefer to take a robust ecology course. Whatever your preference, great options—and warmth—await you in Costa Rica.

  • Course tracks in intensive Spanish or tropical ecology
  • Spanish classes at all levels with no prerequisites
  • Homestays with friendly, local families
  • Hands-on experience with tropical ecology class trips
  • Spend your winter soaking up the sun in tropical Costa Rica


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

Questions & Answers


based on 1 review
  • Academics 4
  • Support 9
  • Fun 9
  • Housing 8
  • Safety 6
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Yes, I recommend this program

Tropical Ecology in Costa Rica

Overall, I had an amazing experience traveling through the CIS Abroad program to Costa Rica. In my honest review though, my program was not very organized. They did do a great job preparing you and making you feel safe and having everything you needed to travel to a new country. However, when it came to planning trips and excursions, class organization, and an accurate description of the program application, they did very poor. First off the application did not give a good description of what excursions were included and not included and did not have an accurate syllabus online. It was very different from what we actually did and that left everyone taking the same class as me very frustrated and we had to work out all the issues together once we got there to still get our moneys worth of an experience. On the website it said that two excursions were included in the pay and that was wrong we only had one included and had to pay any other ones we wanted to do, and they were not cheap. The program coordinator was understanding and did try to help us work through these issues but it still showed disorganization and not much communication on their part. I still had an enjoyable experience after working through these issues and planning my own trips once I got there, but it was a hassle working through the issues that were not communicated on the website description of the program. This was also my first time traveling abroad and Costa Rica was an incredible place to visit. I loved all the people in my program and it was fun to get to know them better and people with a desire to travel like you. This trip made me want to travel more and gave me the confidence that I am able to do that on my own. I also learned that I love the vibrant, friendly culture of Latin America and can't wait to see more of it.

What would you improve about this program?
Update the website to be exactly what is and is not included. Have better communication with the professors of the program and the CIS Abroad program itself to mention what trips are included.
Response from CIS Abroad

Thanks so much for your honest review, Raquel! We're glad to hear that you had an enjoyable experience despite some inconveniences. It sounds like you truly immersed in the vibrant, friendly Tico culture! You may have gathered from your time there that things can oftentimes be a bit more informal than you might be used to in the US, but we're sorry if that negatively impacted your experience. We have updated our website to reflect the excursions included for Tropical Ecology participants - thanks for the insights there!