Study Abroad at Pitzer in Costa Rica

Video and Photos

students sitting in a circle on grass
students sitting in a circle on grass
students walking on campus
students walking on campus
sign in the forest
sign in the forest


Join Pitzer in Costa Rica. Students spend the first month in San José studying at the Institute for Central American Development Studies (ICADS), then move four hours southwest of San José to land Pitzer College owns in the tropical rainforest.

A wide range of study trips are available to enhance the curriculum. Destinations change from semester to semester but possible trips include:
- Study Trip to Nicaragua
- National Parks of Costa Rica
- Marine Ecology in Bocas del Toro, Panama
- Sierpe River

Independent study options are also available in Costa Rica Research Fields.

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Questions & Answers


based on 1 review
  • Academics 7
  • Support 8
  • Fun 6
  • Housing 4
  • Safety 8
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Izzy Weisz Go Overseas Headshot
Yes, I recommend this program

True, remote immersion

The Pitzer in Costa Rica program -- where do I even start! The semester is broken up into two sections; for the first month, the group lives in San Jose (the capital) and goes to school with other international students. My group was 22 people, and about half were specifically on the Pitzer program. We all had homestays near the school. San Jose is smoggy and not particularly culturally rich, but the Spanish classes are good and you spend a week in Nicaragua. That was definitely a highlight. After the month in San Jose, the Pitzer students have a week of "Fall Break" in Panama, staying at a few different places in Bocas del Toro on the Caribbean, snorkling around, and having an absolute ball. Another highlight. We then went to the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and were placed in new homestays. Students go to "school" at an ecological reserve, and have a new teacher each week. The families you live with all live along a highway, about 45 minutes up above Dominical (a beach town) in the rainforest. The families are PHENOMENAL. Truly the best people. I was unaware of how remote the living situation would be, and felt isolated. You spend the majority if the time either at school or, particularly when during the last 6 weeks you have an independent project, with your family. There aren't many options for social interaction because getting anywhere is difficult. Barely anything is in walking distance, and the public transportation is weak. The bottom line is: this program is great for environmental majors as you get more than a semesters worth while abroad, and great for Spanish. The homestays are a blessing and a curse, because you feel truly immersed but don't have much of a choice in terms of how you spend your time and with whom. If you have a good group of fellow Pitzer students with you, you're set. But you don't find out who else is doing the program until after you've signed up. Pitzer strongarms you into choosing a program that they run, because they want the money of course, and also doesn't disclose the group or many of the details. All in all, I had a transformative experience and wouldn't trade it for the world, but I have a bone to pick with how Pitzer handles the abroad process.