• Costa Rica
    • Heredia
Academic Year, Fall, Spring, Summer
Subject Areas
Anthropology Biology Cultural Studies Ecology Food Science and Nutrition History Latin American Studies Political Science Sociology
Need-based funding, Merit-based funding, General grants/scholarships
Health & Safety

Program Details

Program Type
Host Family
Apr 08, 2024
Apr 17, 2024
20 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Study abroad next summer, semester or academic year with USAC in Heredia, Costa Rica. All USAC courses during the Spanish, Ecological and Latin American Studies program are taken at the National University of Costa Rica. Needless to say, Spanish language and literature, as well as ecology and Latin American studies dominate the course options.

Video and Photos

Diversity & Inclusion

LGBTQIA+ Support

There are LGBTQIA+ friends, colleagues, and allies throughout the world. However, cultural understanding of gender identity and sexuality does vary from country to country. USAC has compiled a lot of resources to help you through that learning process.

Accessibility Support

USAC is dedicated to working closely with students with disabilities to ensure the best study abroad experience possible. You may request reasonable accommodations after your initial application is complete. We routinely receive requests for scheduling, material, and environmental accommodations for the classroom setting, which may include assistive technology, scribes and readers, printed material, and interpretation.



Environmentally-conscious students choose USAC because many of our programs are held in some of the most sustainable countries in the world. There are options to take coursework in sustainability and the environment, as well as field trips and studies where students can leave a lasting impact on their host country.

Program Highlights

  • Explore the cultural, historic, and urban highlights of the capital city, San José; visit the Pacific Ocean, Caribbean, and Bocas del Toro, Panama; and participate in a field study to Cuba.
  • Join clubs, organizations, and volunteer activities within the university community, all of which will help you practice your Spanish by spending time with Costa Rican students.
  • Enrich your cross-cultural experience through internships, field studies, and volunteer opportunities in the local community.
  • Practice your Spanish by spending time with local students.
  • Discover other parts of Costa Rica and neighboring countries on the optional tours.

Program Reviews

4.79 Rating
based on 29 reviews
  • 5 rating 79.31%
  • 4 rating 20.69%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Academics 4.4
  • Support 4.85
  • Fun 4.75
  • Housing 4.85
  • Safety 4.45
Showing 1 - 8 of 29 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

An amazing experience

Heredia, Costa Rica was the perfect studying abroad destination for me. It had the perfect blend of Spanish and ecology courses that provided real-world interactions outside the classroom. My housing accommodation was with a host family that provided me with the perfect environment to practice my Spanish, continuously try local food, and immerse myself in the culture. While Costa Rica’s diverse environment is great for the ecology courses, it also was an amazing way to spend my free time. I learned how to take advantage of the public transportation to take me all over the country and experience hiking in mountains to swimming at the most beautiful beaches. Along the journey, I had memorable interactions with locals that grew my appreciation for local culture. Costa Rica has left me feeling more independent, resourceful, and appreciative to learn about other cultures than my own.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Navigating the bus system. It took a lot of trial and error and getting on the wrong bus and off the wrong stops. Talking to locals and asking them questions saved me from a lot of trouble. Once I got the hang of it, I was able to use public transportation with ease and go all over the country for an inexpensive price!
  • Cultural
  • Transportation
  • Landscape
17 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

An Amazing & Unforgettable Experience

My experience in Costa Rica was great. I met new lifelong friends and gained mentors as well. My professors were amazing and always available for any questions. The staff for my program were tremendously helpful and kind. The trips that staff set up for the students were perfect; they were so memorable and in beautiful, breathtaking places. I would highly recommend studying abroad to anyone who has the chance to do so. I will forever cherish the memories I was able to make on my study abroad trip.

  • National parks are gorgeous.
  • The city of Heredia is a lot of concrete & does not have much greenery.
  • The place is not as advanced as other places in the world (can't flush toilet paper).
75 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Best semester of my life!

This program exceeded all of my expectations. I was impressed with every part from our resident directors to our group trips as well as our professors. Our directors always had their office open if we wanted to just come in and chat, needed help planning a trip, or had any concerns about our homestay or academics. Our included trips were extremely fun, and I always learned something new. My classes contributed significantly to my Spanish fluency, and our professors really cared about us and our success.

  • Beautiful city and landscapes
  • High quality food
  • Public transport not always reliable
108 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica, Heredia

I had a great time while exploring the country. One of my top two favorite places to go was Monteverde and Quepos. I have always dreamed of going ziplinning and finally got to experience the very best for three hours! All while being pretty cheap for all that we got to see and do. In Quepos some of my friends I made while in program went on a catamaran with me and we had a blast, saw dolphins and made the best of our time there. The school program was very challenging for me but overall I'm glad I did it.

  • Great traveling experiences, making new friends, learning the language, new foods, and seeing new animals unique to the region.
  • The class programs can be intense and long, ajd challenging.
  • Traveling is fun but can be very tiresome with the language barrier at first.
150 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Wonderful time in a incredible country

From an incredible host mama and abuela, to a great supportive staff at USAC, I would and have recommended this trip to all my enthusiastic Spanish studying friends. My confidence in the language grew so much after spending four months in Costa Rica. All of the locals were very supportive to help me learn and patient with me as I was practicing. Along with learning the language, the food, nature, and academic opportunities at the school, and country, offered continued to amaze me. I highly recommend the field study classes and traveling while abroad. Every area of Costa Rica was so rich in experience I couldn’t imagine having a better experience anywhere else.

  • Host family
  • Nature
  • Motion sickness in vehicles
154 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Heredia, Costa Rica - My 3 Week Home

I wish my time in Costa Rica could have been longer. I loved getting to know my host family and learning to speak Spanish more fluently with them (I accidentally told my host mom that my brothers died from cat allergies instead of that they are deathly allergic to cats). My professor made course work fun and applicable to everything I was doing while in Heredia. During my three weeks, I felt that I became part of the community in Heredia. I knew the city and walked it’s streets as someone who lived there (even though I got lost many times). The markets were filled with experiences - new food, fruits, spices, souvenirs, art, and more. I learned to dance several typical Spanish dances and practiced them at bars and dance events around the city. I was able to travel with friends and my USAC group to different areas of the country on the weekend to explore the culture and biodiversity. This experience for me improved my Spanish tenfold, introduced me to beautiful locations and wonderful people, introduced me to new culture that made me also reflect on my own, developed a community for me of friends and mentors who supported my growth and I am still in contact with today! I love Heredia, Costa Rica - my home of 3 weeks.

What was your funniest moment?
I was talking to my Mama Tica about allergies and my two brothers who are very allergic to cats (she had a cat and I love them), and I accidentally told her they died from cat allergies instead of that they are deathly allergic. She seemed very concerned, and it was really funny.
236 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

What an adventure!

Completing this academically intensive program that lasted for 10 months was one of my life's crowning achievements and first successes along with my military service as an officer.

I don't think there is any other study abroad country where one can advance as quickly in Spanish as USAC's program in Costa Rica. I took an equivalent of 3 years of university level Spanish in 1 year. The professors and administrative staff were the warmest and most supportive people i've ever encoutered anywhere in the world and our committed to every student's success which falls nothing short of accompanying me to doctor's appointments or meeting me outside of school to tutor me. No hubiera podido hacer este programa con éxito sin su apoyo! Which means roughly "I would not have been able to do this program successfully without their support" to demonstrate the uses of haber which fallows a participio.

Though there are also many ery fun scheduled group activities as well where you can cultivate lifelong frienships and great memories.

I would recommend anyone to study abroad if they have the chance and if they are interested in learning Spanish and about Latin America I would put the USAC Heredia program on the top of the list!

222 people found this review helpful.
Kayla Johnson
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica. Just Do It.

I spent my junior year of college in Heredia, Costa Rica (2016-2017) and after two host families, countless hostiles, and one apartment I returned to the states without regrets.
At the beginning of my study abroad program search I knew that I wanted to be in a Spanish speaking country but the only Spanish I knew started and ended at "Hola." Sad, I know but I was semi determined to actually using my Doulingo app during the summer leading up to my trip, which got me to introductions and colors.
Price and location came next but my heart was sold on Costa Rica after watching the hundreds of travel videos on YouTube. I couldn’t believe how picturesque it seemed and I wanted to see for myself. Most people would probably just book a long weekend but no, I dedicate a full academic year to this hunch.
After spending roughly nine months in Costa Rica I can wholeheartedly say over and over again that the country lived up to its picturesque moments with so much more than I could have ever imagine.
This trip changed my life in the most cheesy and redundant way and I owe it all to the beautiful people I met along the way, my program advisors, my squad, y yo, Kayla.

233 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers