Costa Rica: Heredia - Spanish Language, Ecological, and Latin American Studies

Video and Photos

About

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.

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.

Preparing to Study Abroad in 2021

We are planning for 2020-21 programs to proceed abroad. Learn more about how we are preparing for our students to enjoy a safe and meaningful experience overseas. You can also find a variety of helpful COVID-19 resources for students and families.

Scholarships

USAC Scholarships and Financial Aid

USAC awards over $2 million in scholarships and discounts each year to assist students with their study abroad expenses.

Value
$500 - $1,000

Questions & Answers

Reviews

9.33 Rating
based on 24 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 79.17%
  • 7-8 rating 20.83%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Academics 8.2
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9.4
  • Housing 9.5
  • Safety 8.7
Showing 9 - 16 of 24
Default avatar
John
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Heredia Costa Rica

Ton of fun. Loved being there. Spanish classes were a bit easy, but the science classes were top notch. If you go bring a small backpack, rain jacket and umbrella, stylish clubbing clothes, good headphones, and a outdoor speaker will make you very popular. Jaco is a tourist trap but it can be very fun.

If you want to go to Costa Rica for the nature, Heredia is right next to San Jose and it is very urban.
From 6am to 9pm you are safe. Anytime afterwords keep an eye out, I had a box of wine stolen from me and 3 knives pulled, And then one night at 2am 2 men tried to mug me. Keep your wits and stay in groups at night.

What would you improve about this program?
Get better science classes and have more activities.
Default avatar
Brian
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Heredia or Puntarenas. Which to choose.

I lived in both Heredia and Puntarenas, Costa Rica for roughly 5 months each while studying with the USAC organization and this heavily influenced my opinion on each program as I was able to see the pros and cons of each program. Puntarenas has a local facility that only teaches to Americans while in Heredia you will be attending a local University where the Costa Ricans study. If you genuinely want to learn Spanish then this alone should deter you from Puntarenas. The moment you enter the USAC building in Puntarenas you will only hear English from the students, and I promise you that this will not change not matter what group enters the program. Secondly the social scene in Puntarenas was severely lacking. It was nearly impossible to go out to bars to meet people unless you went out during a special event where there was a DJ. The bars in Heredia had more people during the weekday than the Bars in Puntarenas did on the weekends. Lastly, the university course work in Puntarenas was a joke. I never had homework nor did I feel I was pushed to truly learn the language. It was high school all over again. The instructors in Heredia will give you homework, they will make you work, but more importantly, they will make you learn the language. What my recommendation boils down to is... If you have a strong desire to meet other Costa Ricans while truly learning the language then I would steer you away from Puntarenas and towards Heredia. If you are a person that wants to enjoy a semester away from the states with very easy coursework, nice weather, and a stress-free environment then I would recommend Puntarenas.

Default avatar
Alexandra
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Experience of My Life

This program literally changed my life. USAC is absolutely perfect for your first international experience because they handle almost all of the details that make travel difficult. I felt so supported and comfortable through the entire program, which allowed me to make friends and memories that will last my entire life. My time in Heredia inspired me to pursue more opportunities abroad in the future and changed the way I see the world and myself. Go in with an open mind and you will absolutely love Costa Rica and USAC!

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing I can think of would be more opportunities to interact with local students, but there were already quite a few.
Default avatar
Aly
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

USAC Heredia-Pura Vida

I absolutely loved my time in Costa, Rica. Heredia was a really good option for academics but I wish I had known how much time my internship was going to take! Still a really good experience.

The host families are hands down the best part of this program. They cook for you and really help with acquiring the language.

The town is a little boring but you can always find an adventure. Definitely go on the field trips.

What would you improve about this program?
Definitely pack bug spray and make sure you pay attention to the weather so you know what to pack.
Default avatar
Natalie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

my home away from home

Studying abroad in Heredia, Costa Rica was one of the best decisions I could have possibly ever made. Every minute of everyday felt like a dream come true. I lived an amazing adventure for several months that I could never possibly forget. Costa Rica itself has amazing places to see, very kind and humble locals, delicious food! I spent nearly every weekend out exploring and trying new things I never would have done! I went bun-jee jumping with the most peaceful views in Monte Verde, hiked up to miradores that had amazing views of the cities, laid on the beach for hours at a time enjoying the sun and the amazing views Costa Rica offers, rode horses along breathe taking rain-forests, zipplined nearly a million times in several different parts of Costa Rica, repelled down water falls, spend hours dancing to latin music at local clubs, and made some of the most amazing and unforgettable friendships and memories that I wouldn't trade for the world. My experience in Costa Rica would have never been the same without my USAC family, each and every one of them hold a special place in my heart. My mama tica y mi hermana tica who literally treated me like their own! The program directors Dehalma and Carlitos were more than amazing. They always went above and beyond to make sure you were happy and having a great time. The professors were all fantastic, you learn so much in so little time!! I found myself completely in love with Costa Rica and wishing I was a local. When it was time to finally go home I as well as most of the USAC students that I studied with started crying. I did not want it to end. Even now, 6 months later my experience never leaves my mind. I miss everyone and everything so so much!

Default avatar
Jacob
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great opportunity

My experience with USAC program in Heredia, Costa Rica was overall great. I think the program lacked plan Bs when it came to group trips. It was also evident that they focused a lot more on the semester program which was noticeable when I studied there for a summer program. The staff was very friendly, my host family was amazing, and the social life was great. Overall, it was a life changing experience and I would definitely go back.

What would you improve about this program?
The organization. It seemed as not a lot was organized and no one was ever on time... Ever.
Default avatar
Casey
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Not just an experience, a lifestyle.

I stepped off the plane as an American but when I got back on I don't know what I was. The Costa Rican lifestyle had changed me within weeks, so much to make me extend from a semester to a year long program. Everyone is so happy and carefree and as you're stressing out about what homework you have to do they're there to tell you "tranquila" or "tranquilo" if you're a boy. There, the people have coffee time where you sit around with family drinking the best coffee you'll ever taste and spend time with eachother talking about your day, something that seems to be lost in U.S. Pura vida, or pure life, a common saying you'll learn in the first few days, is Costa Rica in a nutshell. And immersing yourself in a culture will be the very best thing you do for yourself. You will gain a new way of looking at or doing things, like for me I became a lot more green. In Costa Rica they hang their clothes in the sun for them to dry and open the curtsins instead of using the lights. You will want to travel and see more. You will learn how to make new foods, like Gallo pinto (which at first you may not like but don't worry, it'll grow on you). You will speak another language. You will feel like you have become one of them. Maybe you will stay a few years, like I did. And maybe just maybe when you're least expecting it you will fall in love with your host brother's best friend and marry him, like I did. Study abroad, you won't regret it.

What would you improve about this program?
I would have liked if my classes at the university were with Costa Rican students. The classes were with all the people from my program which was ok because I made great friends but I think I would have caught on to the language faster if I hadn't been in classes with all American students. Being with the natives would have forced me to speak Spanish.
Default avatar
Emily
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

USAC Heredia was awesome!

Dahalma and Carlitos are the best program directors ever. My host family was great, but Dahalma and Carlitos were there for me whenever I needed. All classes were great! Especially cooking and dance! Naranjo's film class was a lot of fun--lots of great films. Gustavo was a great Track 4 and Novel professor. The program field trips were so much fun. Highly suggest the program trip to Nicaragua. Nicaragua was beautiful, there were so many activities included in the $600 cost, you get to hang out with Dahalma and Carlitos all week, and it was nice to travel without having to figure anything out (Dahalma and Carlitos did all of that). Highly suggest this program! I improved my Spanish and can call myself bilingual now :)

What would you improve about this program?
Take classes with Ticos! Invite Ticos to take dance class with us.