• Costa Rica
    • San Ramón
Academic Year, Fall, Spring, Summer
Subject Areas
Anthropology Cultural Studies Food Science and Nutrition Health Sciences History Latin American Studies Nursing Political Science

Program Details

Program Type
Host Family
Nov 09, 2022
Sep 11, 2022
11 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

USAC invites students interested in pursuing health, ecology, and conservation biology studies to come study abroad at the Sede de Occidente campus in San Ramón at the University of Costa Rica. The Life Sciences, Spanish and Culture Studies program is offered for the summer, semester or full academic year term. Looking to hear the rest of the details? Explore the USAC website.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Study upper division science or honors courses in an ideal location for ecology, biology, and health sciences, in small groups with field experience.
  • Participate in independent research, internships, or volunteer in field-related institutions.
  • Get hands-on experiential learning about local flora and fauna in field study courses.
  • Explore interesting, beautiful areas of Costa Rica on field trips.
  • Enjoy a small town atmosphere with easy access to the cultural, historic, and urban highlights of San José, and to the Pacific coast.


USAC 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.

$500 - $1,000

Program Reviews

4.95 Rating
based on 19 reviews
  • 5 rating 94.74%
  • 4 rating 5.26%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Academics 4.15
  • Support 4.7
  • Fun 4.9
  • Housing 4.9
  • Safety 4.4
Showing 1 - 8 of 19 reviews
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Yes, I recommend this program

USAC Costa Rica

I had the most amazing semester abroad in Costa Rica!!! It's hard to point out one thing that was my favorite because every experience I had, every trip I went on, every meal I ate just kept getting better and better. One of my favorite aspects was staying with a host family, I think that is something everyone who wants to go abroad should look for in a program, as I learned so much about the language and the culture of the country. This location is perfect for all types of people as there is so much to see - you can relax at one of the many beautiful beaches on the coasts of the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, you can hike through rain and cloud forests, and see volcanoes all while seeing many different types of tropical animals and plants right up close.

  • Beautiful country! There is so much to see and do
  • The food was very healthy and cheap
  • The people of CR are so nice and understanding
  • Traveling around the country was difficult - only public buses
6 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program


Studying Abroad wasn't something that I thought I would be able to do in college. Between the Covid-19 pandemic, an intense college course load, and financial constraints, I had given up on studying abroad being a feasible option for me. However, when I received an email about the Summer Session offering in San Ramon it was like the stars aligned. It was the perfect program timeline to fit with my classes, I was able to obtain scholarships and financial aid, and it had everything that I was looking for in a program.
My time in San Ramon was spent immersing myself in the Tico culture, learning a new language, trying new foods, making life-long friendships, and learning every day. One of my favorite parts of my experience was learning about the Costa Rican health care system. One of my professors was an Emergency Room doctor in San Ramon, and through him, I was able to learn about tropical diseases, shadow at the local hospital, and visit a child care clinic in town. It was extremely rewarding to learn from a professional in the field as well as observe for myself.
My time spent with my host family was also one of my favorite parts of the experience. It can be absolutely terrifying to live with strangers, especially when they speak a different language. However, they were so accommodating and welcoming and it truly made me feel like a part of San Ramon to be with them.
I also can't forget about the incredible new experiences I had. I was able to learn how to surf, dance in traditional styles, kayak in bioluminescent waters, see amazing waterfalls and volcanoes, hike through one of the most biodiverse forests in the world, and so so much more. Costa Rica will always have a very special place in my heart, and I can't wait to go back someday!

  • Host family
  • Outdoors
  • Good for pre-health majors
  • A LOT of rain
  • Safety concerns
8 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience

Costa Rica would be a beautiful destination to visit anytime in your life with the gorgeous wildlife and nature and the carefree, pura vida culture, but this study abroad opportunity gave me a unique lens to see the country through that I would not trade for anything. The USAC staff was welcoming, hardworking, knowledgable, and caring and made sure we took advantage of the best things to do in Costa Rica. The classes were enriching and the professors were very passionate. The host stay was really the icing on the cake as it gives you a look into the Tico culture and allows you to make connections with people that will last a lifetime. I would highly recommend this study abroad experience!

  • Amazing Nature
  • Welcoming and relaxed culture
  • Delicious fresh food
  • Insects- bring a good insect repellent
  • Rain- if coming during the rainy season, bring and umbrella and rain jacket
7 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Great Program!!

Had a great experience and I would love to travel there again soon! You will meet a lot of new friends and have an amazing time traveling and discovering new things. There are unique views and foods to try while you’re studying. We went on new adventures every weekend because it was inexpensive and easy to get around on the bus or the ferry. I would definitely suggested to learn Spanish since it will benefit you in the long run. Great county and a great and unique experience. Give Costa Rica a try!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Try to learn Spanish and make sure to have a safe place to carry your expensive items like a Fanny pack!
26 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

I Went To Costa Rica and All I Got Was Happy

I'm a pre-med student, and I really recommend the health-based classes and the medical internship. It was very interesting to see the differences between the hospital here and my hospital back home. I made a lot of lifelong friends during this journey and people back home often commented on my photos saying how genuine all my smiles looked. My homestay family was so incredibly sweet and caring. I couldn't have asked for better hosts. I haven't felt this level of happiness in years and I'm proud to say I am taking 1/4 of the antidepressants that I was when I arrived here.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
I had never been bungee jumping before and I got peer-pressured into doing the tallest bungee in all of Central America, in Monteverde, Costa Rica. Just jump! You won't regret it!
44 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

A new home in San Ramon!

I am so grateful for my time spent in this program in San Ramon, Costa Rica. I had so much help and support from the USAC administration and professors. The classes were only with USAC students, so the intimate setting allowed for a more tightly-knit community as well as one-on-one help from the teachers. I made so many wonderful friends here and had tons of memories in hot springs, waterfalls, sunrises and sunsets, hikes, rainforests, and beaches. Living with a host family that only spoke Spanish challenged me to learn and immerse myself in their way of life, diet, and culture. The weekends were free, so we could go travel around the country during that time. San Ramon is such a homey city to experience Costa Rica! Costa Rica offers so many different climates and ecosystems to explore, which is great for anyone studying life sciences! My campus even had a small forest in the back!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Definitely make sure to bring rain gear! I brought a rain coat, which worked pretty well, but you will still be soaked unless you bring an umbrella. Bug spray and good walking shoes are also crucial! Be ready to walk a lot!
39 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

San Ramon, Costa Rica

This program was amazing because of the focus on health care. I had the opportunity to shadow in a hospital and take classes related to medicine and health care. For students interested in other areas, there were also many other classes focusing on biology and ecology. One of the most enjoyable experiences was living with a host family that allowed me to improve my Spanish by conversing each day solely in the language! Finally, USAC gave me the opportunity to travel to Cuba through a field study. The staff members were very supportive and always available and willing to help students navigate any problem that they encountered. Additionally, USAC had several pre-planned field trips throughout the semester that were well-organized and a lot of fun!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Take advantage of the opportunities to improve your Spanish!
42 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Thank you USAC!!

As it was my first time traveling outside of the country by myself, overall it was an amazing experience! Not only did they make the process super simple, the program was fun and life changing! I love how the classes were small and we were able to really learn and get to know the professor. The country was absolutely beautiful, the onsite staff was really kind and helpful and I would really recommend anyone who is interested in studying abroad to go with USAC!!

42 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers

Hi Trinity, That will depend on the school you attend and the classes you have to take for your Nursing Major at your school. We recommend meeting with your academic advisor on your campus and your study abroad office to learn exactly how specific classes and credits will transfer back. If you have further questions you can email us at studyabroad@usac.edu Thank you! Sara