What to Know Before You Study in Costa Rica

Unique study abroad opportunities abound in Costa Rica because of its commitment to conservation and human rights. Students are also lured by the country’s natural beauty. Costa Rica is small, but opportunities there are as varied as its landscape.

Education System in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has five state-funded universities, more than a dozen private universities and scores of private language schools.

The state-funded universities and the majority of private universities are located in and around San Jose, the capital. Language schools are located throughout the country but tend to be in more exotic locations, such as on the coast or in the rainforests. Some can be found in urban areas.

While the universities offer traditional course programs, they also provide students with the opportunity to study specific areas of interest. These include economics, human rights, biology and ecology.

You also will find plenty of additional benefits to studying abroad in Costa Rica. Many institutions offer field trips, free admittance to cultural events and the opportunity for a homestay with a Costa Rican family.

Application and Admissions to Study Abroad in Costa Rica

The application and admissions process varies between state-funded and private universities. The state-funded schools are more selective and are considered prestigious.

The best way to learn about the admissions process to study abroad in Costa Rica is to contact the institution. If you attend a university with an office of international studies, you can contact that office for more information about meeting the standards for admission and applying to study abroad in Costa Rica.

Wherever you apply, you will likely need to include certified translations of your transcript and other personal documents.

Tuition and Cost

Tuition for visiting students at state-funded universities will vary depending on the program and course of study. Students can expect to pay between US $5,000 and $6,000 per semester. This includes tuition, housing, most meals and school-related trips. Living expenses range from $500 to $1,500 per month. Tuition at private universities is more expensive and ranges from US $10,000 to $20,000.

Language schools charge by the week. Prices range from about US $250 to $400, depending on the intensity of the course.

Visa Requirements to Study Abroad in Costa Rica

  • Students who want to study in Costa Rica for one year or less must obtain a temporary student visa. This permit can be renewed each year and does not allow a student to work.
  • To obtain this visa, a student must supply a passport, photos and various documents. Contact the Costa Rican immigration department for more information.

Education has been a primary focus in Costa Rica since the country declared its independence from Spain in 1821. When you study abroad in Costa Rica, you can advance your studies and learn Spanish, all while admiring the stunning views.