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Programs : Brochure

This page is the brochure for your selected program. You can view the provided information for this program on this page and click on the available buttons for additional options.
  • Locations: Alajuela, Costa Rica
  • Program Terms: Summer, Summer I, Summer II
  • Budget Sheets: Summer I, Summer II
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Program Description:
Mountain in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a democratic and prosperous nation which boasts some of the most biodiverse habitats on the planet. Ranging from rainforests to stunning beaches, mountain ranges to mangrove swamps, Costa Rica is an ecological treasure with a dazzling array of flora and fauna. Ticos, as Costa Ricans refer to themselves, are warm and friendly people, at once traditional, and proud of their modern accomplishments which have rendered Costa Rica the most stable, democratic and literate country in the region.

Location IconLocation

UVA will partner in Costa Rica with the Instituto de Cultura y Lengua Costarricense (ICLC).The host Center is located just outside of the traditional city of Alajuela, about 10 miles from the capital of San José. The Center is located on a hilltop, surrounded by mango trees and other tropical plants, providing a peaceful, pleasant and safe environment in which to study. Downtown Alajuela is only a few minutes by bus away, and the bustle of San José is easily accessed by 24 hour bus service.

Costa Rica Ox cart Costa Rica Group Certificates

Courses IconCourses

This is a 6 or 7 credit program. Students will select one of four tracks, each of which is 6 credits. Students may also enroll in a 1 credit service experience.Students interested in the service learning option will select the Summer II application option.


Summer I: 6 Credits

Summer II: 7 Credits

Select one of the track options below: Select one of the track options below:
Intermediate Spanish
(SPAN 2010 & 2020; 6 credits)
Grammar Review & Composition I and Latin American Cinema
(SPAN 3010 & 3031; 6 credits)
Intermediate Spanish and Latin American Cinema
(SPAN 2020 & 3031; 6 credits)
Grammar Review & Composition II and Latin American Cinema
(SPAN 3020 & 3031; 6 credits)
Grammar Review & Composition I and Latin American Cinema
(SPAN 3010 & 3031; 6 credits)
Grammar Review & Composition II and Latin American Cinema
(SPAN 3020 & 3031; 6 credits)
Service Learning Course
(SPAN 2100, 1 Credit)


  • Intermediate Spanish (SPAN 2010 & 2020): open to any student who has either successfully completed the SPAN 1020 and SPAN 1060 sequence, scored over 515 on the SAT Spanish language exam, or placement at level of SPAN 2010 on the department's placement exam.
  • Intermediate Spanish and Latin American Cinema (SPAN 2020 & 3031): open to students who have successfully completed SPAN 2010 prior to the start of the program.
  • Grammar Review & Composition I and Latin American Cinema (SPAN 3010 & 3031): open to students who have successfully completed SPAN 2020 prior to the start of the program.
  • Grammar Review & Composition II and Latin American Cinema (SPAN 3020 & 3031): open to students who have successfully completed SPAN 3010 prior to the start of the program.

Service Learning Course:

Participants taking 3000-level classes have an option to enroll in an additional 1-credit course, SPAN 2100, as a part of this program. Students enrolled in this course will complete a service experience and will write a final research paper to earn the additional credit. These volunteer placements are in a broad range of areas, and include opportunities in local clinics, schools, or community outreach. Those interested should select the Summer II application option and speak with Professor Sprague at the time of application. Additionally, please review the program Budget Sheet for tuition information.


Students will be given an intensive orientation session covering issues related to Costa Rican culture and society as well as program-specific topics. Host family rules and general expectations will also be discussed along with academic goals, health and safety issues and emergency procedures. A walking tour of Alajuela will be provided and, normally on the first Tuesday of the program, a city tour of nearby San José, Costa Rica's capital. 



ICLC provides a series of optional activities which take place during the week. The activities are free of charge and vary from week to week. Some activities may involve an entrance fee which the students will have to cover out of pocket. Activities may include: the National Museum, the Juan Santamaria Historical Museum, walking tour of Old San José, the National Gallery of Contemporary Arts, and the Central Market. Additionally the ICLC offers a series of guest lectures and mini-courses on topics in Costa Rican art, history, politics, and culture. These are optional and free of charge. Students will also have the opportunity to see some of the natural wonders of Costa Rica through several guided field trips. Field trip destinations include La Paz Waterfalls, Basilica of Cartago, Orosi Valley, and Tortuguero.

Faculty IconFaculty

Paula Sprague |
Dr. Paula Sprague is an Assistant Professor (General Faculty) in the Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese Department. She has a Ph.D. in Spanish and has taught Spanish language, and Hispanic culture and literature for over 20 years. Prof. Sprague has directed study abroad programs in Spain, where she lived for many years, and she has travelled extensively in various Latin American countries.

Accommodation and MealsAccommodation and Meals

Students will be housed with local families in Alajuela. Students will be placed in private bedrooms (which will include students' linens to be changed weekly). Bathroom facilities are normally shared with the host family. Students should bring their own towels and an international phone card (may be purchased in Costa Rica). Breakfast and dinner are provided daily by the host families.

Cost and Financial Aid

The program cost and payment schedule are listed under the "Budget Sheets" link at the top of this page. Students with identifiable financial need are encouraged to apply for fellowships, scholarships, and financial aid.

Costa Rica Arenal Volcano

Accessibility IconAccessibility

The University of Virginia believes in providing reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities on an individual basis. If you believe that you would require adjustments in order to fully participate in this program, please contact the Student Disability Access Center at 434-243-5180 as early as possible in order to begin this dialogue.


Passport IconPassport and Visa

All participants will need a valid passport in order to participate in the program. Students must ensure that their passport is valid at least six months past the program return date. US passport holders will NOT need a visa to participate in this program, but must have evidence of a return flight out of Costa Rica. International students should meet with their International Student Advisor and Education Abroad Advisor in the International Studies Office as part of the application process.


Health Info IconHealth and Safety Information

All students considering Education Abroad should consult the Students Abroad section of the U.S. Department of State’s web-based travel resources and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Traveler’s Health web resources to research health, safety, and security conditions; visa requirements; immunization requirements; and recommendations on staying healthy and safe in their target destination(s). Students should also carefully review the UVA Education Abroad Health & Safety Abroad web page. Parents and guardians are strongly advised to review all of these resources, as well. UVA students and visiting students enrolled in UVA Education Abroad programs are subject to the University of Virginia’s Policy on Student International Travel.

Vaccine Information
All travelers should consult with their doctor and the CDC webpage to see which vaccines are recommended.

This program is currently not accepting applications.