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Study abroad in
San José, Costa Rica

From prestigious universities to hip gastropubs, a vibrant artistic culture to a booming music scene, San José blends urban color and stunning natural beauty; when you study abroad in San José, more than 800 miles of coastline and acres of lush rainforests lie just a short drive from this diverse metropolitan center. When you’re studying abroad in San José, your immersion opportunities are limitless: You can hike on a volcano, explore the rainforest, and get up-close-and-personal with sloths. You can hone your Spanish skills, gain career-boosting experience, and build marketable skills in an internship. You can give back to your host community through volunteering, learn new dance moves, and lounge on the beach (Pacific or Caribbean? Take your pick!) Choose from a range of academic offerings in fields uniquely suited for study in San José, like Health Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Liberal Arts, and Spanish Language.

Programs to love in San José

Programs to love in San José

  • All
Spanish Language, Liberal Arts & Environmental Sciences

Improve your fluency, delve into local culture, and learn about environmental issues in a country known for its amazing biodiversity. Designed for all levels of Spanish language proficiency, you’ll take at least one Spanish language course and choose from a range of electives.

See Details

  • ST
  • SU
  • SE
  • YR
  • Starting at $4,295
Medical Spanish & Health Sciences

Acquire the language skills and understanding of cultural elements that may come into play when working with Spanish-speaking patients. Designed for students at all levels of Spanish ability who wish to work in the medical and health sciences fields, courses provide insight into Costa Rica's health care system and the unique medical challenges posed by a tropical environment.

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  • ST
  • SU
  • SE
  • YR
  • Starting at $4,295
Intensive Spanish Language

Intensive Spanish Language

Veritas University

The Intensive Spanish Language Program allows students of all language levels to focus on language improvement in a short time frame. Your language courses will focus on oral comprehension and expression, listening comprehension, and grammar components appropriate to your language level.

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  • ST
  • SU
  • SE
  • YR
  • Starting at $3,995
Study + Internship in San Jose

Study + Internship in San Jose

CEA San José Center - Extension, Veritas University

Dive into a country renowned for its amazing biodiversity and rich Latin American culture. The Study + Internship in San José program allows you to make steady progress toward your academic degree while developing practical skills in fields such as visual arts, finance, tourism, and more. You have the option to take courses at Veritas University alongside your internship during the summer and semester programs.  

See Details

  • ST
  • SU
  • SE
  • YR
  • Starting at $5,995
Internship in San Jose

Internship in San Jose

CEA San José Center - Extension

Dive into a country renowned for its amazing biodiversity and rich culture. The Internship in San José program allows you to make steady progress toward your academic degree while developing practical skills in fields such as visual arts, finance, tourism, and more. You may choose between either a part-time or full-time internship.  

See Details

  • ST
  • SU
  • SE
  • YR
  • Starting at $4,995
What's included in your Program'

What's included in your Program

From housing to excursions, our inclusions make studying abroad easy!
  • Personalized Pre-Departure Advising
  • Visa & Immigration Advising
  • Financial Advising
  • Tuition and Registration
  • Airport Pick-up
  • On-site Orientation
  • City Tour
  • On-site Staff Support
  • 24/7 Emergency Assistance
  • Travel Medical Insurance
  • International Emergency Service Support
  • Welcome & Farewell Events
  • Centrally Located Housing
  • Wellness Activities
  • Cultural Engagement
  • Language Exchanges
  • Volunteer Opportunities
  • Excursions
  • Student Clubs & Organizations
  • Host Institution Services & Amenities
  • Career & Re-entry Workshop
  • Official Transcript(s)

Arenal Volcano and La Fortuna

Manuel Antonio National Park

Doka Estate Coffee Tour & La Paz Waterfall Garden

Monteverde Cloud Forest

Explore the region around your host city and gain a better understanding of local culture through CEA excursions! Excursions are offered for all semester and summer programs. You’ll receive a calendar of available excursions during your on-site orientation. Below are excursions we’ve offered in the past.

Arenal Volcano and La Fortuna (Summer)
Arenal Volcano is located next to La Fortuna, built in 1969 after the original town was destroyed by a huge eruption. On the way to La Fortuna, you’ll stop at Finca Don Juan, an organic farm where you’ll learn about organic products like cassava. Next enjoy a hike to La Fortuna Waterfall, where you can swim in cool waters hidden in the jungle. Finish your day with a visit to Baldi Hot Springs , where you can relax in the many water pools naturally heated by Arenal Volcano.
Excursion includes some meals.

Manuel Antonio National Park (Summer)
Located on the Central Pacific Coast in Puntarenas Province, Manuel Antonio is one of Costa Rica’s most popular and beautiful national parks and home to many endangered species, such as the Titi monkey. On the way to Manuel Antonio, you’ll stop at the Tárcoles River to watch huge crocodiles in their natural habitat. Once inside Manuel Antonio, keep your eyes open for monkeys, sloths, and many species of birds and insects as you enjoy the pristine beaches, beautiful waterfalls, and impressive lookout points in this lush tropical forest. Colorful and plentiful crafts sold on the beach make this the perfect place to buy souvenirs for loved ones back home.
Excursion includes some meals.

Monteverde Cloud Forest (Semester & Summer)
Visit a cloud forest that boasts a complex, far-reaching ecosystem that’s home to thousands of species of mammals, birds, insects, and plants, including many endemic and endangered species. Take a night walk to observe fascinating nocturnal animals like spiders and snakes, and immerse in the cloud forest through a tour of hanging bridges. During your free time, you can explore the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve and experience being both the Caribbean and the Pacific sides of the country at once by stepping on the Continental Divide.
Excursion includes some meals.

Doka Estate Coffee Tour & La Paz Waterfall Garden

Enjoy beautiful views from the mountainside and savor a warm cup of coffee as you gaze out at the coffee plantations of Alajuela. Thanks to eruptions from Poás Volcano, this land’s rich soil is perfect for growing coffee, one of Costa Rica’s major exports. Next you’ll head to La Paz Waterfall Gardens, a popular resort built with natural conservation in mind. After a buffet lunch, you’ll hike to the world’s biggest butterfly farm before exploring the Gardens’ majestic waterfalls.

Take advantage of the unique flavors of San José! CEA offers a variety of local immersion activities to match your interests. Whether you enjoy concerts, clubs, sports, cooking classes, language exchanges, or something entirely different, our resident staff helps you get involved in the local culture.

Soccer and Other Sports
Soccer is Costa Rica's national sport and one of the things that makes ticos and ticas vibrate. It’s also a great way to get to know people and stay in shape! Veritas University organizes a soccer team with international students who play against local students or other guest teams. Soccer practice takes place at a nearby park two or three times a week, depending on student schedules. You’ll make many new friends and learn why this sport has such a strong global following. You’ll also have the chance to attend a soccer game between national or international rivals, a great experience for sports lovers.

Dancing
Costa Ricans are known for being great dancers — in fact, one of the most popular activities for both young and old is going dancing on weekends! Join the Veritas dance class and learn to salsa, merengue, cumbia, and swing dance like a true tico. Local students often stop by to listen to the music and help out the dance teacher. After a few classes, you’ll join the dance group and CEA and Veritas staff to practice your new skills at a popular dance club in town. Classes are free and meet twice a week in the evenings.

Cooking
There’s no better way to learn about the culture of a country than by experiencing its culinary art—and now you can learn to cook your favorites to share with your friends and family back home. Join a cooking class and learn how to make delicious regional dishes like gallo-pinto, empanadas, pati, casado, sopa negra, arroz con pollo, and more. You’ll be surprised by the many types of fruits and vegetables incorporated into Costa Rican cuisine. Classes meet once a week and require a $15 contribution for ingredients.

Volunteer Opportunities
CEA has established relationships with local and international non-profit organizations to provide you with the opportunity to help those less fortunate. During the second week of each term, CEA on-site staff present available volunteering opportunities. Please note, most volunteering opportunities require basic knowledge of Spanish language (Basic II level).

Here a few of the volunteer projects students have participated in:

  • Assisting At-Risk Children: Volunteer at an orphanage and/or day care center. You must bring a criminal background check issued by your local police in the U.S. in order to participate in this volunteer opportunity.
  • Visiting a Hospital: Spend time with children at a local hospital. This is an ideal opportunity to observe and learn about the Costa Rican health care system. Available to female students only. Due to scheduling conflicts over the summer term, this option is only available to students taking electives and no Spanish language courses.
  • Spirogyra: Work at a butterfly garden in downtown San José. This hands-on experience allows you to learn about Costa Rica’s many butterfly species.
  • Veterinary Office: This year-round opportunity allows you to shadow a veterinarian.
  • Special Olympics - Costa Rica: Assist health professionals at occupational and physical therapy sessions to improve cognitive development and physical skills of the kids from 4 - 12 years old. Spanish required: intermediate level.

CEA Tandem Language Exchange
Join Costa Rican English students from the CR-US Binational Center and engage in informal conversational activities. Half the time is dedicated to speaking Spanish, and the other half to English.

Veritas Conversation Club

Veritas University faculty leads a conversation club that helps you practice your conversation skills and receive immediate feedback from the professor. Meet other local students and make new friends when you participate in this university activity.

Mobile Journalist Program
Want to build your digital portfolio while you study abroad? Join the Mobile Journalist (MOJO) program! You’ll blog, photograph, and video your experience abroad, then share them on social media.

Alumni Ambassador Program
Your study abroad adventure doesn’t have to end when your program is over. Keep sharing your study abroad love on your home campus…become an Alumni Ambassador! This internship allows you to help other students on their study abroad journeys while gaining work experience and growing your professional network.

Career and Re-entry Workshop*
Explore the skills and knowledge you’ve gained and learn how to articulate your growth in your future job searches. In this interactive workshop, you’ll reflect and process your study abroad experience, connect study abroad with your career goals, and obtain practical advice to help you transition back to the U.S.

*With the exception of students participating in short-term and intensive month programs

¡Dale!: Doing And Learning Events*
Join the ¡Dale! program and participate in healthy activities. You'll get:

  • Workshops
  • Yoga classes at CEA
  • Fruit Mondays at CEA

*Subject to availability

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What's included in your Program

San José Housing

Available:

Semester
Summer

Engage in San Jose’s pura vida culture firsthand when you live in a homestay with a local Costa Rican family. For the culture-seeking type who want to live life abroad as their host locals do, homestays enable students the opportunity to dive headfirst into Costa Rican life.

Typical Commute

  • CEA Office in San Jose: 10-20 minutes, walking
  • Veritas University: 10-20 minutes, walking

 

Meals Included

  • 2 meals per day – Breakfast & Dinner (Mon - Fri, and Sun) – included, except on excursion days

Roommates

  • 1-3 students per room
  • Up to 8 students per Homestay

Unit Amenities

  • Limited kitchen
  • Shared-single sex bathroom
  • Bed linens included
  • Internet Access
  • Telephone access available
  • Washer Only
Homestay Photo #1
Homestay Photo #2
Homestay Photo #3
Homestay Photo #4

Download Overview

Available:

Semester
Summer

Experience a Spanish living environment with an independent twist when you sign up to live in CEA’s Casa Universitaria. A homestay and apartment hybrid, this housing option enables you to sample the best of both worlds. Like a homestay, enjoy the personalized experience of a Cost Rican family/host who prepares meals, cleans and interacts with you. Like an apartment, reside in independent living quarters where you can come and go as you please and live with other CEA or Costa Rican students. 

Typical Commute

  • CEA Office in San José: 10-20 minutes, walking
  • Veritas University: 10-15 minutes, walking

Meals Included

  • 2 meals per day – Breakfast & Dinner (M-Sun) – included, except on excursion days

Roommates

  • 1 student per room
  • 1-8 students per Casa Universitaria

Unit Amenities

  • Limited kitchen
  • Shared en-suite bathroom
  • Bed linens included
  • Internet access
  • Telephone access available
  • Washer Only

Additional Fees

 
Casa Universitaria Photo #1
Casa Universitaria Photo #2
Casa Universitaria Photo #3
Casa Universitaria Photo #4

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While CEA highly recommends that you choose one of our San José housing options provided, you also have the option to arrange independent housing. If your ideal housing scenario includes living in a particular neighborhood, having specific amenities or living with a specific person as your roommate, then independent housing could be just the ticket for you.

Use the online housing application form to request permission for this option no later than the application closure date. If your request is approved, you will receive a rebate for your housing payment, however CEA will not provide you with any assistance setting up independent housing. Keep in mind, rebates are not granted to students who move out of their CEA housing or choose to pursue independent living arrangements after the application closure date.

Typical Commute

  • N/A

Meals Included

  • N/A

Roommates

  • N/A

Unit Amenities

  • N/A

What's included in your Program'

Institutions

CEA San José Center - Extension
CEA San José Center - Extension

Located in downtown San José, the CEA San José Center – Extension was established to make internships and study abroad more accessible to North American students. 

CEA San José Center – Extension courses are designed to increase your understanding of the diverse history, politics, culture, economics, and art of San José. Faculty teaching at the CEA San José Center – Extension will utilize the city as their classroom, allowing students to develop cultural links to their coursework. CEA Study Center – Extension destinations also offer opportunity for niche academic programming and a small faculty-to-student ratio. After the successful completion of a session at the CEA San José Center – Extension, students will receive a UNH transcript. Please note, Academic Performance Reviews and staffing models for CEA Center – Extensions are modified to align with the scope of their programming.

Accreditation

Courses taught at the CEA San José Center – Extension have been designed in conjunction with, and approved by, the University of New Haven (UNH). In addition, faculty appointments have been approved by UNH. After the successful completion of a session at the CEA San José Center – Extension you will receive credit for your work from UNH. Located in Connecticut, the University of New Haven is a student-focused, comprehensive university that’s fully accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). The agreement between CEA and UNH follows the highest standards of good practice in education abroad and satisfies the rigorous requirements of the University's institutional accreditor, making credits earned at the CEA San José Center – Extension are easily transferable to US-accredited institutions. Learn more about UNH's service as the University of Record for CEA.

Grading

Faculty at the CEA San José Center-Extension carefully evaluate student work and progress throughout their academic session. When calculating final grades, instructors consider written and oral exercises, homework assignments, attendance, classroom participation, and exam performance. 
 
The following grading system is in use at the CEA San José Center- Extension: 

CEA Grading Scale (Effective Spring 2017)

Letter Grade

Numerical Grade Low Range

Numerical Grade High Range

Percentage Range

Quality Points

A+

9.70

10.00

97.0 - 100%

4.00

A

9.40

9.69

94.0 - 96.9%

4.00

A-

9.00

9.39

90.0 – 93.9%

3.70

B+

8.70

8.99

87.0 – 89.9%

3.30

B

8.40

8.69

84.0 – 86.9%

3.00

B-

8.00

8.39

80.0 – 83.9%

2.70

C+

7.70

7.99

77.0 – 79.9%

2.30

C

7.40

7.69

74.0 – 76.9%

2.00

C-

7.00

7.39

70.0- 73.9%

1.70

D

6.00

6.99

60.0 – 69.9%

1.00

F

0.00

5.99

0 - 59.9%

0.00

W

Withdrawal

0.00

INC

Incomplete

0.00

Completion of a course is defined as a receipt of a letter grade (A+ to F) as opposed to Withdrawal or Incomplete. 
 
In order to determine a quality point ratio, each letter grade from a completed course is assigned a quality point value. The quality point value for each grade earned during a semester is multiplied by the number of semester hours assigned to that course. The sum of these points is the total number of quality points earned during the semester. It is divided by the number of semester hours completed to obtain the quality point ratio (QPR). 

Classroom and Information

  • Classes are taught by CEA-selected and UNH-approved faculty 

  • Periodic homework assignments and final examinations will be administered 

  • Class attendance is mandatory and monitored by each professor. You may access your grades and attendance on your MyCEA Account 

Amenities
  • Student Offices
  • Clubs & Organizations
  • Student Center
  • Student Lounge
  • Study Room
  • Counseling Services
  • CEA Academic Resources
  • Travel Books & Resources
  • University Library
  • Computer Lab
  • Computers
  • Printing Services
  • Multi-Media
  • Internet Access & Wi-Fi
  • Academic Advising
  • Tutoring
  • Language Learning Services
  • Language Exchange with Local Students
  • Cultural Engagement
  • Dining Facilities
  • Free Campus Shuttle
  • Copy & Mail Center
  • On-campus ATM
  • Museum & Art Galleries
Veritas University
Veritas University

Since its founding in 1976, Veritas University has become one of the most highly recognized private universities in Latin America. Not only is Veritas fully accredited by the Costa Rica Ministry of Education, but it is also a member of the College Consortium for International Studies and NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

With approximately 2,000 students, 500 of whom are international, Veritas University is located in the eastern part of the city (Zapote), ten minutes from downtown San José and only one kilometer from the Casa Presidencial. The school offers a complete range of subjects and a great variety of cultural, artistic, and athletic activities.

The university’s spacious campus is equipped with modern facilities, including several computer labs and a well-maintained library. CEA offers a practical and well-organized Spanish language program, led by a highly trained and experienced staff of university professors.

Accreditation

Ranked among Costa Rica’s top 10 universities, Veritas is fully accredited by the Costa Rican Ministry of Public Education and is a member of the College Consortium for International Studies and NAFSA.

Grading

The grading system at Veritas University is the same 100-point scale used in the U.S. Please note that this grading scale is recommended by CEA and Veritas University, but final credit and grade evaluation is ultimately determined by your home university.

Letter Grade

Grade %

A+

97 - 100

A

93 - 96

A-

90 - 92

B+

87 - 89

B

83 - 86

B-

80 - 82

C+

77 - 79

C

75 - 76*

F

Below 75

W

Withdrew

INC

Incomplete

NP

No Pass

SP

Sufficiency Pass


*Note: For Veritas Language courses, students must earn a grade of 75 or above in order to continue to the next level. Students with a grade under 75 in any level must repeat the level before continuing on to the next level.
Classroom and Information

  • International faculty from Veritas University teach your language and elective classes.
  • Attendance in all classes is mandatory and monitored by each professor.
  • Periodic exams, homework assignments and final exams will be administered.
  • Teaching styles in Costa Rica may differ from those in the U.S. Be prepared to adapt to different classroom structures and coursework expectations.
  • Class size ranges between 10 and 25 students and includes CEA participants and other international students.

Amenities
  • Student Offices
  • Clubs & Organizations
  • Study Room
  • Counseling Services
  • University Library
  • Computer Lab
  • Printing Facilities
  • Student ID
  • Multi-Media
  • Internet Access & Wi-Fi
  • Academic Advising
  • Tutoring
  • Language Learning Services
  • Language Exchange with Local Students
  • Cultural Engagement
  • Dining Facilities
  • Free Campus Shuttle
  • Copy & Mail Center
  • On-campus ATM
  • Museum & Art Galleries
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Say Hi

San José Staff

Maggie Banchs

Maggie Banchs

Program Director
Natalia Cascante

Natalia Cascante

Student Life Advisor