San José

What You Get

Expect a lot of perks when you study abroad with CEA. From housing to excursions, our inclusions make studying abroad easy!

Here's what you get when you study abroad with CEA in San José:

  • 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)

Housing Options

Our carefully chosen housing options enhance your experience abroad by allowing you to live like a local. While we do attempt to match your preferences with our housing options, housing preference requests cannot be guaranteed. Housing and roommate assignments are first-come, first-serve based on availability; apply early to help us organize your housing arrangements.


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.


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



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


  • 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

Session Available

  • Semester

Casa Universitaria

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. 


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


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


  • 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

Session Available

  • Semester



Independent Living


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.








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.

*In an effort to offer lower-cost internship options and support you in maximizing your professional development in a condensed timeframe, summer internship programs do not include excursions.

Bocas del Toro, Panamá (Semester)
This relaxing excursion allows you to get back to nature on a small archipelago on Panamá’s Caribbean side. During this four-day excursion, you’ll take a dolphin tour, explore the city of Bocas, and take a snorkeling tour. Swimming in the clear waters of the Caribbean and observing the colorful fish and coral on the reef is definitely one of the highlights of this excursion. You’ll also have the opportunity to rent a bicycle and cruise around the charming streets of Bocas. It’s a great chance to immerse in this tranquil city and get to know residents’ colorful stories of pirates and hidden treasure.
Excursion includes some meals.

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.

Cultural Engagement

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.

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.

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.

Other Opportunities

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

What Our Student Said

Everything provided by the program was top-notch.

Gabriella Cisneros
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee,
Fall 2015, san-jose

Featured Program

Study + Internship in San Jose

Veritas University
CEA San José Center - Extension
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.  
  • ST
  • SU
  • SE
  • YR
  • STARTING AT $5,995
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