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UVA in Costa Rica
Alajuela, Costa Rica (Education Abroad Programs Program)
Program Terms: Summer
Budget Sheets Summer
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2018 01-MAR-2018 ** Rolling Admission 13-MAY-2018 21-JUN-2018
NOTE: Students admitted to this program will need to commit by March 15, 2018.

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.
Fact Sheet:
Class Status:
1st year, 2nd year, 3rd year, 4th year Minimum GPA Requirement: 2.5
Language Requirement:
1000 level, 2000 level
Open to Non-UVa Students:
Housing: Homestay Language Courses Offered: Yes
Language of Instruction: Spanish
Credit Type:
Direct Credit
Program Type:
Faculty led
Tuition Payments Made To:
Education Abroad Advisor:
Martha Sadler
Application Fee:
Study Abroad Administrative Fee:
Subject Area:
Program Description:

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.

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.


Monteverde Cloud Forest Sky Walk*

This is a 6 or 7 credit program. Students will select one of three tracks. The first track, Intermediate Spanish, covers the work of both SPAN 2010 and SPAN 2020 in 6 weeks. Students will receive direct UVA credit upon successful completion of the coursework and will have satisfied the CLAS foreign language requirement.

The second track, Grammar Review and Composition I and Latin American Cinema, will cover both SPAN 3010 (Grammar Review and Composition I) and SPAN 3031 (Latin American Cinema).

The third track, Grammar Review and Composition II and Latin American Cinema, will cover both SPAN 3020 ( Grammar Review and Composition II) and SPAN 3031 (Latin American Cinema).

Track one is 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. Students applying to track two should have completed SPAN 2020 prior to the start of the program. Students on track three should have completed SPAN 3010 prior to the start of the program.

Participants have an option to enroll in an additional 1-credit course, SPAN 2100, as a part of this program. Those in SPAN 2100 will complete a service experience and will write a final research paper to earn the additional credit. Those interested should speak with Professor Gerli at the time of application.

Volunteer Opportunities
Students enrolling in either track of the program may elect to complete a volunteer experience in addition to their courses. These volunteer placements are in a broad range of areas, and include opportunities in local clinics, schools, or community outreach. (See ICLC Newsletter). These opportunities may be of particular interest to School of Nursing students. Volunteers will work approximately 6 hours / week in local clinics. Please contact Professor Gerli for further 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.

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.


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.


Intermediate Spanish
(SPAN 2010 & 2020; 6 credits)
Intermediate Spanish
and Latin American Cinema

(SPAN 2020 & 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)

Course Information
SPAN 2010_2020 syllabus
SPAN 3010 syllabus
SPAN 3031 syllabus

Participants have an option to enroll in an additional 1-credit course, SPAN 2100, as a part of this program. Those in SPAN 2100 will complete a service experience and will write a final research paper to earn the additional credit. Those interested should speak with Professor Gerli at the time of application. Tuition for SPAN 2100 is not included in this program; review the program Budget Sheet for tuition information.


2010 Participants display their
completion certificates

The program cost and payment schedule are listed under the "Budget Sheets" link at the top of this page.

Accessibility Statement
The University of Virginia believes in providing reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities on an individual and flexible 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 and Visa Information
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. International students should meet with their International Student Advisor and Education Abroad Advisor in the International Studies Office as part of the application process.

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

Program director E. Michael Gerli,, is a native Costa Rican and Commonwealth Professor of Spanish at the University of Virginia.


Arenal Volcano

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