In partnership with the Illinois Consortium for International Studies and Programs (ICISP), the College of DuPage and the Costa Rican Language Academy, JALC students can spend the summer abroad in San Jose, Costa Rica. Explore the capital of Costa Rica through this unique immersion program. San Jose is the heart of Costa Rica and home to numerous theaters, museums, galleries, and other cultural gems. Costa Rica is an environmentally diverse country known for its rainforests.

Church of Our Lady of Mercy in downtown San Jose Costa Rica

Church of Our Lady of Mercy in downtown San Jose Costa Rica

Program Overview

Students in this program will earn seven semester hours of credit in Spanish language and culture of Costa Rica. Classes consist of lectures and discussions accompanied by field trips and activities designed to engage students in active learning and discovery. No previous study of the Spanish language is required. Participants will live with local host families in San Jose and have the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the Costa Rican lifestyle and culture. A faculty member from an ICISP institution will accompany the student group to Costa Rica.

Program Dates

  • Five weeks between late May 29 - June 29, 2014.

Program Application Deadline

  • February 15

Admission Requirements

This program is open to serious students, teachers, and others who have a strong interest in immersing themselves in another culture. Applicants are required to obtain a physician's approval as part of the application process. There will be a personal interview to determine the applicant's maturity, ability to adapt to a different environment, and function successfully as a member of the group. The successful completion of the application process is required for admission to the program. College students must also present evidence of a 2.75 GPA. If an applicant has special needs, the program will attempt to make whatever reasonable accommodations are possible, but as in many developing countries, it may be difficult to travel in Costa Rica.

Academic Program

Students are required to register for the two required classes. Upon successful completion of classes, students will receive credit on their JALC transcript. Students are required to enroll in a Spanish language class and a Costa Rican culture class. Program courses include:

  • Spanish (4 credits)
  • Culture and Civilization of Costa Rica (3 credits)

Prior to the beginning of classes, all students will be assessed in Spanish language proficiency and placed at the appropriate level.

Lodging and Meals

The cornerstone of the Costa Rican study abroad experience is living with local Costa Rican families and experiencing traditional Costa Rican life. Homestay may include double occupancy rooms. They will be provided with breakfast, dinner, and laundry service during the homestay period. This arrangement provides the opportunity for the student to continue practicing Spanish and to share the everyday life of the "ticos". Families are chosen for their friendliness and helpfulness. Except in remote areas, the water in Costa Rica is drinkable. The homes are near public transportation. A few may be within walking distance to class. Lunch is not provided but there are many excellent places to eat.


A passport is required of all U.S. citizens to travel to Costa Rica. U.S. citizens do not need a visa to travel to Costa Rica; participants who are not U.S. citizens may need a visa to travel to Costa Rica.


A pre-departure orientation will be held prior to the start of the program. Orientation will cover important information related to safety, security, insurance and program expectations. Attendance is required. Orientation is held at College of DuPage's main campus in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. This typically occurs over two days in May.

Program Fees

The program fee is $3,099, subject to change. Fees cover:

  • Round-trip airfare from Chicago
  • Five-week double-occupancy home stay
  • Breakfast, dinner, and laundry service
  • Field trips and excursions
  • Hotel accommodations on overnight excursions
  • Instructional costs
  • Textbooks for the language classes
  • Transfer to and from the airport in San Jose

Fees do not cover:

  • Passport
  • Visa fee (only if not a U.S citizen)
  • International student identification card (optional)
  • Optional excursions
  • Lunches and meals as indicated by the program
  • Costa Rican departure tax
  • Transportation to and from O'Hare airport
  • Transportation to and from Orientation
  • Personal Expenses