Summer High School Program — 2019
Jul 9-12, 2019 → Aug 22-25, 2019
Costa Rica is the place of pura vida (pure life), a contagious attitude of living life to the fullest. And it shows – Costa Rica is the world's happiest country according to the Happy Planet index. A peaceful country with no standing army, Costa Rica has a long democratic tradition. Democracy, peace, and political freedom are often mentioned as their greatest blessings.
Costa Ricans call themselves ticos, and you’ll often hear them demonstrate their national pride by describing something as muy tico, or “very Costa Rican.” Ticos are generally easy-going, so you’re likely to get along with most people you meet.
Our summer high school study abroad in Costa Rica is packed with an immersive homestay and high school experience, an unbelievable tour of this stunning land, and the option of including two weeks of intensive Spanish language learning in the mountains! This is your chance to make lifelong friends across cultures and become a member of a Costa Rican community, all in one summer!
An optional opportunity to begin your adventure in Costa Rica is a two-week, intensive Spanish Language Course with other international students. You’ll fit 60 hours of lessons into just two weeks! But, this isn’t your ordinary school setting. Perched in the mountains of the Cartago province, near Orosi Valley, your language school is also an amazing agroecological farm. During the camp, you’ll stay in the rustic, shared lodges of this tropical farm, supervised and supported by AFS volunteers and the staff of the language school. Added intercultural activities will better your communication skills and global competence.
The second part of the program is a five-week homestay with a volunteer host family and full integration into a Costa Rican high school. By living and studying as ticos do, you’ll be fully immersed in pura vida and quickly develop your Spanish. While culture shock is real, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll quickly become a member of your host family and won’t want to leave this second home.
During the final week, you’ll go on an extensive bus tour of some of the country’s most popular destinations and landmarks. You’ll visit the northern mountain cord in the middle of Costa Rica, as well as the Pacific Coast. You’ll have time to relax, enjoy the warm waters of the tropical ocean, and go on a whitewater rafting tour! ¡Pura vida!
If you choose to include our two weeks of Spanish language learning module, you’ll focus on your Spanish language skills in an intensive course with other international students. (Did we mention the course is located at an agroecological farm amidst the mountains of Cartago?!) This course includes 60 hours of lessons, plus additional activities that will improve your practical and intercultural communication skills. You’ll get a language proficiency assessment test upon arrival to determine your course level (beginners, intermediate, advanced). Then, you’ll receive Spanish lessons in small groups based on your language level.
If you opt for the six-week program, you’ll attend a local public school near your host family’s home. Classes usually start around 7 am with a snack break around noon. Depending on the school, the end of the day could be anywhere from 1 to 4:30 pm. In some places, a portion of students attend class in the morning while the rest go in the afternoon. Because most studying is done at school, you probably won’t have too much homework. This will give you plenty of free time to learn about Costa Rican culture and practice your Spanish in real-life contexts!
AFSers have lived all throughout Costa Rica, but you’ll most likely find yourself in an urban or suburban area. No matter where you stay, you’ll be within an hour or two of the coast and near some breathtaking natural beauty.
Communities in Costa Rica tend to be small, and most people enjoy gathering together to catch up on the local news and gossip. Ticos are usually very welcoming and family-oriented. Expect to share lots of lively communal meals with your host parents, host siblings, and extended family members.
"Life-changing" is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad.
"Transformed" is another one. When you return home, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. That transformation isn’t visible only to you, though - others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers, ranging from language fluency to intercultural competence and critical reasoning. "Life-changing" means it’s only the beginning.
A new you awaits. Apply for Summer High School Study Abroad in Costa Rica!
Please Note: Travel date ranges are meant to help with general scheduling and are subject to change; please don’t book any travel based on these dates until you’ve received confirmation from AFS. All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.