Study and find schools in Costa Rica

By Latin American standards, Costa Rica is a fairly small country, measuring just some 20,000 square miles in total land area.  A bicoastal country located in the heart of Central America, it is bordered to the north by Nicaragua, to the southeast by Panama and to the west and east by the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea respectively.  In the Spanish language, Costa Rica means “rich coast,” which is a very suitable name for a country whose prime economic activity revolves around exportation through one of its many port cities.
Costa Rica drafted and approved its first and only constitution in 1949 (at which time it permanently abolished its army), making it one of the world’s oldest constitutional democracies.  Lauded by environmentalists and world leaders alike for its environmental sustainability and carbon reduction practices, Costa Rica ranks first on the world’s Happy Planet index and is one of the greenest countries in the world.  In addition, when compared to other Latin America countries, Costa Rica consistently ranks high on the Human Development Index.
As of the 2011 census, Costa Rica had a permanent population of just over 4.3 million.  Those who self-identify as White and Castizo account for 82 percent of the population, with the remainder identifying themselves as Mestizo (15%), Black, or Afro-Caribbean (2%), Native American (0.8%), Chinese (0.2%) and other (1%).  The Whites, or those of European ancestry, are primarily of Spanish descent, with significant numbers of Italians, Germans, English, Dutch, French, Irish, Portuguese, Lebanese and Polish, as well as a large Jewish community.  The official and most widely spoken language in the country is Spanish, although the Afro-Caribbean faction commonly speaks a form of Creole English.  Roman Catholicism is the official and most adhered to religious denomination in Costa Rica, accounting for over 70 percent of the population, but various Protestant faiths, representing 11% of all believers, are also practiced.
Education in Costa Rica
Education in Costa Rica is overseen by the national government and consists of three levels:  primary school, secondary school and higher education.  Primary education is mandatory and serves children between the ages of 6 and 14 in grades one through eight.  In grades 1 and 2 children receive instruction in basic reading, writing and some arithmetic, which eventually evolves into a broad curriculum of language, mathematics, science, history, geography, music, art and physical education in grades 3 through 8.  Secondary schools, most of which consists of just ninth, tenth and eleventh grade, are also free for students to attend, and although not compulsory, this level of education is very well-attended when compared to other Latin America countries.  Students who successfully complete the 11th grade are awarded a Bachillerate, or diploma, and are eligible to enroll in one of the country’s universities.
Higher education in Costa Rica consists of both public and private universities, with the public schools much more highly regarded than their private counterparts.  Public education is highly valued in the country and heavily subsidized at the national level, as education is seen as the ideal, if not the only path towards social mobility and national progress.  Higher education is so popular in the country, in fact, that recently many private universities and colleges have consolidated to make additional room to accommodate the great student demand.
Costa Rica has a literacy rate of nearly 95 percent—one of the highest in all of Latin America.

International Study Abroad Programs in Costa Rica

Studying abroad, or obtaining your education in a different country than your country of origin, is a unique way to get your education. Many people are now choosing to go to the beautiful Central American nation of Costa Rica to participate in one of their many international study abroad programs. Costa Rica is a nation that boasts a varying environment, full of biodiversity. The nation boasts rain forests, mountains, and even volcanoes and is known for their environmental concern and preservation efforts.

Costa Rica is also known for its excellent education system and cutting edge higher education options. This is an especially good destination for those who want both a high quality education, as well as access to a wide variety of outdoor activities. Outdoor enthusiasts will love all the adventure Costa Rica has to offer, and greenies will enjoy all the ecologically conscious travel destinations. Many boast that Costa Rica is an excellent place to live and learn. The tropical and subtropical climate is a draw for many.

The national language of Costa Rica is Spanish, and Costa Rica is known for speaking "pure" Spanish. That is, Spanish that is not marred by regional dialect or a lot of slang. This makes it an excellent place to study the Spanish language, while immersed in authentic Spanish culture.

There are a number of different, internationally recognized, study abroad programs in Costa Rica. There are also a number of different types of programs you can participate in from academic and graduate studies, summer programs, internships, and even programs for high school students who are looking for the opportunity to enrich their education by studying in a foreign land. Most of the study abroad programs are in San Jose, the home of one million people, and the largest city in the country.

There are over 165 different study abroad programs offered in Costa Rica, offering an educational opportunity for pretty much any field of study. Most programs are less than $9,000 a semester and include all the services one might need. This includes tuition, room and board, airfare, and accommodations while in Costa Rica. Scholarships are also available to help offset the cost and allow for those of lesser means to enjoy the wonderful experience of studying abroad.

The International Study Abroad program has been in place in Costa Rica since 1998  and their programs are well renowned for their quality and student satisfaction. Study abroad programs offer the immersion of living with a Costa Rican host family, which makes the experience more authentic. In addition to an excellent education, students will also be offered access to a number of different cultural experiences that will help broaden their experience in Costa Rica.

When deciding to study abroad, you want to ensure that you choose a quality program, and choose a location that offers all you are looking for. With the beautiful landscape and mild climate, as well as the excellent educational opportunities, Costa Rica is quickly becoming one of the more popular places to choose to study abroad in.

Language Courses in Costa Rica

There are a lot of work opportunities for those who speak a different language, and Spanish is one of the most commonly spoken languages in the world. Many people are seeking out careers in the language field and are thus, choosing foreign language degrees to learn their craft. Learning Spanish is a great way to get into an exciting career tract that allows you to work all around the world. Teaching English as a second language is a very in demand career path, and teaching Spanish to English speaking students is also another common career field those with a degree in Spanish choose to work within,

So what better way to learn Spanish than by learning it in a country where Spanish is the national language? Language immersion courses are a unique way to learn a new language, and Costa Rica offers a number of excellent Spanish language immersion programs for students studying abroad. Language immersion is what it sounds, in order to learn the new language, you immerse yourself within it. You live in an area where this is the language spoke, both in oral and the written word. It is believed that this is the fastest and easiest way to learn a new language.

There are a number of things that set language immersion programs in Costa Rica apart from those in other areas of the world. In this beautiful Central American nation, the people speak what is called a "pure" form of the Spanish language. Whereas Spanish in other areas of the world has many regional differences, as well as a lot of slang terms that are only used in that nation, Costa Rican's speak traditional Spanish. That means that you will not be learning a lot of slang or regional dialects that are not spoken in other Spanish speaking places around the world. This is a big advantage that Costa Rican language schools have over others in Latin America.

Most language immersion programs in Costa Rica have very small class sizes, often less than ten students in class. This is so that students can receive more one-on-one treatment and get a more personally tailored education. Some universities even offer private Spanish language programs where you can learn one-on-one, without any other students. These programs are available in both major cities and rural areas. Programs offered in rural areas give the student a much more unique and authentic immersion into Costa Rican culture, as these tend to be small towns and villages where not many tourists spend their time.

Costa Rica is the perfect place to go for those who wish to learn the pure Spanish language by being immersed in Spanish speaking culture. There are a wide variety of programs to choose from - from beginners to advanced Spanish - offering you a quality educational program in an authentic, beautiful setting. These are high quality educational programs that are designed to immerse you in the language and culture, making picking up a new language easier and faster than through any other method.

Schools that offer language courses in Costa Rica

Academia de Español D'Amore

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Academia de Español D'Amore is a Spanish-teaching educational institution based in Costa Rica. The school receives students from all ages, aiming to help them acquire the Spanish language within a peaceful and extremely beautiful environment. Total Spanish immersion is ensured for each participant, and students range from business professionals to university undergraduates, doctors and lawyers. The school is situated in Manuel Antonio, Quepos, one of the most beautiful beaches of Costa Rica. A wide range of extracurricular activities are offered as well. Some of them are horseback... See full description.

Central Valley Spanish School

San José, Costa Rica
Central Valley Spanish School has been operating as such since 1993, and offers Spanish language classes in Costa Rica. The program initiated by the school includes 3-4 hours of daily classes, accompanied by diverse afternoon activities to deliver a full learning experience. The teaching method the school has adopted is ‘total immersion in the Spanish language’, which contributes to the natural acquiring of the language. Programs offered are a 4-week Summer Program, a Spanish and Surf Program, and a wide range of excursions. The accommodation offered is with Costa Rican families, all... See full description.

Centro de Idiomas Logos

San José, Costa Rica
Centro de Idiomas Logos is a Language school founded in 2004 in downtown San José, Costa Rica’s capital city. The language center welcomes students from all over the globe, who come to travel and study Spanish in Costa Rica. Centro de Idiomas Logos’s main purpose is to not simply teach the language in an effective way, but to also make learning an enjoyable experience. The classes are designed in a creative and dynamic way; they incorporate varied activities and resources and are very interactive. The options available are Intensive Spanish, Regular Spanish, Conversational Spanish,... See full description.

Coastal Spanish Institute

Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Costal Spanish Institute provides people from around the globe the opportunity to take part in several Spanish language programs. Coastal Spanish is located in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. The school offers a unique “welcome program”, which helps people to adjust to the new Costa Rican environment. The school building is built in order to cater private and group classes, while the roof top is best suited for social and cultural gatherings. The accommodation options include home stay with local families and on campus residence. The latter offers extras like cable TV, high speed wireless... See full description.

COMUNICARE. Centro Linguistico, Cultural y de Cooperación

San José, Costa Rica
Communicare is a Spanish learning institute which was founded in 1994 near San Pedro Montes de Oca, Costa Rica. The institute holds pride in offering students a cultural exchange opportunity through language teaching and the creation of a profound learning environment by sharing information and ideas with communities & other social groups. The three basic courses offered at the institute are flexible study program, Central American Reality program and Study & Share program. There are specialized sessions for people who want one-to-one attention and group sessions. Finally, students with... See full description.

Costa Rica Spanish Institute (COSI)

San Pedro, Costa Rica
COSI (Costa Rica Spanish Institute) is a Spanish language learning institute located in San Jose, Costa Rica. It also offers classes in Manuel Antonio National Park on the Pacific coast. The courses at COSI start at the beginning of every week throughout the year. Classes are arranged for a mini group of 8 people, while private tutoring is also an option. The time duration for mini-groups is 4 hours/day and so is for private tutoring. The staff at COSI has participated in ACTFL-OPI (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) workshops. COSI offers an exclusive beach and... See full description.

Costa Rican Language Academy

San Jose, Costa Rica
The Costa Rican Language Academy (CRLA) came into existence in 1989 as a Spanish language center located in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. The teaching approach at CRLA involves active participation of the students. The instructions are interesting and fun, which makes learning easy. CRLA has a permanent staff of 25 teachers all endorsed by the Costa Rican department of Education and qualified in Spanish teaching from either the University of Costa or Universidad Nacional. Many students at CRLA transfer credit to other colleges by applying themselves. CRLA provides a certificate of... See full description.

El Paraiso Language School, Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
El Paraiso Spanish Language School is a specialized Spanish teaching institution. Its campus in Costa Rica is situated in Manuel Antonio National Park area, 2.5 hours drive from the capital of Costa Rica, San Jose. Manuel Antonio National Park is one of the most visited parks of Costa Rica and offers exceptional beaches as well as amazing biodiversity. The school is located only 5 minutes from the beach and 2 minutes from Quepos downtown. The school’s park like location has its own range of animals like monkeys, birds, and others. Course options available at Costa Rica include Spanish,... See full description.

Epifania Spanish School in Costa Rica

San José, Costa Rica
Epifania Spanish Language School is a Spanish language school, situated in Curridabat, a suburb of San Jose in Costa Rica. The institution offers 14-day, 10-day and 8-day summer camps, which include a program of full immersion into the Spanish language. The Epifania Spanish School Method was created by Guiselle Quesada, a highly innovative professional with more than 33 years of teaching Spanish as a second language. Epifania Spanish School Method places a strong emphasis on conversation while at the same time introducing applied Spanish grammar. Accommodation offered at the school is... See full description.

Forester Instituto Internacional, Learn Spanish in Costa Rica

San José, Costa Rica
Forester Instituto Internacional is a Spanish language teaching institute situated in San Jose, Costa Rica, and was founded in 1979. The school provides exciting programs centered toward teaching Spanish language and enlightening foreigners on the interesting Spanish tradition and culture. If one are looking for a place to learn Spanish on a short-term basis, Forester InstitutoInternacional is a good option. They offer Spanish courses as short as 1-4 weeks of study, which are taught by native Spanish tutors (mainly Costa Ricans), though they provide Spanish education on long-term basis as... See full description.

Instituto Estelar Bilingüe

Liberia, Costa Rica
When it comes to learning a language, immersion is absolutely the way to go! The Spanish Immersion Program at Instituto Estelar Bilingüe is designed to help you learn fast while experiencing Costa Rican culture, meeting new people, seeing amazing places, and getting involved in the community of Liberia. We offer intensive Spanish classes with highly-trained teachers, homestays with local families, cultural activities, bilingual events, volunteer opportunities, and more! In one week, students are able to advance one level and speak with fluency, accuracy, and confidence. This program is... See full description.

Universal de Idiomas

San Jose, Costa Rica
Universal de idiomas is a language center based in Costa Rica. The school has almost 30 years of experience in the teaching of Spanish to non-native speakers, and takes pride in the friendly, warm environment it manages to create for its students. The school is truly international in nature, while the opportunity to stay with a local family means students can fully immerse in the country’s culture and traditions. Courses offered include regular and intensive options; winter, summer, and fall opportunities; as well as more specialized courses like medical Spanish, Spanish for teachers,... See full description.

WAYRA Instituto de Español

Playa Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Created in 1996, WAYRA's Spanish immersion program in Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica, is the perfect choice to learn Spanish in a formal environment while also enjoying surfing, kayaking, snorkeling, canopy, fishing and many other outdoors activities. WAYRA works in association with Instituto Cervantes and is a recognized DELE examination center.

Career Colleges and Vocational Schools in Costa Rica

Not everyone's educational aspirations require a four-year college degree, and this is why career colleges and vocational schools are still very important parts of the education system, especially in nations such as Costa Rica. As opposed to the broad and general nature of the educational programs at traditional universities, career colleges and vocational schools offer a different type of education that is no less important than a four-year degree.

Career colleges and vocational schools provide work-specific or field-specific education and hands-on training. Your studies will be both book-based and practical, and your program will be directly focused on the skill(s) you are seeking to obtain. Unlike traditional colleges, you will not learn general subjects, your training is focused on mastering a particular skill. Most of these institutions are post-secondary educational institutions, which means you go to a career college or vocational school after finishing high school.

These programs culminate with the earning of a certificate, which is proof that you have mastered the skills and knowledge needed to work within your particular field, or at a particular job. Sometimes these are called job training programs, as they are tailored to whatever it is you wish to do, career wise. These programs do not take as much time as traditional degrees and in Costa Rica, it typically takes three years to complete a career college or vocational school program.

Programs such as these, with a specific focus, as opposed to providing general education, give students the skills they need to move into the job field with the skills and tools they will need. Career colleges and vocational schools are a vital part of the Costa Rican educational system, as they train workers for high tech and in demand jobs, giving them the skills they need to succeed in their job field of choice. Most of these programs are offered in the largest city in this Central American country, San Jose.

Home to a million people, San Jose is the center of cultural, economic, and educational activity in Costa Rica. These schools are vital parts of the economic structure, as they train the newest generation the skills and tools they will need to succeed in a rapidly developing economy, and a world where technology continues to improve by leaps and bounds with each passing year. Most of the offerings at career colleges and vocational schools are focused on the most in demand career tracts, as well as those that are technical in nature. These programs are still located predominately in urban areas, limiting the access of this type of job training for rural residents. Efforts to improve distance and online education programs hopes to help close this gap.

For the people of Costa Rica, career colleges and vocational training offer a way to obtain job-specific education and training that will give them the skills they need to work in the latest and most in demand occupations. There are a wide variety of programs available, helping students learn the latest technical skills that will help them to land a good paying job.

Online degree, online courses and distance learning schools in Costa Rica

The internet continues to provide broad opportunities for many people around the world, and education is not exception. Online education and post-secondary degree programs are making education more accessible to the people of Costa Rica, whether they live in urban or rural areas. This is a huge benefit for the country, who has been promoting distance education opportunities since the 1970s. As technologies have improved, distance education options in Costa Rica have become more varied.

In its inception, La Universidad Estatal a Distincia, the national distance education provider in Costa Rica, was designed to offer various educational opportunities to people living in rural areas. Most of the brick and mortar post-secondary educational institutions are located in San Jose, the nation's largest city. For those who wanted to receive specialized training or a college education had to migrate to the city. This put a strain on the city's ability to provide all the functions needed for the increased population. This also kept the quality of living in rural areas lower than that of more highly educated areas of the country.

The idea behind UNED was to bring education to those who need it, rather than the other way around. Career training opportunities that distance education provides has the ability to help improve the quality of living to the people in rural areas, as the educational and skill training the inhabitants is vastly improved through education.

Online degree programs, and online courses are also being offered through UNED, as well as the other universities in Costa Rica, expanding the people's educational opportunities even further. There are now fully online degree programs, as well as offerings for a wide array of disciplines, for those who wish to take courses remotely. This opens up many educational opportunities for those living in rural areas, adults, or those who need to work while attending school. There are a number of scholarships and other forms of financial aid available for students wishing to learn remotely, which can help to offset the cost of education, which can make attending college prohibitive for many.

Remote educational opportunities such as distance education, online degrees, and online courses are becoming more and more readily available in Costa Rica, whether obtained through UNED, or from one of the high quality public or private universities. As technology improves and is disseminated across the nation, access to this type of education is also increased. This provides for expanded career options for those living in both rural and urban areas, and in the end, will improve the quality of life for the nation as a whole.

Costa Rica's post-secondary educational institutions are known for providing high quality education, and these new modes of teaching allow more and more people to take advantage of these institutes of higher learning. For those who wish to study at a university in Costa Rica without having to move, this is also a great option. Costa Rica is home to many high quality educational institutions, and these distance education options make these institutions accessible to those even outside of Costa Rica.

Cities to study in Costa Rica

CSA Study Abroad
Accredited study abroad programs all over the world for students of all levels.

Share this page: