Study Abroad in San José, Costa Rica

Study Abroad in San José: Academics

Academic Programs

Courses include: architecture, art, business, communications, economics, environmental science, health, history, internships, linguistics, literature, photography, physical therapy, politics, psychology, social science, Spanish language, Spanish for health professionals, Spanish for law enforcement professionals

Choose between three programs: Spanish and Humanities, Spanish and Environmental Sciences or the Internship and Spanish program.

The Spanish and Humanities and Spanish and Environmental Sciences programs are available for a period of 12 or 16* weeks. The Internship and Spanish program is available as a 16-week program only. All students are required to take Spanish (available at all levels from Beginner to Advanced and heritage speaker) and may be able to take 1 or 2 electives from a variety of electives designed especially for study abroad students.

In addition to the electives listed in this catalog, students on the 16-week program who have a minimum of 2 years college-level Spanish and test into the advanced level may also take regular Veritas University courses taught in Spanish alongside Costa Rican students for a fully immersive experience.

No AIFS student is permitted to take a course without receiving a letter grade. Pass/fail options are not available.

*In the Spring, the 16 week program is 17 weeks in duration because of the one week mid-semester break.

Program Options

This program is designed for students who wish to begin or strengthen their skills in Spanish and take elective courses across a range of disciplines including art, architecture, business, communications, economics, health, history, literature, management, marketing, politics and psychology. Many courses take a Latin American perspective giving you a deeper understanding of the issues and challenges facing the region.

All students take Spanish language. You will be placed into the appropriate level of Spanish after taking a Skype oral and online written test prior to your arrival in Costa Rica. Classes are small to maximize language learning with no more than 10 students per class.

Spanish is available at all levels from Beginner to Advanced and courses run in 4-week blocks. Classes are taught Monday to Friday for 20 hours per week for a total of 80 contact hours and are recommended for 5 semester credits.

Students on the 12-week program take one Spanish course plus three electives.

Students on the 16-week program take 2 Spanish courses plus three electives. After being tested at the end of your first Spanish course you may move up to the next level for your second Spanish course.

Elective courses meet for 48 contact hours (3 credits) or 60 contact hours (4 credits) per semester. Most elective courses are taught in English. Electives taught in Spanish focus on literature and linguistics. Students can substitute a 4-credit elective course for a 4-credit elective from the Spanish and Environmental Sciences program. Students wishing to take electives taught in Spanish must place into the high Intermediate or Advanced level.

The Spanish and Humanities 12 or 16-week program is available as a full year, fall or spring semester. Students applying for this program require a minimum GPA of 2.5.

The 12-week program course combinations are outlined below:

Course Credits
1 x Intensive Spanish course (required) 5
2 x 3 credit electives 6
1 x 4 credit electives 4
Total 15

The 16-week program course combinations are outlined below:

Course Credits
2 x Intensive Spanish course (required) 10
2 x 3 credit electives 6
1 x 4 credit electives 4
Total 20

Alternative combinations of electives may incur additional charges. Students may take an additional Intensive Spanish course for approximately $895 payable to AIFS.

Costa Rica is at the forefront of environmental conservation. This program is designed for students wishing to improve or strengthen their Spanish skills and take elective courses in Environmental Sciences including Tropical Ecology, Environmental Impact and Social Development, Land Vertebrates of Costa Rica, Tropical Marine Biology and Environmental Awareness and Sustainable Development. Many of these electives include lab work or field trips which bring you closer to Costa Rica’s diverse ecology.

All students take Spanish language. You will be placed into the appropriate level of Spanish after taking a Skype oral and online written test prior to your arrival in Costa Rica. Classes are small to maximize language learning with no more than 10 students per class.

Spanish is available at all levels from Beginner to Advanced and courses run in 4-week blocks. Classes are taught Monday to Friday for 20 hours per week for a total of 80 contact hours and are recommended for 5 semester credits.

Students on the 12-week program take one Spanish course. Students on the 16-week program take two Spanish courses and after being tested at the end of your first Spanish course you may move up to the next level for your second Spanish course.

Elective courses meet for 48 contact hours (3 credits) or 60 contact hours (4 credits) per semester. All Environmental Sciences courses are taught in English. As well as taking Spanish plus two 4-credit Environmental Science electives you can choose a 3-credit elective from the Spanish and Humanities Program. You can also substitute one 4-credit Environmental Science course for a 4-credit course from the Spanish and Humanities Program. Students wishing to take electives taught in Spanish must place into the high Intermediate or Advanced level.

The Spanish and Environmental Sciences 12 or 16-week program is available as a full year, fall or spring semester. Students applying for this program require a minimum GPA of 2.5.

The 12-week program course combinations are outlined below:

Course Credits
1 x Intensive Spanish course (required) 5
1 x 3-credit electives 3
2 x 4-credit electives 8
Total 16

The 16-week program course combinations are outlined below:

Course Credits
2 x Intensive Spanish course (required) 10
1 x 3-credit electives 3
2 x 4-credit electives 8
Total 21

Alternative combinations of electives may incur additional charges. Students may take an additional Intensive Spanish course for approximately $895 payable to AIFS.

Internship programs provide you with an opportunity to gain valuable work experience and professional skills alongside your academic study. The internship program is offered as a 16-week program only.

Students must have a GPA of 2.6, be 20 years of age by the start of the placement, have at least 2 years of college level Spanish (or equivalent) and place into the high Intermediate or Advanced level of Spanish in order to participate in the Internship program. Molecular Biology and Conservation internships allow a more basic level of Spanish with a minimum one semester of college level Spanish (or equivalent). You should also have at least 2 years of study in the area requested for placement.

Students on this program take two Spanish courses alongside their internship placement. Students may also be able to take one or two electives chosen from the Spanish and Humanities or Spanish and Environmental Sciences program although due to the intense nature of the internship this is not always possible.

Internships are unpaid positions within companies in the vicinity of Veritas University or within the Central Valley, a bus ride away. Students are placed in positions related to their major and/or interests and are assessed by meetings, a major project and a presentation at the end of the internship. You are supervised by a professor at Veritas University who will also guide you through the project work.

Intern placements are for 30-40 hours per week and last for two or three months depending on the placement host and the number of credit hours you wish to earn. Each semester credit offered for the internship requires at least 45 hours of work within the placement. For further details about the internship program and application process please speak to an AIFS Admissions Officer.

Internship and Spanish program course combinations are outlined below:

Course Credits
2 x Intensive Spanish course (required) 10
1 x 3-credit elective* 3
1 x 4-credit elective* 4
Internship up to 6
Total up to 23

Alternative combinations of electives may incur additional charges. Students may take an additional Intensive Spanish course for approximately $895 payable to AIFS.

*Please note that due to the intense nature of the Internship, students may not be able to take additional electives. This will be determined by the number of hours spent at the internship placement.

Internship placements available on previous programs have included:

  • Business: travel agency
  • Education: public school
  • International Relations: International Exchange office
  • Molecular Biology and Conservation
  • Social Work: daycare center, orphanage, NGO

Veritas University

Veritas University was founded in 1975 as a college of the Universidad Autónoma de Centroamérica, the first private university in Costa Rica. In 1991, Veritas University became an independent university and has since grown to become one of the most highly respected private universities in the Latin American academic community with a student population of almost 2,000 including several hundred international students. Veritas is fully accredited by the Costa Rican Ministry of Education and is a member of NAFSA and the College Consortium for International Studies. It is housed in an urban campus, equipped with modern facilities, including computer labs, a wellmaintained library and cafeterias.