Online Summer Program: San José, Costa Rica


A 5-week virtual program at Veritas University in San Jose. Choose from nearly 50 course offerings, all taught by university staff in a wide variety of subjects. Students taking Spanish language classes can also book a live conversation session with our Resident Director in Costa Rica.

What’s Included

  • Up to 7 credits from Veritas University
  • Take courses in a variety of subjects and disciplines from all 13 programs
  • A $500 scholarship/grant towards a traditional 2021 AIFS Study Abroad program
  • Courses in a variety of subjects and disciplines
  • City Spotlights of Paris, Rome, Berlin, London and Prague
  • AIFS Around the World cultural events including cooking classes, scavenger hunts and more
  • Career-focused workshops
  • Virtual hangouts with participants from around the country

Credits Available
Up to 7 credits


You may choose courses from a variety of subjects and disciplines below and from all 13 Online Study Programs.


SPN 3020 (3) Latin American Literature/Lecturas selectas de la literatura latinoamericana
Requirements: SPN 301
This survey course provides a panorama of outstanding classical and contemporary works, authors, genres or major literary currents in Latin America.

SPN 3050 (3) Phonetics and Phonology/Fonética y fonología
Requirements: SPN 301
This course provides methods and tools of descriptive linguistics applied to phonetics and articulation.

SPN 3070 (3) Introduction to Translation/Introducción a la traducción
Requirements: SPN 301
An introduction to the theoretical and practical tools for the translation process from English to Spanish. Students learn how to translate texts of intermediate and advanced complexity maintaining high fidelity to the author’s intention and style.

SPN 3520 (3) Latin American Dialects/Dialectos Latinoamericanos
Requirements: SPN 301
This course explores a social-historical perspective of the language to understand the current linguistic mechanisms within the different social contexts where it is spoken. The approach of this course is to analyze the variety of dialects in the Latin American countries through phonological and morphological traits of cultural elements. Put into practice dialectical strategies to promote authentic communicative elements that enrich the Spanish language.


ART 2100 (3)
Art Fundamentals: Theory and Practice
This course is designed for beginners. You will find personal meaning in works of art and develop a better understanding of the nature and validity of art (line, shape, volume, light, space, time, motion, color, and texture). Students learn about the essentials of art through experience and experimentation. Emphasis is on the diversity of form and content in artwork. Upon completion, students should understand the basics of art materials used and have a basic overview of the history of art and how art represents its society, especially Latin American culture.

PHOT 2130 (3)
Cultural Photography
The course offers the acquisition of basic photographic skills as a means of cultural exploration. Through practice exercises aiming to apply the information provided through lectures, students will consciously explore Costa Rican culture through the creation of photographic images and essays. Students will be able to consciously create photographs that document different aspects of Costa Rican culture through portraiture and landscapes.

PHOT 2100 (3)
Ecological Photography
In this course, students will gain a general understanding of the possibilities and stages of digital photography as applied to ecological exploration. Through practical exercises and field trips, students will gain the basic skills needed to consciously create and manipulate digital photographic images, while exploring Costa Rican ecological systems.  

COMM 3200 (3)
Intercultural Competence and Communication
This course addresses issues related to diversity and commonalities amongst human beings and the implications and applications of each situation or professional context. Students will develop the skills needed for intercultural competence.

COMM 3070 (3)
Creative Conflict Resolution
This multicultural, gender sensitive course is designed for students who wish to learn strategies and techniques in thought and behavior transformations for conflict resolution. The course is based on the Alternatives to Violence Project; a program started in NY State in the seventies and implemented in Costa Rica, Switzerland and other Latin American countries since 1990. Emphasis is placed on the following themes: self-esteem and self-care, communication skills, cooperation, community building and conflict resolution, including mediation, bias awareness and cultural diversity. Mandatory fieldwork sessions will be conducted at a school, a communal group or a penal institution.

GEB 3350 (3)
Introduction to International Business
An overview of the cultural environment of international business and institutions which affect business today. The Latin American perspective with regard to the U.S., Asia and Europe is examined: NAFTA, Mercosur, the EC and other common market areas and agreements.

MGMT 3030 (3)
Creative Leadership Skills
Provides the opportunity to learn about and practice the skills required for managerial excellence. These skills include leadership, negotiation, conducting performance appraisals, delegation, effective communication, interviewing and making hiring decisions and effective human resource management.

MKTG 3150 (3)
Sustainable Consumption and Production
This course will help students acquire the knowledge, capacities and values to help them contribute to shaping a better tomorrow as more responsible consumers. It will trace the history and the justification for the focus on sustainable consumption. The educational content will be provided through an examination of value systems and the life-cycle assessment of selected consumer items involving their economic, environmental and social aspects, the latter involving an introduction to product responsibility, labor practices, human rights and societal perspectives.  

ENV 3005 (3)
Environmental Impact and Social Development
The study of major environmental problems and issues confronting modern society. Students examine ecosystems, population patterns and dynamics; use and misuse of resources; population and environmental quality; environmental citizenship and economic incentives and Costa Rican initiatives in ecotourism.

ENV 3020 (3) Marine Molecular Biology
The course focuses on the use of molecular markers based on mitochondrial and nuclear DNA to highlight the importance of conservation genetics and the implications on a global scale to manage marine species in danger of extinction. Activities and conferences will be carried out at the Biomolecular Laboratory (BIOMOL). In addition, students will experience field activities to understand some controversial conservation issues related to the endangered trapezoidal marine species in Costa Rica, such as sea turtles and sharks, gathering Tissue samples and later performing hands-on activities in the laboratory such as DNA extractions, PCRs, electrophoresis, and introduction to bioinformatics analysis.

At the end of the course, students will know how to apply molecular biology techniques in addressing problems regarding the conservation biology of endangered marine species in Costa Rica.

ENV 3044 (3) Tropical Ecology
Students learn about the interactions between earth and land and how these interactions or processes affect our life and the stability of the planet. Emphasis is given to the study of the most relevant tropical ecosystems such as: tropical rainforest, cloud forests, coral reefs and mangroves. Field trips to selected environments will provide on-site examples of some of the issues learned through class work and readings. All field trips are mandatory.

ENV 3100 (3) Tropical Birds
This course will introduce the major topics in ornithology, with an emphasis on the neotropical avifauna. The major topics of the course include those unique features that make Neotropical avifauna a highlight among bird studies, including its evolutionary relationships, a very high species diversity in the Neotropics, and the natural history of Costa Rican birds. With its 900+ species of birds Costa Rica is a unique country as an introductory Neotropical ornithological and birding experience. The two field trips will introduce the main groups of birds present in Costa Rica, their behavior, and skills to identify them.

ENV 3120 (3) Land Vertebrates of Costa Rica
Students will gain insight into various biological characteristics of the groups of land chordates in the country. Costa Rica has an immensely rich animal biodiversity, with an influence of both North American and South American fauna and is a world-renowned hot spot for animal research and conservation. Emphasis will be given to the study of Costa Rican species, but others will be discussed as well.

 ENV 3150 (3) Tropical Botany
This lecture/field course will provide students with a general overview of tropical plants. Students will gain insight about basic botanical concepts and be able to explore a variety of ecosystems, their plants and the multiple and complex ecological interactions that can be found in these areas. Costa Rica is a tropical country with an immensely rich biodiversity and for this reason a very representative area to these studies. Emphasis will be given to the most common plant families in Costa Rica, but others will be discussed as well.

ENV 3160 (3) Conservation Biology Endangered Species
This course aims to highlight the importance of conservation biology in managing endangered marine species, emphasizing recent conservation efforts for umbrella species such as sea turtles and sharks in the Pacific waters bordering Costa Rica. We will develop a critical understanding of conservation biology, emphasizing the general concept of biodiversity and examining present-day case studies that focus on scientific investigations to answer critical aspects of the history of life, recovery programs, species management, community conservation and Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

ENV 3170 (3) Freshwater Ecology
Water is a vital resource for human beings. It is also a limited one, which has suffered degradation, while demand is ever growing. Freshwater ecology, otherwise known as limnology, helps us to understand the physical, chemical and biological properties of inland aquatic environments (wetlands, lakes, rivers, mangroves and reservoirs). This course emphasizes the problems and conservation efforts related to water resources. Through field trips and laboratory work, students will learn methods for monitoring aquatic environments.  

ENV 3190 (3) Tropical Marine Biology
The course studies the balance between ecosystems and human stress and demands on the constantly changing marine environment. All field trips are mandatory.

ENV 3740 (3) Climate Change and Adaption
Climate change is dramatically affecting the future of our planet. In this course, students will learn about global climate changes and how these are impacting plant and animal populations, people, and ways of life. Emphasis is placed on learning and understanding the overwhelming evidence for human-induced climate change and addressing its misconceptions. Students will also study how natural populations are affected by climate change, how can they adapt, and their likely future.

ENV 4040 (3) Sustainable Development and the Environment
An overview of the current world problems in natural resources management and conservation, and their effects on sustainable development efforts in tropical countries. Current issues that condition the possibility for development such as poverty, global warming, deforestation and potable water will be analyzed.

ENV 4100 (3) Biotechnology for Sustainability
This course emphasizes the vast possibilities offered by biotechnology for sustainable development through the study of specific cases in Costa Rica. In this sense, Costa Rica, despite its comparatively small geographical size and population, has consolidated as the most advanced country in the region when it comes to biotechnological research. This course will explore the reasons why, and correlate them with the role of sustainable development in this process. Fundamental and applied concepts of biotechnology will be explored and discussed in terms of life, environmental and social sciences. This course will be heavily based on the study of cases in which biotechnology has become into the best solution for social and environmental situations through the visits and participation of companies, associations and experts related to this technology. Therefore, this course is aimed to any professional with an interest in biotechnology from an engineering, scientific and social sciences point of view. 

HIS 2302 (3) Contemporary Latin American History
A survey of the main events in Latin American history after its independence. Topics include the historical causes and effects of the independence, some of the main issues on social, economic and political problems and the main historical leaders in modern Latin America.  

HUM 3513 (3) Costa Rica Colloquium: History and Culture
This course provides general survey of the complex heritage and social evolution of Costa Rica, using a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach and focusing on the historical development and present day dynamics of economy, society, politics, natural resources and culture. Emphasis will be placed upon different topics throughout the course, based on participating students’ diverse backgrounds and expectations.

POL 2500 (3) Human Rights in Latin America
A particular emphasis will be given to the case of Costa Rica, giving students an opportunity to explore the development of human rights in the following areas: women’s rights, children’s rights, HIV/AIDS, the CAFTA agreement and labor rights, indigenous groups and human rights, disability and age issues, and the prison environment.

POL 3200 (3) Migration, Globalization and Social Change
The course introduces students to the theories and practices of international human migration as a phenomenon that, while present throughout history, has particular emphasis in today’s world. With human ramifications, its strong societal effects are evident on both ends of the issue—the nations from which people leave, and the targeted destinations. We will review the phenomenon based on its most prominent manifestations: forced migrations, voluntary migrations and internal displacements of groupings of people, and the motivational underpinnings that provoke such drastic actions as the uprooting of home and family in pursuit of presumably better opportunities.

Migration is perceived by peoples in despair as an alternative to heavily weighing social, political and/or economic conditions, even when factoring in risks such as personal safety and adaptation to an unknown culture. Within this framework, we will analyze issues such as return migrations, the effects of remittances, the formation of diaspora communities, and the myriad of problems brought about by cultural adaptation and assimilation.

POL 3420 (3) Costa Rica Environmental Policy
We will study environmental history and policy at a regional and national level and will explore the emergence of Costa Rica’s cutting-edge environmental politics and government commitments. We will critically review Costa Rica’s sustainable development model and explore the “state of the nation and region” in regard to environmental indicators as well as taking a close look at how government policy translates into practice by reviewing case studies of community and grassroots action in forestry, organic farming, recycling, cooperatives and women’s environmental groups. Lastly, we will address some of the central issues and challenges facing these activities and the resulting environmental conflicts.

POL 3450 (3) International Relations in Latin America
Analysis of the aspects of the economic integration, globalization and conditions for a successful integration between economies and the effects of free trade in the region as well as the effects of protectionism. There will be a special treatment of foreign investments and joint ventures in Latin America.

SOCY 3050 (3) LGBTQ Diversity and Identity in Latin America
Studies the LGBTQ+ community and related social issues in the Latin American context. Special attention will be given to the Costa Rican case study where sexuality, identity, expression, health, community, family, and other social, political and lifestyle issues will be discussed. This course offers students one of the only opportunities to study LGBTQ+ Latin American dynamics and issues. This is a young, but growing field of study in Latin America and one that deserves much attention, especially as the region is home to some of the most homophobic countries in the world and at the same time undergoing radical change in terms of its acceptance of the complete spectrum of sexuality and identity expression. Students will be invited to explore LGBTQ+ Latin American community issues, to appreciate how particular countries are advancing in relation to equality and to assess present day contexts that are struggling with recently developed anti-discriminatory frameworks.

THEO 3150 (3) Major World Religions
In this course we will learn about the major world religions: Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and others. We will explore questions such as: What are the core beliefs? Is there an afterlife? What is expected of a follower? Each religion represents a population of God’s sons and daughters and understanding their worldview will help us to better know how to respect and love them.  

HHD 1050 (3) Holistic Health Approaches
This course introduces the basic concepts of alternative medicine. We will also explore and evaluate alternative approaches and philosophies to personal health and wellness. Topics include: Homeopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Acupuncture, Herbal and Nutritional Therapies, Massage, Chiropractic Therapy, Electromagnetic Therapy, Breathing Exercise and others.

PSY 2200 (3) Health and Psychology
The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Based on this definition, the concepts of health and illness have changed. Today, health care professionals (doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, etc.) must have a bio-psychosocial approach to patient health. It is extremely important that they have a general understanding of health psychology, which studies how biology, behavior and social context influence health and illness. This provides a truly integrated approach to treating patients. In this course, we will discuss some of the most common topics related to health psychology that are pertinent to the health care professions.

PSY 3050 (3) Cultural Psychology
Introduces students to the field of psychology that examines the influence of culture upon human behavior and cognitive processes. “Culture” is defined as the shared norms, values, and behaviors of groups and of the individuals in those groups. We will focus on such topics as cultural factors in self-concept, gender roles, motivation, cognition, emotions, relationships, and social values. Our exploration will be based on psychological theories, research, guest lecturers, and field experiences.

Career Focused Workshops

Readying Your Resume, Cover Letters, and LinkedIn
Preparing your professional documents and online presence is an essential piece of your career search. This session will cover best practices for connecting the dots from your experiences on-campus and abroad to the job description as well as address common hurdles in composing cover letters. Participants will be invited to schedule a 1:1 review of their resume and LinkedIn profile with Angela Manginelli, AIFS Vice President, Director of Alumni & Inclusion Initiatives following the group session. 

How to Ace the Interview
Interviews can be stressful, so it’s important to be prepared to put your best self forward in the process. This session will review what employers are looking for in new hires, interviewing etiquette, tips for structuring responses to common interview questions, and provide information on how to craft your personal elevator pitch. Attendees will have an opportunity to practice mock interviews with their peers during the session and will receive resources to continue preparing following the session. 

Navigating the Transition from College Student to Career Professional
Unlike college, your career does not come with a syllabi and that transition can be challenging. This session will help students know how to successfully make the switch to post-graduate professional, including tips on working in a multicultural and multigenerational workforce. We will address how to consider multiple job offers, budgeting for life after college, and knowing how to advocate for yourself throughout your career.

Career Guidance for Working in Education Abroad
Interested in working in education abroad but don’t know how to get started? Join our panel of AIFS alumni and staff who will share their expertise on what it’s like to work in the field and tips for leveraging your cross-cultural experiences into a career. This session will include information on working in various roles at a university and an international education organization as an Admissions Officer, Field Staff member, Vice President, Director of Alumni & Inclusion Initiatives and many more. Attendees will have an opportunity to ask panelists questions and set up 1:1 informational interviews following the group session.

AIFS Around the World

Italian Excellence
Do you know that Italy is the country with the greatest number of Unesco Heritage sites?
Do you know that Italy the 4th world’s largest producer of jewelry?
Do you know that Italy has 140 wheat crop varieties, while the US has 6?
Do you know that the Italian automotive sector numbers 3200 companies with some of the best brands in the world?
Do you know that Italy is the undisputed world leader in the production of superyachts?
Learn about this and much more, while participating in interactive webinars.

Virtual Italian Buddy
If you are interested in learning Italian, do not just sit and study. Interact with an Italian student who can help you with your homework and tell you a lot about local amenities while regularly chatting with you.

Sweet Ideas from Italy
Learn how to prepare a Tiramisu or a Sorbetto, or maybe discover how to make the typical Florentine Cantuccini cookies. The secrets and recipes that we would like to share with our American friends are so many!

Spanish Cook-Off!!
You may think Spanish food is the same all over the country, but you would be wrong. AIFS has programs in six different locations in Spain - Salamanca, Madrid, Barcelona, Granada, Seville and Valencia – and each region has its own cuisine that they are rightly proud of.  Sit in with our wonderful Resident Directors as they discuss the merits of their regional dishes, it may get quite animated, and then tune in for some actual cooking demonstrations. Learn how to make an authentic tortilla from Gaye Michaels in Salamanca and pan con tomate from Inma in Barcelona, as well as more insights into life in each location. 

Italian Wine Tradition
Wine is a big tradition Italians have always been proud of. Meet Marco, AIFS Rome staff, to get introduced to the world of Italian wines. Classes are meant to introduce inexpert users to a correct and functional approach to the very complex culture of wine consumption. By tasting a different wine variety in each single class, topics such as wine tasting and food pairing methods, wines and grapes geography, table manners and drinking etiquette, and wine seen as cultural trait d’union between cuisine and local Italian traditions will be covered. 

A Taste of Italian Cuisine
While home, how many of us have spent (at least!) some hours in the kitchen trying to duplicate some tasty special recipes? Join Luigi and Riccardo, our talented Roman chefs, to discover the secrets of Italian cuisine. Get the recipes, be ready with the ingredients required and have fun! You will learn how to cook two traditional Italian recipes while you practice from home. Buon appetite!

Parliamo Italiano?
Would you like to practice your Italian skills with a native? Book a conversation session with one of our fabulous Italian staff: meet Rosanna, Chicca and Marco in Rome for a fast and fun way to improve your language skills!

Prague: Interactive Cultural Quiz and Scavenger Hunt
Follow the clues and answer questions on the many cultural and historical sites in Prague. Our staff will introduce you to some fascinating historical figures, buildings and sites – the stories behind them and experiences you can enjoy in Prague. Play against fellow students and win a prize while learning about one of Central Europe’s most iconic cities.

London: History and Diversity
Home to over 9 million people, with over 300 different languages spoken per day, London is one of the most diverse cultural capitals of the world, renowned for its creative industries including fashion (London Fashion week alone generates over £100m of orders), art, theatre and media. It boasts of over 200 museums and galleries, including the world-renowned British Museum (home to the Rosetta stone) and the Tate Modern Art Gallery, along with the main residence of Her Majesty the Queen, Buckingham Palace, and picturesque parks such as Hyde Park, St James’s Park and Richmond Park. Yet, despite all this, tradition is not the driving force behind London’s creativity – rather it is the diversity of its people that fuels and shapes London’s formidable cultural landscape. London professor Nicole D’Adamo Moody will introduce you to London’s rich cultural past and present.

A Study Abroad Journey: AIFS Student to AIFS Coordinator
Meet Gina and Trung, Coordinators on our Florence, Italy program. But before that they were both AIFS students on our Florence program. Learn about what drew them to Florence, how the program influenced their academic choices and the path that led them to later come back to AIFS as part of our team. Who better to guide our students than staff who were previously in their shoes.

Practicing Advocacy in Daily Life
It used to be that advocacy work just involved protest signs, sit-ins and rallies. But we’re now living in a time where your voice can be just as powerful from home. From registering fellow students to vote to learning about how you can support local, national and international policies that matter to you, Advocacy 101 is the place to get a basic understanding of the legislative process and how best to move forward and be heard in the digital age. This non-partisan session will explore opportunities to take action for international education and global engagement, and you’ll learn how to work with and educate your elected officials and their offices.

Coronavirus Around the Globe - Lockdown Lowdown
How is the pandemic affecting people in different countries? You can see reports on the news but the only way to really know what is going on is to talk to the people living there. Some of our wonderful Resident Directors have come together to discuss how things are where they live, how it has impacted their lives, but also to discuss the positive things they have seen and heard during this crisis. Please join Edu in Seville, Deniz in Budapest, Nele in Berlin and Miranda in Grenoble as they discuss the situation.

City Spotlights

Paris Virtual Tour
Discover areas of Paris with our local staff member Jane. Jane is our Assistant Resident Director and her specialty is arranging all of the cultural activities for our students and accompanying them on the excursions to they get the most out of them. Join her as she explores some of Paris’ classic districts and she shares her knowledge as only a local can.

Berlin Virtual Tour
Nele is our Resident Director in Berlin, and when she is not assisting our Berlin students with all elements of the program she is also a registered tour guide. Join Nele as she takes us on a tour of her favorite sites in Berlin.

Prague Virtual Tour
Join our Prague staff as they guide you around the beautiful city of Prague, the tour will include sites such as Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, the Old Town and a particular focus on the Jewish history with a tour of the Jewish Quarter. Join Renata, Jenny and Zdenek, our wonderful Prague staff, as they lead you on a tour of this beautiful city.

From Rome with (Remote) Love
Meet Christiaan and Lavinia, our professional and super friendly certified tour guides, as they virtually walk you through the wonderful streets of our beautiful Rome. Two appointments for two highlights of the Eternal City: Bernini vs. Borromini, or how the rivalry between two great artists transformed Rome into a most beautiful city, and the new impact of contemporary street art on the walls. Roman art has something for everyone!

AIFS Study Abroad in San José, Costa Rica AIFS Study Abroad in San José, Costa Rica AIFS Study Abroad AIFS Study Abroad in Costa Rica