Costa Rica Nuestra Senora

We invite you to study abroad with API in Costa Rica at the Instituto San Joaquín de Flores. This unique program offers unparalleled insight into the biodiversity of Costa Rica and the country’s efforts to promote sustainability. You will experience firsthand the beauty of Costa Rica’s flora and fauna by traveling throughout the country. This program also includes a 4-week credit-bearing internship placement.

Explore the natural beauty of Costa Rica, earn valuable academic credit, and learn more about biodiversity, sustainability and conservation while living in one of the world's most environmentally friendly and ecologically focused nations!

What's Included?

Highlights

Pre Departure Services

Advising

APIConnect Platform

Orientation Materials and Resources

Access to International Phone Plans

API Alumni Network

Social Networking

Scholarships

On Site Services

Airport Reception

API Center

On-Site Orientation

Excursions

Tuition

Medical and Life Insurance

Resident Directors

Social and Cultural Activities

Welcome and Farewell Group Meals

Volunteer Opportunities

Tutoring

Housing (including meals and laundry)

Language and Culture Tools

Re-Entry Services

Re-Entry Materials and Support

Post-Program Evaluation

Transcript

Alumni Network and API Ambassador Program

Reflection Sessions

View all opportunities and amenities

Application Requirements

  • Minimum 2.7 G.P.A.
  • Open to high school graduates
  • Open to students with a minimum of one year of college-level Spanish or the equivalent
  • Completed API application
  • Official transcript, most recent grade report, or high school diploma
  • Entry requirement: valid passport with supporting documents
  • Partner scholarship available (up to $2,500!)
Session Program Dates Program Cost Application Deadline Extended Application Deadline Payment Deadline
Spring Jan 6, 2023 - May 14, 2023 $21,900 Nov 18, 2022 No Extension Dec 18, 2022
Fall Aug, 2023 - Dec, 2023 $22,900 Jun 10, 2023 No Extension Jul 10, 2023

API students in the Sustainability and Environmental Studies program participate in extensive academic field trips and excursions designed to expose them to as much of Costa Rica’s biodiversity as possible. The following is a listing of potential excursions for this API San Joaquín de Flores program. API may need to modify the excursions offered in a given term due to travel restrictions or health and safety concerns.

  • Biodiversity Day Trips

    Students will participate in 6-day trips to visit volcanoes, grasslands, high forests, mangroves, and an indigenous reserve. Possible sites to be visited include: Paso de Las Lapas, Finca de Rodeo, Volcan Poás, Sarapiquí, and Cerro de la Muerte.

  • Biodiversity Weekend Trips

    Students will participate in 3 overnight trips to 3 distinct types of rainforest. Possible national parks to be visited include: Parque Marino Puntarenas, Parque Nacional Tortuguero, and Parque Nacional Los Quetzales-Monteverde.

  • Intensive Two-Week Travel Period

    Students will explore a variety of sites in the Central Valley as well as the Pacific Coastal region prior to starting courses. Cartago, one of the sites to be visited, as Costa Rica’s first capital until 1823 and is home to Costa Rica’s patron saint, Our Lady of the Angels “Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles” or “La Negrita.” Students visit the most important sites in the city, as well as the Orosi Valley, founded by the Franciscan monks in 1561. It is home to the country’s oldest church still in continuous use, built in 1735.

  • Montezuma

    Montezuma is a small but extremely beautiful beach, set amid exotic surroundings. Students can opt to explore the environment of the northern Costa Rica dry forest, visit the nearby creeks and discover the charming waterfalls in the area. The beach is great for swimming and snorkeling, and an ideal setting for taking some amazing photos!

  • Nicaragua or Panama - International Excursion

    Costa Rica and Nicaragua have a lot of things in common, but there are also many differences between the two countries. During this international trip students will experience the Nicaraguan culture as they try customary food and meet locals. Students will also learn about the history of the region by visiting Granada city and the Masaya and San Juan del Sur islands.

    Bocas del Toro, Panama was the last piece of land discovered by Columbus on his 4th journey to the New World. During this excursions students will get the chance to dolphin watch, in the Caribbean and snorkel to explore the beautiful coral reefs.

    Depending on the session, students will participate in either the Nicaragua or Panama excursion.

  • Cartago

    Cartago was Costa Rica’s first capital until 1823 and is home to Costa Rica’s patron saint, Our Lady of the Angels “Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles” or “La Negrita.” Students visit the most important sites in the city, as well as the Orosi Valley, founded by the Franciscan monks in 1561. It is home to the country’s oldest church still in continuous use, built in 1735.

  • Biodiversity Day Trips

    Students will participate in 6-day trips to visit volcanoes, grasslands, high forests, mangroves, and an indigenous reserve. Possible sites to be visited include: Paso de Las Lapas, Finca de Rodeo, Volcan Poás, Sarapiquí, and Cerro de la Muerte.

  • Biodiversity Weekend Trips

    Students will participate in 3 overnight trips to 3 distinct types of rainforest. Possible national parks to be visited include: Parque Marino Puntarenas, Parque Nacional Tortuguero, and Parque Nacional Los Quetzales-Monteverde.

  • Intensive Two-Week Travel Period

    Students will explore a variety of sites in the Central Valley as well as the Pacific Coastal region prior to starting courses. Cartago, one of the sites to be visited, as Costa Rica’s first capital until 1823 and is home to Costa Rica’s patron saint, Our Lady of the Angels “Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles” or “La Negrita.” Students visit the most important sites in the city, as well as the Orosi Valley, founded by the Franciscan monks in 1561. It is home to the country’s oldest church still in continuous use, built in 1735.

  • Cartago

    Cartago was Costa Rica’s first capital until 1823 and is home to Costa Rica’s patron saint, Our Lady of the Angels “Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles” or “La Negrita.” Students visit the most important sites in the city, as well as the Orosi Valley, founded by the Franciscan monks in 1561. It is home to the country’s oldest church still in continuous use, built in 1735.

  • Nicaragua or Panama - International Excursion

    Costa Rica and Nicaragua have a lot of things in common, but there are also many differences between the two countries. During this international trip students will experience the Nicaraguan culture as they try customary food and meet locals. Students will also learn about the history of the region by visiting Granada city and the Masaya and San Juan del Sur islands.

    Bocas del Toro, Panama was the last piece of land discovered by Columbus on his 4th journey to the New World. During this excursions students will get the chance to dolphin watch, in the Caribbean and snorkel to explore the beautiful coral reefs.

    Depending on the session, students will participate in either the Nicaragua or Panama excursion.

  • Volcán Arenal & Fortuna

    Arenal Volcano National Park is located in central Costa Rica. The park is surrounded by rainforests and cloud forests with waterfalls and hot springs (heated by the volcano) nearby.

What You’ll Study

TOTAL CREDITS - 12-14 U.S. semester credits (including internship credit)

Designed for American students, this program at the Instituto San Joaquín de Flores offers student unparalleled insight into the biodiversity of Costa Rica and the country’s efforts to promote sustainability.

Students will experience firsthand the beauty of Costa Rica’s flora and fauna while interacting with “ticos” (as Costa Ricans refer to themselves) within their host families, during a 4-week internship placement, and while enjoying cultural activities.

Intensive Travel Period

Students will spend the first two weeks of the program (prior to beginning formal classes at the Instituto) traveling to a variety of sites within Costa Rica’s central valley and exploring one of Costa Rica’s renowned national parks and beaches.

Academic Session

Once the academic session begins, students will continue to explore the biodiversity of Costa Rica and complement classroom discussions by participating in three-weekend excursions throughout the country and six-day trips.

Internship Experience

The program culminates with the completion of a 4-week internship, upon which students receive a certificate that can be presented to their home university for credit evaluation. Students can choose to focus on one of the following themes:

  1. Turtle protection
  2. Rehabilitation of wild animals
  3. Species cataloging
  4. Protected areas conservation
  5. Beach cleaning

Most students will not stay in SJDF during the internship period, but will most likely be working and staying in national parks or other natural areas.

TRANSCRIPTS

API students receive a transcript of their coursework from U.S. – accredited University of Massachusetts, Amherst upon completion of the program. The Instituto San Joaquín de Flores will issue students a certificate of their internship hours.

  • Headshot

    Kayla Cole

    Kayla Cole will be your Program Manager and will help prepare you for your API program.

    (she/her/hers)

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    Francy Orozco

    Francy Orozco will be your Resident Director in San Jose and a resource for you on-site.
    (she/her/hers)

Click Here to Find Classes

COURSE OFFERINGS

Students will complete coursework with a cohort of other U.S. students at the Instituto San Joaquín de Flores. All students will take either an intermediate or an advanced-level “Spanish for Environmental Studies” course. The language course will be paired with three additional courses taught in English, each equivalent to 3 U.S. semester credits.

Courses at Instituto San Joaquín de Flores (Sustainability and Environmental Studies)

For the most up-to-date course availability on this program, explore our Class Finder. Sort courses by term, area of study, and more!

Click here to find courses, syllabi, and more!

Courses at Instituto San Joaquín de Flores (Sustainability and Environmental Studies)

For the most up-to-date course availability on this program, explore our Class Finder. Sort courses by term, area of study, and more!

Click here to find courses, syllabi, and more!

Highlights
  • Classes in English
  • Spanish language courses available
  • Extensive exploration of Costa Rica’s biodiversity through excursions and field trips
  • 2-week intensive travel period
  • Volunteer opportunities available
  • Month-long internship
  • International excursion
  • Transcript from U.S. accredited institution (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)

Students in San Joaquín de Flores live with local host families. Host families serve as a unique introduction into Costa Rican culture and may be made up of a married couple with children, a divorced or widowed woman with children still at home, or a family with some members living at home and others living outside of the city during the work week. As API places one student per family, all students have a private bedroom. Students are provided with 2-3 meals per day, as well as laundry service once per week.

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