Costa Rica Statue Thinking

This exciting program feature a 36-hour supervised shadowing experience within the Costa Rican healthcare system, making it ideal for students pursuing a career in the health sciences (to include dentistry, medicine, nursing, nutrition, physical therapy, sports therapy and more!). You can choose to study Healthcare in Latin America (taught in English) or Spanish for Healthcare Professionals (taught in Spanish at the 300-level). Through this unique program you will immerse yourself in the Costa Rican culture and learn firsthand about one of Latin America's most unique healthcare systems.

What's Included?


Pre Departure Services


APIConnect Platform

Orientation Materials and Resources

Access to International Phone Plans

API Alumni Network

Social Networking


On Site Services

Airport Reception

On-Site Orientation


Resident Director


Medical and Life Insurance

Social and Cultural Activities

Welcome and Farewell Group Meals

Housing (including meals and laundry with host families)

Re-Entry Services

Re-Entry Materials and Support

Post-Program Evaluation


Alumni Network and API Ambassador Program

View all opportunities and amenities

Application Requirements

  • Minimum 2.75 G.P.A.
  • Completed API application
  • University Approval Form
  • Official transcript
  • Additional supplemental materials
  • Entry Requirements: valid passport
Session Program Dates Program Cost Application Deadline Extended Application Deadline Payment Deadline
Maymester May, 2022 - May, 2022 $4,500 Feb 1, 2022 No Extension Feb 15, 2022

API students participate excursions designed to help familiarize them with the culture and surrounding areas of their host city and country. The following is a listing of potential excursions for API San José programs. API may need to modify the excursions offered in a given term due to travel restrictions or health and safety concerns.

  • Day trip to Atenas- Sarchí Alajuela

    Students will have the opportunity to better understand how public health care services work in a rural area. Among the highlights of the trip, students will visit a small public clinic and a private practices to explore the differences of public and private health care systems in the country. The visit will include time to explore the beautiful towns of Atenas and Sarchí to learn more about Costa Rica’s culture and traditions.

  • Volcán Irazú National Park and Valle de Orosí

    At over 11,000 feet, Volcán Irazú is the highest volcano in Costa Rica. Its awe-inspiring height allows visitors standing at its peak to see both the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans. The volcano’s name was taken from the name of an indigenous village that was built on the flanks of the volcano, Iztaru, which means “shaking thunder of the hill.” The picturesque Valle de Orosí was home to the first Spanish settlement in the Central Valley of Costa Rica.

What You’ll Study

Students will choose between Healthcare in Latin America (taught in English) and Spanish for Healthcare Professionals (taught in Spanish at the 300 level). Each class includes 45 hours of instruction in addition to 36 hours of clinical shadowing in the following fields:

- General medicine/primary care
- Nursing
- Physical Therapy and Rehab
- Sports Medicine
- Occupational health
- Pharmacy
- Clinical Lab
- Nutrition
- Dentistry
- Optometry and Ophthalmology

This three-week program in Costa Rica is an intensive experience ideal for the medical or pre-health student looking to set their professional or graduate school application apart through experiential learning and professionally-supervised practice abroad.

The program is open to all levels of Spanish speakers, although spots are limited for students with no Spanish language background, and shadowing placements for those with no Spanish will also be limited.

  • Gabi headshot

    Gabi Perches

    Gabi Perches will be your Program Coordinator and prepare you to go abroad!


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    Francy Orozco

    Francy Orozco will be your Resident Director in San Jose and a resource for you on-site.

Click Here to Find Classes


TOTAL CREDITS: 4 semester credits

Students on this program will choose between two courses, one taught in English and the other taught in Spanish at the 300-level. Both classes include 45 hours of instruction in addition to 36 hours of clinical shadowing over the three-week program.

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

Find classes and syllabi

Health Care in Latin America - Maymester

This program is intended to create a unique interdisciplinary professional experience for students interested in Latin American and Caribbean Health issues. Within the field of public and private health, its particular focus is on public health assessment strategies. Through this program, students will be exposed to current challenges facing Latin America and the Caribbean and reach an understanding of the way global public health issues unfold in the region.

The course will provide students with definitions and updated material that would open them to opportunities such as examining issues related to the people, places and politics to assess the delivery and quality of health care in Latin America. Classes will involve formal and interactive sections where students will work independently or in groups to develop investigative, writing and presentation skills, as well as participate in open class discussions.

Language of Instruction: English   

View Syllabus   

Spanish for Healthcare Professionals - Maymester

This course is designed to provide students and professionals in the field of health sciences with the necessary tools to acquire the linguistic capabilities that would allow them to interact with Spanish speaking patients and their families. The general objective of this course is to train students to speak fluently in Spanish, preparing them to interview patients, complete patients’ files, elaborate medical reports, and read texts of medical relevance effectively. The course uses a theoretical-practical approach with a communicative focus.

Spanish for Health Sciences is an intensive language course. Students are required to have completed four semesters of college Spanish or the equivalent to enroll in this course. Students with no Spanish training should plan on enrolling in "Healthcare in Latin America," taught in English.

Language of Instruction: Spanish   

View Syllabus   

Students in San José live with local host families. Host families serve as a unique introduction into Costa Rican culture and may be a married couple with children, a divorced or widowed woman with or without children still at home, or a family with some members living at home and others living outside of the city during the work week. Students may be housed with other API or international students, and in all cases will have an individual room. Students are provided with three meals per day, as well as laundry service once per week.

San Jose Host Family 7775872342 O
San Jose Host Family 7775872492 O
San Jose Housing 32226889733 O
San Jose Housing 32659840840 O
San Jose Housing 32915540531 O
San Jose Housing 32915540681 O
San Jose Housing 32915540991 O