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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: San Jose, Costa Rica
  • Program Terms: Fall, Spring, Winter
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Program Sponsor: International Studies Abroad 
  • Restrictions: Iowa State applicants only
  • Budget Sheets: Fall, Spring
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2020 10/01/2019 10/02/2019 01/04/2020 03/28/2020
Fall 2020 03/15/2020 03/16/2020 TBA TBA
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Study Abroad Adviser: Cruz, Peter Click here for a definition of this term Program Director: Cruz, Peter
Housing Options: Homestay, Other Click here for a definition of this term Minimum Cumulative GPA: 2.5
Language of Instruction: English, Spanish Host Country Language: Spanish
Online Course Catalog Available: Yes Click here for a definition of this term Sponsor: ISA
Click here for a definition of this term ISU Course: INTED Click here for a definition of this term Program Type: Direct
Program Description:
san JosÈ | Costa Rica

For more information, please contact Monica Ernberger, ISU Study Abroad Center.

Semester / Trimester
Arts and Design Courses with Locals
Health Care Courses in English & Medical Spanish
Spanish Language, Liberal Arts & Environmental Studies

Health Care Courses in English & Medical Spanish
Spanish Language & Latin American Culture
Spanish Language, Liberal Arts & Environmental Studies

Intensive Month
Intensive Spanish Language


The Universidad Veritas was founded in 1975 as the Collegium Veritas, a college of the Universidad Autónoma de Centroamérica, the first private university in Costa Rica. Veritas University is now an independent private university, fully accredited by the Costa Rican Ministry of Education and authorized by the National Council of Private Higher Education (Consejo Nacional de Enseñanza Superior Privada, or CONESUP). The University is renowned in Costa Rica for its design, art, architecture and photography programs. In addition, the University welcomes international students to study Spanish through its International Programs Department (DPI). There is an enrollment of approximately 1,850 Costa Rican students and about 320 international students during any given semester or summer.

ISA students have access to all of the university's amenities such as computer labs and photography laboratories and studios, should their courses require it. Wireless internet access is also available in the cafeteria. Foreign students may check out books related to their subject of study from the school library. Staff and faculty at the university are easily accessible to students. Spanish language and elective professors provide students with office hours and will also make appointments for special meetings.


Participants will attend one of the following universities if they are participating in an ISA program in conjunction with their service-learning program:
*Veritas University

Students participating in a full-time service-learning program will serve 15-35 hours per week at a local organization. All participants will develop a Portfolio throughout the program which includes reflective essays, group discussions, logs of hours, a supervisor evaluation and a certificate of completion.

Students participating in an ISA academic program and service-learning during the semester will work 5-10 hours per week at a local host organization while attending classes at the host university. The service-learning placement will begin 1-2 weeks after the first week of classes and end the week prior to final exams.

Students participating in an ISA academic program during the summer will begin their service-learning program after the ISA Summer academic program ends. Participants will spend between 15-35 hours per week at a local organization.


San José, with a population of approximately 1.5 million people, is the "hub" of Costa Rica in every sense of the word. It is the cultural, economic and social center of the country where one can experience the hustle and bustle of daily life for nearly a third of the country's population. San José is also a very cosmopolitan city, with a large international population, many international organizations, corporations and NGO's, and numerous opportunities to taste cuisine from all over the world with a Costa Rican twist.

San José, or Chepe, as the locals lovingly refer to it, has experienced high growth rates in the past century, turning it into a true Latin American metropolis. Although the city may not be viewed as aesthetically pleasing in the traditional sense of the term, and suffering from traffic woes as well as less than stellar architectural preservation, there is an indescribable charm about the city that is discovered by visitors upon meeting friendly locals or "ticos" at a local café and witnessing historical gems like the National Theater and the National Cathedral.

San José features a vibrant urban center, with a pleasant pedestrian-only boulevard lined with a variety of restaurants, shops, and some of the city's best attractions. At night you can feel the pulsing heartbeat of the city in the festive beats emanating from the many salsa clubs that can be found all over the city. Fanning out from downtown, you will encounter quieter neighborhoods, a variety of tranquil parks, and pockets of activity like the San Pedro Mall and El Pueblo. Not far from the city center, you will be able to experience quiet neighboring towns, including the pristine colonial capital, Cartago. From San José's two bus terminals (the Pacific Terminal and the Caribbean Terminal), you are able to easily travel anywhere in the country and experience the natural wonders of Costa Rica.


San José is located in the Central Valley region of Costa Rica, known for its green, fertile land, coffee plantations, and its two famous volcanoes: Poás and Irazú.

About 1.5 million people live in the province of San José.


Costa Rica has two seasons: the rainy season ('winter') lasts from May to mid-November; the dry season ('summer') lasts from mid-November to April. During the rainy season, days often start out sunny with rain falling in the afternoons and evenings. Be prepared for rain and cooler temperatures most afternoons during this season. This plentiful rain is what creates the lush green tropical flora and fauna that is so characteristic of Costa Rica. The dry season, because of its lack of rain, tends to be Costa Rica's high season for tourism, so prices all over the country are elevated during this season.

Temperatures in Costa Rica vary primarily with elevation, not with seasons. On the coasts, it is hot all year, while in the mountains it can be cool at night any time of year. The Central Valley is in a constant spring-like season, where weather varies and temperatures fluctuate. Humidity is a major factor on the Caribbean coast where it rains much more frequently than it does on the Pacific side.

See the "Funding Your Program" information at