• Experience the Pura Vida lifestyle by living in a homestay in a vibrant city among a welcoming community in one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. 

• Engage with the Costa Rican culture with the support of two full time on-site staff members who connect students to optional volunteer, excursion, and extracurricular opportunities. 

• Explore the natural wonders of Costa Rica by bus to visit world-renown rainforests, beaches, national parks, waterfalls, animal sanctuaries, volcanoes, hot springs, and more! 

• Take advantage of the opportunity to directly enroll in classes at the Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR)—one of the top research institutions in Central America. 


The bustling city of San José is surrounded by lush green mountains and is home to Costa Rica’s most prestigious universities. Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR) is nestled in the San Pedro neighborhood, filled with restaurants, shopping, parks, and nightlife all within walking distance of campus! 


Embrace home away from home while enhancing Spanish language proficiency by living in a homestay. Develop life-long relationships with a Tico family and experience daily life in one of the world’s friendliest cultures. 


Taste mouth-watering traditional tico dishes like gallo pinto, chifrijo, and patacones! Sip on beverages Costa Rica is famous for—batidos, agua dulce, and some of the world’s best coffee! Homestays will provide all meals for students on this program. 


Offered through a partnership between the University of Kansas, a long-time ISEP member, and the Universidad de Costa Rica, this program is the longest ongoing exchange program in the western hemisphere, providing ISEP students a unique opportunity to be a part of a longstanding cross-cultural history. Excursions outside and in the city of San José are part of orientation. Explore the central market and national theatre on a tour of San José’s downtown. Outside the city, visit Volcán Irazú and a beach on the Pacific coast alongside other international students. There are endless opportunities to explore other picturesque sites in Costa Rica alongside new friends!  


Colorful Costa Rica offers endless outdoor adventures in one of the most biodiverse locations in the world! Zip line through a cloud rainforest of Monteverde, spend a weekend on the beach, or hike to the unbelievably blue waterfall Río Celeste. 


Surround yourself in a campus community that provides resources to support students of all identities in pursuit of educational at UCR. The campus features accessible buildings to accommodate students with mobility concerns. There are also services available for students with invisible disabilities such as visual impairments or learning disorders. Rely on the vast resources available to support you with the help of two full-time onsite resident staff members. 


The on-site staff connect students to optional opportunities to volunteer during the program. Tutor students in English, spend time helping at an orphanage, or contribute to conservation efforts at a national park! 


There are with two full-time Costa Rican staff members, Zaida Ugalde, On-site Program Coordinator & Isa Alcázar, On-site Assistant Program Coordinator.  Zaida Ugalde is a native Costa Rican who has traveled extensively throughout Central America, loves the outdoors, and enjoys taking up new hobbies like learning how to grow her own coffee! Isa is originally from Chile but has called Costa Rica home for most of her life. Isa loves to explore the shopping scene and delicious food wherever she travels to and enjoys baking for program participants on special occasions! Both Zaida and Isa have worked with Grupo de Kansas students since 1994 and are passionate about making students’ experiences abroad truly unforgettable.   

What We Love About UCR 

UCR offers a unique opportunity for students to enhance their Spanish proficiency alongside supportive members in a homestay while simultaneously immersing themselves in a rigorous and engaging learning environment. The presence of two onsite staff members provides invaluable support for students as they adapt to the Pura Vida lifestyle. 

See ISEP Direct budget and estimated expenses

Program Website

Course Description

Take advantage of the opportunity to directly enroll in classes at the Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR), which is one of the top research institutions in Central America. Explore classes that meet degree requirements in the arts, sciences, social sciences, engineering and agricultural sciences. There’s a course for most anyone who wants to direct enroll. To get you started on your planning, the chart below highlights some of the more popular classes students have taken in the past. 

Credits Earned 

Students who complete the program in good standing can expect to earn 16 - 18 credits. Students take 4-6 classes during the semester. Each course is generally worth approximately 3 credits.  

If you use financial aid, please speak with a qualified financial aid advisor to understand your academic obligations and the requirements for using financial aid. 

Sample Classes Available: 


Foreign Language (Spanish) 



 Area Studies 






Linguistics (Fall) 


Legal Sociology (Fall) 


Fundamental Elements of Business Administration (Fall) 


Biology of Organisms (Fall) 


Literary Theory (Fall) 


Human Rights (Fall) 


Quantitative Methods for Decision Making (Fall) 


Biological Diversity of Costa Rica (Fall) 


Spanish Syntax (Spring) 


Alternative Dispute Resolution (Spring) 


Intercultural Business Communication (Spring) 


Genetics for Zootechnics (Spring) 


Spanish Literature (Spring) 


Constitutional Law (Spring) 


Management Principles (Spring) 


Introduction to the Flora of Costa Rica (Spring)

For detailed instructions on how to search for all available courses, please click on the "other academic conditions" dropdown link below.

ISEP STUDENT SERVICES OFFICER Kira Hakanson 703-504-9991 | Thanks for your interest in ISEP Study Abroad! I’m your Student Services Officer and main point of contact here at ISEP. As you search for programs, I'll be available to answer any questions you might have. Feel free to contact me at any point in your search process for help, tips or advice.


(in Spanish)

*This program is OK for Sophomores

Fields of Study

  • Area Studies: Recommended!

    Latin American and Caribbean Studies Latin American Studies

  • Biology: Recommended!

    Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Botany/Plant Biology Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

  • Business: Recommended!

    Accounting Business Communications Business Management Economics Finance International Business/Trade/Commerce Marketing

  • Communication:

    Digital Communication and Media Journalism Mass Communication/Media Studies

  • Computer and Information Sciences

  • Education

  • Engineering

  • Foreign Languages and Literatures:

    Classics and Classical Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics Linguistics Spanish Language and Literature

  • Health Sciences:

    Nursing Science Public Health

  • History

  • Human Services:

    Public Administration Social Work

  • International/Global Studies:

    International Relations and Affairs Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution

  • Liberal Arts and Sciences


  • Natural Resources/Conservation:

    Environmental Science Forestry Sustainability Studies

  • Philosophy and Religious Studies


  • Physical Sciences:

    Astronomy Chemistry Geology/Earth Science Physics

  • Psychology

  • Social Sciences:

    Anthropology Cartography/GIS Geography Political Science and Government Sociology

  • Visual and Performing Arts:

    Art History Dance Design and Visual Communications Drama and Theatre Arts Film Studies Graphic Design

Academic Requirements

  • U.S. GPA: 3 or higher
  • LPR Required
  • LPR Writing Score: B2 - Intermediate High-Advanced
  • LPR Reading Score: B2 - Intermediate High-Advanced
  • LPR Listening Score: B2 - Intermediate High-Advanced
  • LPR Speaking Score: B2 - Intermediate High-Advanced
LPR = ISEP Language Proficiency Report

Special Application Instructions

Students are required to submit an internal application following their placement which is required of the host institution. Instructions will be sent by the ISEP Host Coordinator by email.

Passport: All students must have a valid passport to participate in this program. If you do not have a valid passport, we suggest you start the application process as soon as possible. 

Visa/Residence Permit: Students do not have to apply for a visa prior to departure. For more information on the process, please review the ISEP Country Handbook.

Other Academic Conditions

The program is divided into two parts: On-site Orientation and Courses at UCR. Please note, the program is organized by the University of Kansas, and they will assist you with enrollment in the program. 

Regular Start: 

Students arrive: First week of February, Last week of July 

Classes start: Second week of March, Third week of August 

Classes end: Second week of July, First week of December 

Exams: Mid July, Early December 

On-site Orientation 

The On-site Orientation is a one-month course especially for Grupo de Kansas students. It is designed to introduce students to Costa Rican history and culture and prepare students for rigorous coursework in a foreign language, with an emphasis on academic writing skills in Spanish. During this orientation course students will also participate in excursions such as an art museum, Central Market, and the National Theater in San José, as well as to a volcano and waterfall, with an overnight excursion to a beach on the Pacific shore. Students will earn 3 hours of credit of SPAN 370 Hispanic Language, Culture, and Civilization for this orientation course.  

UCR Orientation Syllabus 

Courses at UCR 

Students will enroll in courses at UCR with local students, taught by local faculty. Students can get an idea of the courses offered at UCR during fall and spring semesters by looking at the course schedules below. All courses and grades are issued in U.S. credit equivalencies and posted to a University of Kansas transcript. A normal course load per semester is 12-18 hours, which is four to six classes.  Most local students follow one course of study (Carrera), so it can be helpful to take a least a couple classes in the same Carrera to get to know local students who are taking the same classes.  This also helps to minimize scheduling conflicts. 

Course Catalog: Click on “Academic Information” for links to the most recent catalog of classes at UCR.

Course Registration Details: 

Course offerings vary from semester to semester, and it is not possible to guarantee that a course will be offered during a particular semester. Students should consult the sample course schedules above and have eight to ten courses in a wide variety of departments approved by their home institution prior to arrival in San José. Use the UCR-KU Course Equivalency Log to see how courses students have taken in the past transferred back to U.S. credits at the University of Kansas (KU). This document can be used as a guide for home institutions when pre-approving courses.  

Spanish language and literature students should plan on taking one to two Spanish language/literature courses and the rest from other departments, due to the intensive reading and writing requirements for Spanish literature courses at UCR.  

Students are eligible to take most courses in a variety of departments at UCR, provided they meet the mandatory pre-requisites. Courses in majors with few students and very specific prerequisites, such as photography, art, and music have very limited space in their studios and non-UCR students usually are not able to enroll in these courses.  

Enrollment in graduate courses at UCR is limited to graduate students and requires the permission of the professor. 

Costa Rica follows the Southern Hemisphere academic calendar. Students who want to study in Costa Rica for a year may want to consider studying a consecutive (Northern Hemisphere) spring and fall term. Students may also study for a full Northern Hemisphere academic year but need to know that housing is not provided from mid-December to the end of January because of UCR's summer break. Students could use this time to return to their home country, travel, or volunteer at a national park. Sometimes it is possible to stay with the host family during the break, but it can't be guaranteed. 

Semester & Prices (based on your filters)

Select a semester to calculate the price. Semesters are named according to host university's calendar.

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