Connect to the World
in Costa Rica
Live the ‘pura vida’ lifestyle in Costa Rica while taking courses like Interpersonal Communications, Spanish, and Ecology through cultural immersion and project-based learning provided by our Academic Providers.
Between classroom studies, soak up the incredible scenery on excursion activities like kayaking, ziplining, jungle hikes, and more!
In the process, learn about you, your community, and the world.
Dorms, with overnight excursions
12-16 Credits from Academic Providers
before scholarships & institutional aid
August 29 – December 10, Fall 2022
January 23 – May 6, Spring 2023
Start College With Community
Live with other Verto participants and learn alongside a tight-knit community of staff, instructors, and fellow travelers. Our experienced staff is on-site to support you and guide you towards a transformative first year abroad experience.
Immerse yourself in Costa Rica’s scenery and culture as you dive into experiential learning courses offered by our Academic Providers. Study ecology while standing on top of a volcano, and do your Spanish homework with vendors at the local farmers market!
Engage with local communities through Merengue dance classes, permaculture farm work, NGO workshops, and more! You can also opt-in to exciting excursions like waterfall hikes, mountain biking, or white water rafting!
Sharpen Your Mind
In the classroom, you’ll enjoy small class sizes, energetic and caring professors, and hands-on learning.
Going to class will actually become the highlight of your day.
Earn College Credit
Earn college credit through a selection of fascinating courses offered by our Academic Providers.
Available Courses for Fall 2022
Please note that course availability may vary based on partner college requirements and other factors. All courses and programming are subject to change.
The exploration of photography as an art form using digital tools and software. Emphasis is balanced between technical skill and the creative process. In-class exercises, out-of-class shooting assignments, and group critiques. A basic digital camera is required.
This science-based course takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the environmental crisis that confronts us all. Topics include ecological principles, biodiversity, climate change, sustainability, renewable and non-renewable energy, water resources, air and water pollution, and solid waste management. Field studies may include restoration projects, surveys of local ecosystems and flora and fauna populations, and visits to local environmental, agricultural, or scientific facilities.
This course offers practice in speaking, listening, reading, and writing Spanish at the intermediate level, with more advanced grammar, as well as opportunities to explore cultural aspects of the Spanish-speaking world. In addition to refining grammatical concepts introduced in Elementary Spanish I and II, students learn more challenging grammatical structures such as the subjunctive in noun clauses, adjective clauses, and adverbial clauses.
This course is designed to introduce the theory and practice of international relations and the competing approaches in understanding and addressing contemporary issues and crises. The course identifies the various state and non-state actors in global politics and describes and explains their behavior as well as the structure of the international system in which they operate. Included is an Event Master Template examination of not only the traditional subjects of international relations, such as power, nationalism, diplomacy, and war, but also those transnational factors that have come to play a critical role in an increasingly interdependent world, such as immigration, trade and economic/financial activities, the environment, human rights, and terrorism.
A practical course in the theories and elements involved in interpersonal communication. Study of the factors, which influence our ability to effectively communicate, development of relationships, the role of the self in communication, the resolution of conflict and communication on the job and in daily life.
The course covers the scientific method; basic chemistry; molecular biology; genetics; the structure and function of cells; biodiversity; and evolution.
A general introduction to random variables, descriptive statistics, sampling theory, estimation theory, tests of hypotheses, regression and correlation.
This course blends a focus on communication with grammatical rigor and vocabulary acquisition in a real-world Spanish immersion context. By successfully completing the course, you will be able to converse in Spanish about yourself, common topics daily life, general knowledge, and negotiate during conversations to convey meaning. You will also correspond in written Spanish to convey information about themselves and their day-to-day experiences, and read brief passages highlighting general information on the host country and important topics in the country’s society and cultures.
During class seminars, you will be exposed to Spanish in different communicative situations and will engage with the language in different manners, ranging from simply reacting to input in the form of audio or texts, to negotiating their way through a task. Spanish will be the primary language of instruction and the majority of class time will be spent on task-based, communicative activities where students are expected to use the target language to the best of their abilities.
During class seminars, you will be exposed to Spanish in different communicative situations and will engage with the language in different manners, ranging from simply reacting to input in the form of audio or texts, to negotiating their way through a task. Spanish will be the primary language of instruction and the majority of class time will be spent on task-based, communicative activities where individuals are expected to use the target language to the best of their abilities.
A continuing course from Spanish I with more emphasis on oral communication, writing and reading, grammatical elements, along with exploration of the cultural aspects of the Spanish-speaking world.
Topics include basic concepts of algebra, equations, inequalities, problem solving, and basic polynomial, rational, and exponential functions, with emphasis on graphing techniques, algebraic and numeric properties and applications.
The purpose of Rhetoric and Research is to prepare you as a writer for college assignments and for the writing demands in your personal, professional, and civic lives. You will critically read and write in a variety of rhetorical situations and contexts and incorporate college-level research. Specifically, we’ll learn how writing is:
(i) a communicative act that always occurs within a particular context and with a particular purpose;
(ii) a process (rather than a one-time act) in which reading, feedback and revision helps us realize the full potential of our written works; and
(iii) a communal act, for we always write to engage with an audience.
You will read and discuss a variety of works from different literary genres, focusing on nonfiction and expository texts, reading 30-60 or more pages per week. The course also emphasizes research skills, including evaluating and documenting sources, using MLA style, practicing academic integrity, and job document preparation for employment. You will write several essays in expository and argumentative prose, including at least one research paper, in response to class reading and outside research, for a total of between 6,000-8,000 words.
This compulsory course examines a range of problematic issues facing society. Conflicting perspectives, research findings, theoretical explanations and societal responses will be discussed regarding such issues as: distribution of resources, national security, the environment, race, gender, family, the medical industry and the justice process.
This course is an introduction to world history from 1500 to the present, with an emphasis on global networks of trade, ideas, culture, and conflict. Themes to be covered include, but are not limited to: capitalism, industrialism, political revolution, imperialism, colonization, war, social movements, immigration, migration, decolonization, and globalization.
The study of the economic behavior at the level of individual households and firms in a market economy. Emphasis is placed on consumer behavior, price and output, decisions of firms, and market structure. Labor economics, government regulation, poverty, income, and health care are also examined.
Participants walk away from their time in Costa Rica with much more than incredible memories and transferable credits delivered by our Academic Providers; through one-on-one counseling and mentorship, you’ll build the confidence, self-awareness and clarity to thrive in college and in life.
Set Yourself Up For Success
Work with your personal Academic Success Coordinator and College Counselor to develop your game plan for an impactful college career. You’ll get a head start on how to manage your time, study effectively, and adapt to life on campus.
Find Your Purpose
Get clarity on your future goals as you contemplate what you’ve been learning and the type of impact you want to make on the world. Your Student Life Coordinator will help you reflect on your experiences through group activities and one-on-one check-ins.
Scholarships & Institutional Aid
Travel is a vital part of every individual’s education, and Verto is committed to increasing equity, access, inclusion, and diversity in study abroad and higher education—regardless of your financial background.
About half of Verto participants receive scholarships, financial institutional, or both. For eligible participants, Verto can significantly reduce the Costa Rica cost through Verto’s Opportunity Grant. You can also apply for institutional aid, external grants, and scholarships to further reduce your semester cost.
Details About Verto Costa Rica Experience
Vertoans will stay in dorms and will have some overnight excursions. On overnight trips, you will stay in hotels, student residences, and hostel-style accommodations.
Campus accommodations will include:
- Shared dorm rooms with single beds (may be bunk beds), clothing storage (may be shelves), and bedding;
- Common areas for socializing or study;
- Kitchen with microwave and refrigerator, dishes and utensils;
- Shared bathrooms;
- Wireless internet;
- Laundry facilities
Three meals per day are included in the semester fee. These include meals on campus and on Verto-sponsored outings and excursions. On campus, meals are served buffet style, in the dining hall. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free accommodations are available, with advance notice. On outings and excursions, meals may be buffet- or picnic-style, or include box meals (such as a brown bag lunch).
Please indicate any food allergies, particularly if you have life-threatening ones, along with any dietary needs in your health & wellness form. This will be completed during the onboarding component of your Verto journey. Also please note that while we can accommodate most diets, some are particularly difficult or impossible for us to guarantee. If you have special dietary needs, speak with your admissions counselor or student onboarding advisor to be sure that your needs can be met.
Students have the option of buying snacks and meals at the campus café and gift shop, International Club, and from local vendors, some of whom provide delivery service. Student residencies have a shared refrigerator and microwave for student use as well.
Airfare: Students are responsible for booking, and paying for, their flights to and from the program site at the beginning and end of the semester.
* Please confirm with the Verto team before purchasing any flights, and get informed about the entry requirements for Costa Rica here. Verto will make reasonable efforts to ensure that up to date information is communicated to students.
Ground transportation for program arrival, departure, and Verto-sponsored events is included in the program fee. Verto-sponsored events include academic excursions on the weekends, class experiential learning outings, and extra-curricular (non-academic) events, on specified weekends and weekdays. Cost for non-Verto-sponsored transportation and activities is the responsibility of the participant.
Examples of Possible Verto Excursions
- Overnight outing to an indigenous community in the mountains
- Two-day excursion to a Caribbean beach town
- Tours of coffee, cacao, and sustainable farm operations
- Boat travel along a jungle canal to a remote sea turtle beach
- Trek over a volcano for vistas of tropical landscapes
- Exploration of urban life in a Latin American capital city
- Trip back in time with a tour of archeological ruins and ghost towns
Choose between spending 2 semesters in Costa Rica, or doing your first semester in Costa Rica and the second in another incredible Verto location!
Since all expenses are included in this first year abroad experience, any money participants will need is for small purchases such as personal items, snacks, and souvenirs. We recommend between $100-200 per month.
The Cost of Your Experience Includes
- 3 meals per day on campus and during Verto-sponsored excursions
- All accommodations on campus and during Verto-sponsored excursions
- All scheduled events and entrance fees
- Drinking water
- Books and other course materials
- Airport pick up and drop off during the window of time for start and end dates
- Travel Medical insurance
The Cost of Your Experience Does Not Include
- Souvenirs and gifts
- Visa fees
- Optional activities and associated equipment
- Food, travel, and accommodation when traveling to, from, or between programs
- Airline change fees or new tickets for flights to and from the abroad location
- Any costs associated with early departure from the abroad location
Participants must be 17-years-old by the program start date.
US passport holders do not need a visa to participate.
All passports should be valid for at least 6 months beyond the end of the abroad experience. If this is not the case, you must renew your passport as soon as possible.
Non-US passport holders should check with the local consulate and will need to obtain the proper visa to participate.*
*Verto Education is not responsible for any participants’ inability to obtain the correct visa for any given abroad location, and cancellation fees will apply if an individual is denied the proper visa. Verto Education cannot overturn any decision made by any Consulate or Embassy official.
The Costa Rica study abroad experience is a great fit for participants who are excited by…
Outdoors & Adventure Activities
Individuals on Verto’s Costa Rica abroad experience are comfortable – possibly happiest – when disconnected from their phones, but strongly connected with the elements, including the rain (there’s lots of it!). They are excited by the freedom to explore the sounds, smells, and sights of exotic plants and animals. (Participants can generally expect access to the internet but should be aware that the strength of the wifi varies depending on weather and environmental conditions).
In Costa Rica you can look forward to experiencing the natural beauty and many outdoor activities that draw thousands of tourists to this country each year. Opportunities abound for adventures away from campus like whitewater rafting, ziplining, mountain biking, and jungle hiking. Plan to explore natural areas by day and by night, to experience the rich biodiversity protected by this conservation-friendly country. You can expect to enjoy warm, white sand beaches and cool, misty cloud forests
Co-Living & Learning
You will live and study on a beautiful campus situated on over 1000 hectares in the low mountainous region of central Costa Rica. The campus boasts a lake where you can observe the many birds found in the region, and a spectacular botanical garden where you’ll learn about the many tropical fruit, roots, and tubers that are grown in the area. The campus includes classrooms, a dining facility where meals are provided, residences, outdoor space, and more. Some staff live onsite. This is a great fit for individuals who are excited by a homebase within a campus environment where they will be surrounded by their peers, staff, and instructors.
Small Town Vibes & Close Verto Community
You will be living on a campus that is within a short commute to a small agricultural town where you can enjoy a (small) handful of restaurants and shops. Vertoans will be able to meet locals in town but will largely spend time with the Verto community and local people they meet during excursions off-campus.
More Pre- Planned Activities & Routine
Participants should expect indoor classroom sessions during the mornings, from Monday – Friday. Individual class sessions range from 1 – 3 hours in duration (with breaks).
Participants should also count on afternoon class sessions for 2-4 days a week. These are experiential learning laboratories; all courses include them and their duration is 3 hours. These are immersive, out-of-the classroom activities.
There is time to do homework or projects in the afternoons (when not in session) and the evenings and some weekends.
Participants will also attend the required academic excursions, which are held on the weekend. There are 4 overnight excursions and 2 full-day outings. Material covered on these excursions will be integral to the successful completion of each course, so attendance is required.
There will be optional Verto-sponsored weekend trips and outings as well. Participants will be encouraged, but not required, to attend.
A first year experience in Costa Rica gives young adults plenty of opportunities to pick up, or hone, Spanish skills. Participants can enroll in language courses (multiple levels are offered), use Spanish with local staff and faculty, and practice it with locals in town and on excursions.
Verto’s application is quick, free, and non-binding!
Fill out Verto’s 10 minute application: vertoeducation.org/apply
After your application is submitted, you will be matched with a counselor who can answer any and all of your questions. Learn more about Verto’s decision and onboarding process here: vertoeducation.org/admissions
P.S. Did you know that Vertoans can use their Verto app to apply to our 70+ partner colleges for free?! Learn more here.