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Connect to the World
in Turrialba, Costa Rica

Between classes, soak up the tropical scenery and mountain landscape around Turrialba, Costa Rica. Explore the region’s natural beauty by hiking to waterfalls, rafting down rivers, and soaring through the jungle canopy on zip lines.

The local community welcomes you. Come ready to engage with and learn through language exchanges and community service.

This rich immersive experience will challenge you, and it will help you discover new interests and build intercultural confidence.

  • Duration

    15 Weeks

  • Accommodation

    Dorms, with overnight excursions

  • College Credits

    12-16 Credits from Academic Providers

  • Campus Host

    Local University Partner

  • Cost

    Spring 2023: $18,000 USD
    Fall 2023: $19,500 USD
    before scholarships & institutional aid

  • Dates

    January 23 – May 6, Spring 2023
    Late August – Mid December, Fall 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.

Take CollegeCourses

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!

ExploreCosta Rica

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 or white water rafting!

Sharpen Your Mind

In the classroom, you’ll enjoy small class sizes, energetic and caring professors, and hands-on learning delivered by our Academic Providers.
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.

Spring 2023 Course Selection


*All courses and programming are subject to change.

Course offerings are based on faculty availability, student interest, and eligibility. Final course lists are updated prior to the start of the semester.

Courses with † in title require the successful completion of a placement test or other pre-requisite before students can enroll.

Seminar in Academic Inquiry and Writing†

This course introduces students to the conventions of academic writing and the habits of critical inquiry they will need in university courses and beyond.  Students read and annotate texts on a topic (or topics) selected by the instructor, develop original avenues of inquiry through classroom discussion, and transform their questions into well-supported academic arguments.  Assignment sequences incorporate opportunities for research, drafting, revision, editing, and reflection to help students find writing processes that can be replicated in future courses and workplace projects that require only polished work.  Because different disciplines and career paths present different scenarios for critical thinking and writing, this course also teaches students how to adapt the conventions of academic inquiry to a variety of contexts.

Seminar in Academic Inquiry and Writing w/ Lab

This course introduces students to the conventions of academic writing and the habits of critical inquiry they will need in university courses and beyond.  Students read and annotate texts on a topic (or topics) selected by the instructor, develop original avenues of inquiry through classroom discussion, and transform their questions into well-supported academic arguments.  Assignment sequences incorporate opportunities for research, drafting, revision, editing, and reflection to help students find writing processes that can be replicated in future courses and workplace projects that require only polished work.  Because different disciplines and career paths present different scenarios for critical thinking and writing, this course also teaches students how to adapt the conventions of academic inquiry to a variety of contexts.

Elementary Spanish I

Focuses on the fundamental principles of grammar. Extensive vocabulary and pronunciation exercises. In SP 102 aural comprehension and pronunciation are tested by oral examination.

Elementary Spanish II†

Spanish 1102 is the second semester in the two-year basic language sequence. It is communicative in approach and emphasizes the acquisition of all four language skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Since reading and writing can be practiced at home, class time will be devoted mainly to speaking and listening activities. You can therefore expect to speak and hear Spanish most of the time.

Intermediate Spanish I†

Prerequisites: SPAN 1101, SPAN 1102 or the equivalent. Stresses the reading comprehension of modern prose texts and a review of grammar necessary for this reading. Students are encouraged to read in their own areas of interest.

Diversity and Social Justice

Local and global communities are rapidly becoming more diverse.  Social, technological, and economic changes bring us in close contact with individuals of backgrounds that are unique from our own.  Successful engagement in this global society calls for greater reflection on our worldviews, challenging perceptions, developing empathy for others, and awareness of our biases and perceptions.  Further, it also requires critical consumption and production of knowledge, stories, and data.  This course will help students develop the tools to participate in diverse organizations, have productive—but courageous—conversations, determine what makes for good evidence, and apply evidence to the social world.  Developing these critical and empathic skills will prepare students to thrive at the University in their other courses, student organizations, and high impact education opportunities, and to act as educated, purposeful, and civically engaged citizens within their communities.

Introduction to Digital Photography

This course is an introduction to the digital photographic process with an emphasis on the use of a manual camera as a tool for electronic photographic image making. The course will explore photography as a medium, critically examining the respective roles of technique, process, and methodology needed to produce creative artworks.

Making Modern Latin America

Latin American nations formed as people around the world worked out what modern ideals like freedom and equality meant in the context of multicultural countries. In this class, students will engage with various historical methods and sources-with a focus on primary sources-to investigate how Latin American leaders and citizens balanced their desires for political ideals like equality and democracy and pressures to create modern industrial economies from the vestiges of colonial rule and ongoing imperial pressures. In addition to a basis for understanding modern Latin America, students will leave this class with solid experience analyzing documents and data that they can apply to future classes or their careers.

Introduction to Psychology

This course will provide students with a basic understanding of psychology as a science. It will introduce students to research methods, principles of learning, development, biological bases of behavior, psychological disorders, and social psychological phenomena. Additional topics may include cognition, sensation and perception, sleep, intelligence, and personality. Ethical issues within the field will also be examined.

Introduction to Environmental Science w/ Lab

Today’s environmental problems have scientific, social, and political aspects to them. This course  which is required for majors and is suitable for non-majors will focus on the scientific aspects but  will not ignore the other two. The student will be introduced to the geology, biology, physics,  and chemistry behind the problems and to the social and political difficulties inherent in dealing with them. Through a combination of lecture, case histories, in-class discussions and exercises,  and observation of the environmental decision making-process at work, the student will gain an  understanding of the complex nature of environmental problems and of the choices that must be  made in solving them. Co-requisite: ENVS 1102

Discover Yourself

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.

Already daydreaming about
volcanoes and waterfalls?!

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.

Learn About Scholarships & Institutional Aid

Details About Verto Costa Rica Experience


Vertoans will stay in dorms.

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 in the cafeteria. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free accommodations are available, with advance notice. On outings and excursions, meals may be 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

  • Two-day excursion to a Caribbean beach town in neighboring Panama
  • Tours of coffee, cacao, and sustainable farm operations
  • 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
  • Brave rapids on a whitewater journey down one of the world’s most picturesque topical rivers

*Excursions are subject to change based on each abroad experience based on availability.

Spending a Full Year with Verto

Why choose just one location? Sharpen your comparative lens by learning in two amazing Verto abroad locations. Spend your first semester in Costa Rica and your second semester elsewhere in the world! If your heart is set on spending two semesters in the same city, we won’t blame you! Let us know and we’ll advise you to ensure this is the best option for you. Participants are limited to earning 30 credits in one location.

Spring 2023 Key Dates


Arrival Date: January 23

Orientation: January 23 – 27

First Day of Classes: January 30

Add/Drop Period: January 30 – February 3

Mid-term Week: March 13 – 17

Course Withdrawal Deadline: March 21

Finals Week (Last Week of Class): May 1 – 5

Final Day of Class: May 5

Departure Date: May 6


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

  • Snacks
  • Souvenirs and gifts
  • Laundry
  • 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

Visa, Passport & Age Requirements

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.

Why the Verto Costa Rica abroad experience?

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, zip lining, 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 home base 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 required academic excursions, including a two-night excursion to Panama. Material covered on these excursions will be integral to the successful completion of each course, so attendance is required.

Language Learning

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.

Safety & COVID-19

The health and safety of our participants is always our top priority. We’ve developed stages of planning to address the specific concern of COVID-19.

Review Verto’s COVID-19 Safety Plan

How to Apply

Verto’s application is quick, free, and non-binding!

Fill out Verto’s 10 minute application:

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:

P.S. Did you know that Vertoans can use their Verto app to apply to our 70+ partner colleges for free?! Learn more here.

Articles & Resources

Participant Blog: The Story Of New Beginnings In Turrialba

Participant Blog: Living the Pura Vida

Participant Blog: Weekends in Costa Rica

Participant Safety


Financial Services