Semester Spotlight

STEM in San José

¡Bienvenidos a Costa Rica!

Verto’s STEM semester spends 12 weeks in Costa Rica, where students will focus on core general education requirements for future studies in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math at one of Verto’s Partner Institutions. In addition to gaining a deeper understanding of STEM fundamentals with supportive faculty, you’ll improve your Spanish while experiencing the rich cultural and environmental diversity of the country. You will live and study in the capital city of San José, where you’ll have the opportunity to practice your Spanish with local community members, fully immersing yourself in the language!

An outdoor-adventurer’s paradise, some Verto excursions may include a Rafting Trip on the Pacuare River, surfing weekend on the Pacific Coast, or hiking a volcano!

The Semester At-a-Glance


12 Weeks

College Credits

16 Credits

Program Cost

Starting at $15,000 USD


Student Accommodation


Student responsible for airfare to/from

Your Course Options

  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Computer Science
  • Rhetoric & Composition

Upcoming Program Dates

February 1st – April 26th, Spring 2021 Semester

Map of The Dominican Republic

Costa Rica

Location Focus


Pura Vida!

Costa Rica may be small, but it is mighty! The capital city of San Jose is working to make Costa Rica a “green” country, and the focus on sustainability can be felt in every corner of the country. Costa Rica is also one of the most innovative countries in Latin America in the technology and engineering fields in higher education; some of the top researchers in the field choose to make Costa Rica their home.


ORIENTATION: Get to know Costa Rica & Your Verto Classes

When you arrive, you’ll participate in an on-site Orientation with Program Leaders and Academic Partner staff and faculty. You’ll be led on a neighborhood walking tour around the study center, learn your way around town, meet your instructors, get to know your Verto STEM Learning Community, and so much more.

Our Program Team will make sure your basic needs are met: in addition to getting to know how to get around town, you’ll also participate in “Survival Spanish” lessons!

Navigating Classes + Life Abroad

The first few weeks of your Verto semester will challenge and excite you in new and different ways. You’ll be presented with your syllabi for the semester, map out your assignments, and incorporate study time into your weekly schedule – all while becoming a part of the culture of Costa Rica! Program Staff will make sure you know about all the opportunities available to get involved.

You can look forward to things like hiking nearby mountains, tandem language exchange, salsa lessons, and cooking classes with locals.

Establishing Your Routine

Soon, you’ll get into a groove and your Verto semester will be off and running! Between intense study sessions, going to class, practicing Spanish, and drinking plenty of Costa Rican coffee, your faculty and Program Team will make sure you are integrating into life abroad and making the most of it.

Academically, your faculty and Program Team will be there to support you as you prepare for your mid-term assignments and projects – your first collegiate assessments!

Pondering Life After Verto

Toward the end of your program, you’ll want to decide what your next steps are after Verto. What have you learned about yourself and the world around you? What have you gained? What do you want to explore further? What impact do you want to make on the world?

Verto Program Teams and Central Academic Advisors will be sure you have all the information you need to make the right decision about attending a Verto Partner Institution or doing another Verto semester.

Wrap Up: Review & Reflect

Spend the last few days of the program completing your final assignments, reflecting on your personal and academic growth over the last few months, saying goodbye to new friends, and winding down before heading back home.

Academic Focus


Computer Science

Course in development – stay tuned!


Course in development – stay tuned!


Course in development – stay tuned!

Rhetoric and Composition for the College Writer*

This course is designed to strengthen students’ writing mechanics and prepare students for the demands of academic writing.

This course has been designed to develop writing and rhetoric skills by leveraging core content explored through other Verto courses. Students use essential questions for other courses taken during the semester to contextualize the importance of strong academic writing, develop strong academic prose, and explore the relationship between language and rhetoric. This course will be facilitated throughout the full semester. 

*Note: Students with College Writing or equivalent credit do not need to enroll in Rhetoric & Composition and have the option to enroll in “World Literature: Continuation of Rhetoric & Composition for the College Writer.”

College Readiness Curriculum Seminar

In collaboration with Verto faculty, Program Leaders will facilitate workshops to help students develop study habits to help them be a successful college student. They’ll learn how to manage their time, study efficiently and effectively, read academic text, prepare for exams, and build confidence in their academic capabilities. Activities in the College Readiness Curriculum are hands-on and directly related to creating strong academic habits that will serve students well beyond their Verto semesters.

Purpose-Finding Workshop

Throughout the semester, Program Leaders will facilitate small group workshops to help students discover their purpose and create an action plan for how to follow through on their goals. Each student is assigned an individual Program Leader mentor who helps students set goals for the program and meets with the student regularly to provide feedback and support around the challenges associated with being abroad. This workshop will help students understand culture shock, cross-cultural communication, mindfulness, and help put their semester abroad into the context of their life and the future.

Community Building

Verto Program Teams will create purposeful activities to build a strong community amongst Verto students. The connections you make during your Verto semester will last a lifetime! In addition to the College Readiness and Purpose-Finding workshops, Program Teams will cultivate a community of acceptance, connection, openness, and support amongst Verto students. There are built-in opportunities for students to learn and grow together as a group with an emphasis on peer relationships and teamwork.

Think this may be a good fit?

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Important Information

Details about Verto STEM Semester:


STEM semester students will live in a student residence, in which the following will be provided: 

  • Shared bedrooms
    • Single beds
    • 1 wardrobe per student
    • Linen pack
  • Study area
  • Shared common areas: kitchen/dining & living room
  • Shared bathrooms
  • Fully furnished bedrooms and common rooms 
  • Wireless Internet access throughout residence
  • Fully equipped kitchen
    • Utensils
    • Cutlery
    • Cookware


Three meals/day are included in the semester fee.


In San Jose, students pay on the bus for each ride. The cost per ride is between $0.40 – $0.75.


Examples of weekend excursions may include: 

  • Doka Coffee Tour
  • La Paz Waterfall Gardens
  • Whitewater rafting
  • Hike Arenal Volcano and jump in Tabacon Hot Springs
  • Optional cooking classes and salsa lessons at Institute
  • Zipline and waterfall tour through the jungle


Since living expenses are included in this semester, any money students will need is for small purchases such as personal items, personal transportation (Uber/Lyft/Taxi/bus), snacks, and souvenirs. We recommend between $100-200 per month.


Classes will be delivered at the San Jose Institute in the neighborhood of San Pedro, the city’s University district.


US Passport holders do not need a visa to participate in the Latin America semester.

All passports should be valid for at least 6 months beyond the end of the program. If this is not the case, students should renew their 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 in the semester.*

*Verto Education is not responsible for any students’ inability to obtain the correct visa for any given semester, and cancellation fees will apply if a student is denied the proper visa. Verto Education cannot overturn any decision made by any Consular or Embassy official.