Verto Semester
in Costa Rica

Connect to the World
in Costa Rica

Explore Costa Rica as your classroom as you study courses like International Development, Modern Latin American History, and Environmental Science through cultural immersion and project-based learning.

Soak up the incredible scenery with adventure activities like kayaking, ziplining, jungle hikes, and more!

  • Duration

    14.5 Weeks

  • Accommodation

    Dorms, with overnight excursions

  • College Credits

    12-16 Credits

  • Country

    Costa Rica

  • Program Cost

    $5,000–15,000 USD sliding scale
    Learn About Verto’s Opportunity Grant

  • Program Dates

    September–December, Fall 2021

    January-May, Spring 2022

Start College With Community

Live with other Verto students and learn alongside a tight-knit community of program leaders, professors, and fellow travelers. Our experienced staff is on-site to support you and guide you towards a transformative semester.

Take VertoCourses

Immerse yourself in Costa Rica’s scenery and culture as you dive into Verto’s experiential learning courses. Study Environmental Science while standing on top of a volcano, or about Latin American history while examining an ancient archeological site!

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, mountain rappelling, or white water rafting!

Sharpen Your Mind

In all Verto classrooms, 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 including:

Available Courses

Please note that course availability may vary based on partner college requirements and other factors. All courses and programming are subject to change.

Environmental Science

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.

Latin American History

A historical survey of Latin America beginning with pre-Columbian societies. The survey investigates European colonization, colonial culture combined with native culture and national emergence in the nineteenth century. It also covers the economic maturity of the twentieth century, the emergence of indigenous culture, and Latin America’s striving for independent identity.

Rhetoric and Research I

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. Students 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.

Students 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. Students 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.

Introductory Spanish I

This course blends a focus on communication with grammatical rigor and vocabulary acquisition in a real-world Spanish immersion context. By the end of the semester, students successfully completing the course will be able to converse in Spanish about themselves and common topics daily life, and generalize knowledge and negotiate during conversations to convey meaning. Students 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, students 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.

Introductory Spanish II

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.

Intermediate Spanish I

This course offers students 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.

International Relations

This course is designed to introduce students to 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 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.

Beginning Digital Photography

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.

Introduction to Creative Writing

Designed for the student who wants to become a creative writer, this course will provide a foundation for further exploration and practice in poetry, fiction, and/or drama. Through critical analysis of works written by notable writers, elements of literature, and examination of the writers-reader relationship, students will gain the tools to begin crafting their own creative works and to identify their voices as writers.

Cultural Geography

This course offers students an overview of the interrelationships between human societies and the environment, known as the cultural landscape. It examines population distribution and growth, migrations, environmental modifications, and the spatial distribution of phenomena such as language, religion, economic systems, and urbanization.

Introduction to Psychology

This is a basic course introducing psychology as the scientific study of behavior and mental processes through the exploration of major theories and concepts, methods, and research findings. We will examine traditional areas of psychological investigation from a scientific perspective, including scientific methodology, human development, personality, psychological measurement, psychopathology, psychotherapy, motivation, perception, social influences on behavior, cognitive processes, learning, and biological basis of behavior.

Principles of Macroeconomics

This introductory course provides a comprehensive overview of the economy as a whole by examining both long-run and short-run macroeconomic issues. Topics include scarcity, market systems, domestic output and national income, economic cycles, unemployment, inflation, and macroeconomic equilibrium. It also includes an examination of international trade, government stabilization policy, money and banking, and financial institutions. Students are exposed to both macroeconomic theory and contemporary macroeconomic issues. Special emphasis is placed on developing economic tools and applying those tools to understanding contemporary issues.

Introduction to Statistics

A general introduction to random variables, descriptive statistics, sampling theory, estimation theory, tests of hypotheses, regression and correlation.

Calculus I

Topics include analytic geometry, limits and continuity of functions, derivatives and applications, anti-derivatives, applications of integration, transcendental functions, techniques of integration, elementary differential equations, improper integrals, sequences and series, power series, Taylor series, parametric equations, and polar coordinates.

Discover Yourself

Students walk away from their Costa Rica semester with much more than incredible memories and transferable credits; through Verto’s 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 program leaders will help you reflect on your experiences through group activities and one-on-one check-ins.

Already daydreaming about
volcanoes and waterfalls?!