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Learn Spanish in one of the most beautiful countries in the world… Costa Rica! Explore the verdant rain forests and cloud forests, highland volcanoes and miles of tropical coastlines of the Central American country while immersing yourself in the Spanish language and culture. This unique program, located in the town of Heredia outside of San José, is designed to combine challenging academic coursework with experiential learning opportunities and volunteer sites available for student participation in the community. The included homestay and cultural activities with local University students ensure a high level of Spanish immersion and cultural experiences throughout the semester.
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Learn Spanish in Costa Rica, one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Discover a country of friendly people and breathtaking scenery. The mountainous landscape is dotted with volcanoes, cascading waterfalls, and rushing rivers. Costa Rica is situated between two coastlines, the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, giving it miles of stunning seashore that supports an amazing array of sea life. It is considered one of the best places in the world to study Spanish due to the clear and enjoyable accent of its inhabitants. The Universidad Latina de Costa Rica is a fully accredited university founded in 1986. It has a full range of degrees for students that come from all over the world. The university is located on a spacious campus set amongst pine trees and abundant green space for studying outside and intramural sports. First-rate academics combined with a beautiful locale make the ULatina a world-class location for study abroad.
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You will live in the cool highlands of Costa Rica in the beautiful city of Heredia, known as the City of Flowers. Heredia is located only 20 minutes from the capital city of San Jose, yet retains the atmosphere of a smaller Costa Rican town. Heredia provides a wonderful mix of old and new and is the perfect place to study Spanish and explore Costa Rica.
Accommodation for Disabilities/Special Needs:
Any student with a documented disability (e.g., physical, learning, psychiatric, vision, hearing, etc.) who needs to arrange reasonable accommodations must contact Disability Services for Students at (269) 387-2116 at the beginning of the semester. A disability determination must be made by this office before any accommodations are provided by the instructor. For more information, go to http://www.wmich.edu/disabilityservices/.
This study abroad course has physical requirements that are important to note for students considering applying. They include:
• Students will need to be able to walk up to one mile on rough terrain in a 40 minute time frame.
• Students will need to be able to lift and carry their own luggage for a distance of 1-2 blocks.
• Students will need to be able to engage in routine medical self-care and other activities of daily living independently or with assistive devices that they provide.
Safety and Security
Students are expected to research their country of destination to learn more about issues related to safety, security, and physical and mental health. For general information about Argentina, consult The CIA's World Factbook and the U.S. State Department. If the state department has designated any travel destination as level 3 or higher, or if the travel destination(s) contain regions designated level 3 or higher, participants must sign a WMU travel waiver prior to travel. For specific information related to safety and security, consult OSAC (United States Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security). For advice concerning health issues and related concerns, consult Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Finally, once students receive a message that they have been enrolled, they can also use resources provided by WMU's international Health and Emergency Insurance provider, GeoBlue.
- WMU student, at least 18 years of age, with good academic standing.
- Students must have completed SPAN 3160 and SPAN 3170 prior to studying abroad in Costa Rica or be approved by a Department of Spanish advisor as having equivalent level language proficiency.
- Students must have a 3.0 (B) minimum GPA in Spanish. Some exceptions will be made.
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A total of 12-15 credits will be transferred back to WMU. All participants will receive 9-12 credit hours at the 3000-4000 level for language and culture courses taken at the Universidad Latina. Students will also receive an additional 3 credits for SPAN 4100 as a hybrid online and experiential/service learning course.
The Universidad Latina de Costa Rica is a fully accredited university founded in 1986. It has a full range of degrees for students that come from all over the world. The university is located on a spacious campus set amongst pine trees and abundant green space for studying outside and intramural sports. First-rate academics combined with a beautiful locale make the ULatina a world-class location for study abroad. There is no better way to improve your Spanish and learn more about the culture than by living with one of our local host families.
You will have breakfast and dinner with your family during the weekdays and lunch at cafes at the university. This is the ideal program for students interested in Spanish immersion and those who would like to take classes with locals. Class size depends on the program you choose. Spanish language classes and electives, such as Latin American Civilization and Culture and Latin American Literature, are usually with 3 to 10 fellow study abroad students.
Language and elective classes are typically held in the morning or afternoon Monday through Friday. Advanced-level Spanish students are encouraged to take classes with locals. They are offered in the morning, afternoon, or evening, Monday to Friday
Cost & Financial Aid
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To access the complete program budget published at the top of this page, click here. Students should bring a copy of the program budget when they meet with their financial aid advisor to discuss funding for study abroad.
Students eligible for federal or state financial aid may use their awards for studying abroad. After a student has been accepted to the program, they must complete required paperwork with WMU Financial Aid to apply financial aid to the program costs. It is the student's responsibility to complete the paperwork prior to departure and to maintain compliance with financial aid regulations while studying abroad (i.e., remain enrolled full-time). Non-WMU students must apply for financial aid through their home university.
Please note: Disbursement of financial aid may not coincide with the start date of the program abroad so plan ahead. Some out-of-pocket costs may occur prior to financial aid disbursement for the semester, such as the commitment fee, passport, airfare, immunizations, visa or residence permit fees (if applicable). These costs vary by program and WMU Study Abroad Specialists are available to answer questions about the program budget.
This program involves a homestay with a local host family. Living and sharing your experience abroad with a host family is one of the important highlights of studying overseas. In fact, this can be the most enriching and lasting aspect of studying in a foreign country. Many students often maintain relationships with their host families well beyond the conclusion of the program.
Our host families are carefully selected and interviewed, and have extensive prior experience. You will have all of your meals with your family and they will provide a sack lunch on weekend excursions. All host families live in very safe neighborhoods conveniently located within 15 to 20 minutes walking distance to school.All homes have WiFi and laundry is done once a week by your host family.
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January 10 - April 25, 2019
There will be several predeparture orientation meetings with the program director and representatices of the WMU Office of Study Abroad.
Excursions and Volunteer Opportunities
Once in Costa Rica, several excursions and experiential learning opportunities are built into the program itinerary and can be viewed here:
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Host Provider Website
Dr. Michael Millar
Dr. Mercedes Tasende, Chair of the Spanish Department
WMU Study Abroad
Study Abroad Specialist
Phone: (269) 387-5890
Location: 3306 Faunce