Costa Rica Nuestra Senora

Designed for American students, this program at the Instituto San Joaquín de Flores offers student unparalleled insight into the biodiversity of Costa Rica and the country’s efforts to promote sustainability. Students will experience firsthand the beauty of Costa Rica’s flora and fauna while interacting with “ticos” (as Costa Ricans refer to themselves) within their host families, during a 4-week internship placement, and while enjoying cultural activities.

What's Included?

Highlights

Pre Departure Services

Advising

@api Online System

Orientation Materials and Resources

Access to International Phone Plans

API Alumni Network

Social Networking

Scholarships

On Site Services

Airport Reception

API Center

On-Site Orientation

Excursions (overnight, day, international)

Tuition

Medical and Life Insurance

Resident Directors

Social and Cultural Activities

Welcome and Farewell Group Meals

Volunteer Opportunities

Tutoring

Housing (including meals and laundry)

Language and Culture Tools

Re-Entry Services

Re-Entry Materials and Support

Post-Program Evaluation

Transcript

Alumni Network and Global Leadership Academy

Reflection Sessions

View all opportunities and amenities

Application Requirements

  • Minimum 3.0 G.P.A.
  • Open to high school graduates
  • Open to students with a minimum of one year of college-level Spanish or the equivalent
  • Completed API application
  • University contact information form
  • One letter of recommendation
  • Official transcript, most recent grade report, or high school diploma
  • Entry requirement: valid passport with supporting documents

What You’ll Study

TOTAL CREDITS - 12-14 semester credits (including internship credit)

Designed for American students, this program at the Instituto San Joaquín de Flores offers student unparalleled insight into the biodiversity of Costa Rica and the country’s efforts to promote sustainability. Students will experience firsthand the beauty of Costa Rica’s flora and fauna while interacting with “ticos” (as Costa Ricans refer to themselves) within their host families, during a 4-week internship placement, and while enjoying cultural activities.

Intensive Travel Period

Students will spend the first two weeks of the program (prior to beginning formal classes at the Instituto) traveling to a variety of sites within Costa Rica’s central valley and exploring one of Costa Rica’s renowned national parks and beaches.

Academic Session

Once the academic session begins, students will continue to explore the biodiversity of Costa Rica and complement classroom discussions by participating in three-weekend excursions throughout the country and six-day trips.

Internship Experience

The program culminates with the completion of a 4-week internship, upon which students receive a certificate that can be presented to their home university for credit evaluation. Students can choose to focus on one of the following themes:

  1. Turtle protection
  2. Rehabilitation of wild animals
  3. Species cataloging
  4. Protected areas conservation
  5. Beach cleaning

Most students will not stay in SJDF during the internship period, but will most likely be working and staying in national parks or other natural areas.

TRANSCRIPTS

API students receive a transcript of their coursework from U.S. – accredited Fairfield University upon completion of the program. The Instituto San Joaquín de Flores will issue students a certificate of their internship hours.

Courses

COURSE OFFERINGS

Students will complete coursework with a cohort of other U.S. students at the Instituto San Joaquín de Flores. All students will take either an intermediate or an advanced-level “Spanish for Environmental Studies” course. The language course will be paired with three additional courses taught in English, each equivalent to 3 U.S. semester credits.

Beginner Spanish for Environmental Studies

In addition to grammatical principles, the language courses will emphasize Spanish vocabulary related to the environment and sustainability, with the objective of enriching the other courses that make up the program. Students will focus on readings related to biodiversity, the management of natural resources and global warming.

View Syllabus

Intermediate Spanish for Environmental Studies

In addition to grammatical principles, the language courses will emphasize Spanish vocabulary related to the environment and sustainability, with the objective of enriching the other courses that make up the program. Students will focus on readings related to biodiversity, the management of natural resources and global warming.

View Syllabus

Marine Biology

This course intends to provide students with basic knowledge about marine ecosystems and their most representative organisms, general biotic and abiotic interrelations, some biological and systematic aspects, and spatial distribution patterns. Students will have a comprehensive vision of marine organisms, their surroundings, the dynamics of the marine environment and the implications for human development. Theoretical lessons will be complemented with field trips as a practical resource.

View Syllabus

Socio-Environmental Perspectives in Costa Rica

This course explores the environmental reality of Costa Rica from a comprehensive and critical perspective, focusing on its human and social components. Students will learn about and analyze the diverse socio-environmental conflicts generated in the country during the last twenty years, not from a merely scientific or biological point of view, but as part of a complex social dynamic that includes different political and economic stakeholders. To do so, the course will study the environmental legislation of the country, the national educational context and the general aspects of the economic policies related to the environmental conflicts. Likewise, the roles played by the State and civil society (social organizations, private sector) on the management of resources and creation of environmental public policies will be analyzed.

View Syllabus

Tropical Ecology and Ecotourism

The objective of this course is to offer students the necessary knowledge and theoretical-methodological tools to understand and learn about conservation and the importance of a balanced development between natural processes and socio-economic activities linked to ecotourism. The current background of conservation areas and ecotourism practices in Costa Rica will be studied, along with ecological aspects, biological diversity, life zones, endemism and other important aspects that define our national territory. The subject of biodiversity will be studied extensively, emphasizing the protection, conservation, and restoration of natural resources in Costa Rica.

View Syllabus

Beginner Spanish for Environmental Studies

In addition to grammatical principles, the language courses will emphasize Spanish vocabulary related to the environment and sustainability, with the objective of enriching the other courses that make up the program. Students will focus on readings related to biodiversity, the management of natural resources and global warming.

View Syllabus

Intermediate Spanish for Environmental Studies

In addition to grammatical principles, the language courses will emphasize Spanish vocabulary related to the environment and sustainability, with the objective of enriching the other courses that make up the program. Students will focus on readings related to biodiversity, the management of natural resources and global warming.

View Syllabus

Marine Biology

This course intends to provide students with basic knowledge about marine ecosystems and their most representative organisms, general biotic and abiotic interrelations, some biological and systematic aspects, and spatial distribution patterns. Students will have a comprehensive vision of marine organisms, their surroundings, the dynamics of the marine environment and the implications for human development. Theoretical lessons will be complemented with field trips as a practical resource.

View Syllabus

Socio-Environmental Perspectives in Costa Rica

This course explores the environmental reality of Costa Rica from a comprehensive and critical perspective, focusing on its human and social components. Students will learn about and analyze the diverse socio-environmental conflicts generated in the country during the last twenty years, not from a merely scientific or biological point of view, but as part of a complex social dynamic that includes different political and economic stakeholders. To do so, the course will study the environmental legislation of the country, the national educational context and the general aspects of the economic policies related to the environmental conflicts. Likewise, the roles played by the State and civil society (social organizations, private sector) on the management of resources and creation of environmental public policies will be analyzed.

View Syllabus

Tropical Ecology and Ecotourism

The objective of this course is to offer students the necessary knowledge and theoretical-methodological tools to understand and learn about conservation and the importance of a balanced development between natural processes and socio-economic activities linked to ecotourism. The current background of conservation areas and ecotourism practices in Costa Rica will be studied, along with ecological aspects, biological diversity, life zones, endemism and other important aspects that define our national territory. The subject of biodiversity will be studied extensively, emphasizing the protection, conservation, and restoration of natural resources in Costa Rica.

View Syllabus
Highlights
  • Classes in English
  • Spanish language courses available
  • Extensive exploration of Costa Rica’s biodiversity through excursions and field trips
  • 2-week intensive travel period
  • Volunteer opportunities available
  • Month-long internship
  • Transcript from U.S. accredited institution (Fairfield University)
  • International excursion

Faculty

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    Esteban Lopez

    Esteban Lopez will be your Resident Director in San Joaquin de Flores and a resource for you on-site.

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    Hannah Stack

    Hannah Stack will be your Program Coordinator and prepare you to go abroad!

    Email - hannah.stack@apiabroad.com

API students in the Sustainability and Environmental Studies program participate in extensive academic field trips and excursions designed to expose them to as much of Costa Rica’s biodiversity as possible. All excursions are subject to change.

  • Biodiversity Day Trips

    Students will participate in 6-day trips to visit volcanoes, grasslands, high forests, mangroves, and an indigenous reserve. Possible sites to be visited include: Paso de Las Lapas, Finca de Rodeo, Volcan Poás, Sarapiquí, and Cerro de la Muerte.

  • Biodiversity Weekend Trips

    Students will participate in 3 overnight trips to 3 distinct types of rainforest. Possible national parks to be visited include: Parque Marino Puntarenas, Parque Nacional Tortuguero, and Parque Nacional Los Quetzales-Monteverde.

  • Bocas del Toro

    The archipelago of Bocas del Toro offers white-sand beaches, lagoons, and incredible opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, diving and sunbathing. It is also an area rich in wildlife. Students may visit the Bastimentos Island National Marine Park, featuring incredible coral reefs and marine life, and a nearby bird sanctuary with a variety of local and migratory species. Four species of endangered sea turtles still visit the waters of Bocas and the turtles come ashore in great numbers during certain seasons.

    Depending on the term, students will either participate in this excursion or one to Nicaragua.

  • Cartago

    Cartago was Costa Rica’s first capital until 1823 and is home to Costa Rica’s patron saint, Our Lady of the Angels “Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles” or “La Negrita.” Students visit the most important sites in the city, as well as the Orosi Valley, founded by the Franciscan monks in 1561. It is home to the country’s oldest church still in continuous use, built in 1735.

  • Granada

    During this international trip, students will absorb the Nicaraguan culture by trying the typical foods and interacting with the locals. Students will also learn about the local history by visiting Granada city and islands – Masaya and San Juan del Sur.

    Depending on the term, students will either participate in this excursion or one to Panama.
  • Intensive Two-Week Travel Period

    Students will explore a variety of sites in the Central Valley as well as the Pacific Coastal region prior to starting courses. Cartago, one of the sites to be visited, as Costa Rica’s first capital until 1823 and is home to Costa Rica’s patron saint, Our Lady of the Angels “Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles” or “La Negrita.” Students visit the most important sites in the city, as well as the Orosi Valley, founded by the Franciscan monks in 1561. It is home to the country’s oldest church still in continuous use, built in 1735.

  • Lankester Gardens

    Internationally recognized for its outstanding collections of epiphytes (air plants), the Jardín Botánico Lankester was established in 1973 as a center for the display, education, conservation and research of tropical plants. Almost 3,000 species of plants live in its 27 acres of gardens.

  • San José

    Students will spend one night in the historic capital of San José and will visit local attractions such as the Museo Nacional, the Museo de Oro Precolombino, and the Museo de Jade.

  • Montezuma

    Description currently unavailable.
  • Biodiversity Day Trips

    Students will participate in 6-day trips to visit volcanoes, grasslands, high forests, mangroves, and an indigenous reserve. Possible sites to be visited include: Paso de Las Lapas, Finca de Rodeo, Volcan Poás, Sarapiquí, and Cerro de la Muerte.

  • Biodiversity Weekend Trips

    Students will participate in 3 overnight trips to 3 distinct types of rainforest. Possible national parks to be visited include: Parque Marino Puntarenas, Parque Nacional Tortuguero, and Parque Nacional Los Quetzales-Monteverde.

  • Bocas del Toro

    The archipelago of Bocas del Toro offers white-sand beaches, lagoons, and incredible opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, diving and sunbathing. It is also an area rich in wildlife. Students may visit the Bastimentos Island National Marine Park, featuring incredible coral reefs and marine life, and a nearby bird sanctuary with a variety of local and migratory species. Four species of endangered sea turtles still visit the waters of Bocas and the turtles come ashore in great numbers during certain seasons.

    Depending on the term, students will either participate in this excursion or one to Nicaragua.

  • Cartago

    Cartago was Costa Rica’s first capital until 1823 and is home to Costa Rica’s patron saint, Our Lady of the Angels “Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles” or “La Negrita.” Students visit the most important sites in the city, as well as the Orosi Valley, founded by the Franciscan monks in 1561. It is home to the country’s oldest church still in continuous use, built in 1735.

  • Granada

    During this international trip, students will absorb the Nicaraguan culture by trying the typical foods and interacting with the locals. Students will also learn about the local history by visiting Granada city and islands – Masaya and San Juan del Sur.

    Depending on the term, students will either participate in this excursion or one to Panama.
  • Intensive Two-Week Travel Period

    Students will explore a variety of sites in the Central Valley as well as the Pacific Coastal region prior to starting courses. Cartago, one of the sites to be visited, as Costa Rica’s first capital until 1823 and is home to Costa Rica’s patron saint, Our Lady of the Angels “Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles” or “La Negrita.” Students visit the most important sites in the city, as well as the Orosi Valley, founded by the Franciscan monks in 1561. It is home to the country’s oldest church still in continuous use, built in 1735.

  • Lankester Gardens

    Internationally recognized for its outstanding collections of epiphytes (air plants), the Jardín Botánico Lankester was established in 1973 as a center for the display, education, conservation and research of tropical plants. Almost 3,000 species of plants live in its 27 acres of gardens.

  • San José

    Students will spend one night in the historic capital of San José and will visit local attractions such as the Museo Nacional, the Museo de Oro Precolombino, and the Museo de Jade.

  • Arenal & Fortuna

    Arenal Volcano National Park is located in central Costa Rica. The park is surrounded by rainforests and cloud forests with waterfalls and hot springs (heated by the volcano) nearby.

Students in San Joaquín de Flores live with local host families. Host families serve as a unique introduction into Costa Rican culture and may be made up of a married couple with children, a divorced or widowed woman with children still at home, or a family with some members living at home and others living outside of the city during the work week. As API places one student per family, all students have a private bedroom. Students are provided with 2-3 meals per day, as well as laundry service once per week.

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Session Program Dates Program Cost Application Deadline Payment Deadline
Fall Aug, 2019 - Dec, 2019 $17,400 Jun 10, 2019 Jul 1, 2019
Spring Jan, 2019 - May, 2019 $17,400 Oct 10, 2018 Nov 15, 2018