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Experience the world from anywhere in the world with API’s virtual programs. Tackle global challenges, study a new language with native speakers, give your resume a global edge, and more! Want to go abroad and go virtual? You can mix and match your programs to do both at the same time.
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Study Abroad + Options
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Designed for American students, the study abroad program in San Joaquín de Flores program at the Instituto San Joaquín de Flores offers advanced and superior level Spanish language courses along with a variety of electives including arts, literature, cultural studies, sociology, and environmental studies taught in Spanish. Students will have the opportunity to interact with “ticos” (as Costa Ricans refer to themselves) outside of the classroom by participating in community service opportunities and cultural activities. All students enroll in 4-6 classes per semester. All students are highly encouraged to enroll in a Spanish language class. Each student’s language level is determined by a Spanish placement exam administered upon arrival by the Instituto San Joaquín de Flores.
*Please note that the Spring Semester session will not be offered in 2021.
API students participate excursions designed to help familiarize them with the culture and surrounding areas of their host city and country. The following is a listing of potential excursions for API San Joaquin de Flores programs. API may need to modify the excursions offered in a given term due to travel restrictions or health and safety concerns.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
TOTAL CREDITS - 12-15 credits per semester
Advanced-level students who seek active involvement with local community members in San Joaquín are encouraged to select the Advanced Spanish Conversation course. As part of the course, students complete 20 or more hours of community service at local schools, libraries or retirement homes.
API students receive a transcript from U.S. – accredited Fairfield University upon completion of the program.
Esteban Lopez will be your Resident Director in San Joaquin de Flores and a resource for you on-site.
Laura will be your Program Manager and prepare you to go abroad!
Students are encouraged to select one language course and an additional 3-5 elective courses. All classes must meet minimum enrollment targets to be offered. The course pre-registration form that is part of the application is used to determine which courses are offered each session. Students receive a course schedule from the API office prior to their departure.
The Instituto San Joaquín de Flores operates on the contact hour system; the number of credits earned depends on the time spent in class with a professor. To determine the conversion of Costa Rican contact hours to U.S. credits, divide the contact hours per course by 15. Almost all courses at the Instituto are the equivalent of 3 U.S. semester credits.
This course focuses on the business world in Latin America. The class also includes helpful vocabulary related to business, how-to information, and common business practices and formalities that are useful to know, such as how to write a formal business letter in Spanish. It is helpful to have some knowledge of the business world, economics, or general concepts related to these topics.
Language of Instruction: Spanish
Language Level Required: Advanced
Recommended US semester credits: 3
This course offers a panoramic view of the main titles and authors of Latin American literature through an examination of their most relevant discursive events and social significance. The group analyzes the literary techniques and aesthetics of some of the most representative writers, in addition to applying some theoretical considerations to the possibilities of literary work in Latin-America and discussing the particular political, economic, and social circumstances of the region.
This course offers an overview of the culture and society in Latin America through its literary works. A selection of short stories will be used to study the configuration of national identity discourses during the 20th century and how they were transformed into the complex and contradictory interaction of marginalization and counter culture of the last decades of the 20th century.
["This course explores the complex and diverse nature of Central American culture. The content includes: Indigenous Central America and its geographical context","Spanish conquest of Central America","the colonial consolidation system","economy and society","national identities and modern Central American states","contemporary dynamics of culture and education in Central America."]
This course introduces the analysis of culture as a concept, practice, and representation, including consideration of the debates that the idea of culture has provoked in different contexts. The course provides analytical and methodological tools to discuss a full range of cultural forms and to develop key skills in the analysis of culture. Special emphasis is given to issues of culture and representation, as well as to the notion of cultural difference(s).
This course will introduce students to the basic characteristics of the linguistic system of the Spanish language, which will be contrasted with other languages, particularly English. Some similarities and differences between regional and social variations will also be discussed. The linguistic study of the language will focus on sounds (phonetics and phonology), work formation (morphology), sentence constructions (syntax), and the history of the language, taking into account the different varieties (historical and regional).
This course is an introduction to literary analysis. Narrative, drama, and poetry will be studied, along with the history of Latin America. Additionally, students will learn about the basic concepts of each genre so they can analyze, judge, discuss, and reflect on the reading of assigned texts.
This course offers a vision of Latin American music from the Pre-Columbian time to the present. latin American music will be studied as a cultural manifestation placed inside a specific social and spatial context. Emphasis will be given to the Latin American "New Song," which synthesizes the thoughts, feeling, desires, and actions of the region.
This course uses film to study Latin American identity. Students are encouraged to use a world perspective in identifying distinct textual expressions of the social function of art. The films introduced in class promote discussion of the changes that have affected a majority of Latin Americans, and also the phenomena that negatively affect the so-called ‘minorities.’
This course offers a review of the Spanish phonetic and phonological system. The basic concepts of phonetics and phonology will be covered using examples and practical applications from the Spanish language. The course will also cover the following topics: articulatory phonetics, acoustic phonetics, and Spanish dialectology
Recommended US semester credits: 3
The purpose of this course is to help students improve their style and skills writing in Spanish. The course addresses punctuation, orthography, and accent marks. Students have written activities in class as well as papers to be written outside the classroom. Throughout the course, different types of texts will be written: letters, résumés, poems, short compositions, and essays on various topics.
This community-based learning course is designed to promote interaction between people/institutions of the community and students of the Institute of San Joaquín de Flores while helping students improve fluency in conversational Spanish. Students have the opportunity to learn about the dynamics of the community, to practice Spanish, and to deepen their understanding of daily life in San Joaquín de Flores. Each student completes a total of 20 hours of service within a community organization (schools, libraries, retirement homes).
Recommended US semester credits: 3
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.