Universidad Nacional Summer Program

Spanish Language, Costa Rican Culture and Community Service


Spend six weeks exploring the culture and language of beautiful Costa Rica, known for its rich rainforests and ecological awareness. Universidad Nacional (UNA) offers a cultural immersion language program for students at all levels. Students live with host families and participate in exciting day-long excursions as well cultural workshops and field trips to traditional communities. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in a 8-day community service project, where they can engage in an array of volunteer activities, ranging from working on organic coffee plantations to organizing activities with the children of the community. Students will also participate in cultural workshops such as typical rural food making and popular dance, and excursions to natural recreational sites.

Heredia, Costa Rica

Language of Instruction: Spanish


ISEP-Direct Summer for all ISEP member students    


The first 5 weeks of the program focus on Spanish language and Costa Rican culture and the last week of the program focuses on community service.

Students will receive 4 hours of instruction, 4 days a week, and will participate in sociocultural lessons outside the classroom, including 3 one-day field trips and 2 excursions, for a total of 92 instructional hours (usually 6 US credits, depending on the home university's transfer policy).

Download Course Descriptions for UNA Language and Culture Courses:
Advanced Level
Intermediate Level
Low Intermediate Level
High Beginner Level

Community Engagement Activity: Students will also participate in 32 hours of community service, which includes 2 workshops. The 8-day community engagement activity is included as part of your ISEP benefits and students will receive a certificate of participation. Students will be taken off-site and will have the opportunity to volunteer for an organization that works to benefit the socioeconomic development of the region and the preservation of natural resources. Some projects may include working on family coffee plantations or organic farms, assisting in the coffee processing center, teaching English, and collecting samples for the organic farm database. For more information about the community service engagement program, click here.



Minimum prerequisite: Sophomore-level status.


A minimum of two semesters of university-level Spanish or the equivalent must be completed prior to the start of the program. Note: The host institution ultimately determines proficiency level and course eligibility.


Students testing into the intermediate level (with at least 3 previous semesters of Spanish) are eligible to continue studying during the fall semester. See the Membership Directory for details.


May 21 – July 2, 2016


Deadline has been extended to May 6, 2016




Students live with a host family. Meals are included.


The program includes the following activities:

1. Three (3) one-day field trips, including:
   • Tour of San José, the capital of Costa Rica (with a guided visit to the National Theater)
   • Trip to Naranjo-Sarchí (with a guided visit to a coffee plantation)
   • Trip to San Antonio de Escazú
2. Two (2) cultural workshops: Mask making and Handcraft Painting
3. Two (2) one-day excursions, including:
   • Trip to Sarapiquí in the Carribean Region for a pineapple plantation tour and a chocolate tour
   • Trip to Waterfall Gardens in the Alajuela province (Nature Park & Wildlife Refuge)

Also included in the program fee is pre-departure information, airport pick up and drop off, and an on-site orientation.


The Universidad Nacional aims to meet the needs of Costa Rican society. It furthers the integral development of the student through a humanistic curriculum based on the study of local reality and world culture. There is a growing international student body, with students from Central, South, and North America. Total enrollment: 10,500 at the Campus Omar Dengo.


Costa Rica is exceptional for its ecological awareness, environmental sensitivity, and political stability. The university, located in the city of Heredia in the Central Valley, is surrounded by coffee plantations and rainforest parks. Known as the "City of Flowers," it has a year-round spring climate and is a small comfortable city for students to live and study.


Please consider the following requirements when filling out the online application :

Participant Profile: REQUIRED
Host Request List:
     º Placement: SELECT "Summer"
     º Site: SELECT "ISEP Direct"
     º Country: SELECT " Costa Rica "
     º Institution: SELECT " Universidad Nactional "
     º Program Type: SELECT " Summer Combination "
Course Request List: For Course Name, enter " Span Lang, Costa Rican Culture and Comm Service Wk " and click the disc icon.
Language Proficiency: REQUIRED
     º Are you planning to study at a host program where the primary language of instruction is different than your native language? SELECT "Yes."
     º Please select ONE option that best describes your proof of language proficiency: SELECT either Option 2 or 3 and fill out all the remaining fields.
Personal Statement: REQUIRED
Academic References: NOT REQUIRED
Transcript: REQUIRED

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