Bienvenidos a Costa Rica!

Studying abroad in Costa Rica gives you the chance to immerse yourself in a culture where “pura vida” is not just a saying, it is an appreciation of the natural beauty and friendliness of its people. This is your chance to have the adventure of a lifetime while learning Spanish and about the Costa Rican way of life.

“My exchange made me more sure about what I want to do in life because of the cultural and historical influences I experienced. No matter how much I love my high school, now I will always want to get on a plane and travel to explore other cultures. Thanks to this experience, I also know that I can do it! And it made me prepared to work hard for the things that I really want. I may not be the most normal person, but this experience taught me that travel is where I belong. It made me confident that that’s what I need to be doing with my life.” – Leah Miller, 2017 Greenheart Travel alumna




Activities and Excursions

Throughout your time abroad you can also participate in organized activities, excursions, and short trips for a chance to see life beyond your host community. Sample some delicious BBQ while meeting new friends, take a hiking tour in the rain forest, or experience the thrill of seeing the Arenal volcano up close during your time in Costa Rica! These are just a few of the possible adventures you could enjoy during your high school abroad program.

School Life

The government of Costa Rica invests much of its funding toward their education system. To fully embrace your local Costa Rican community you will attend a public school and all of your classes will be taught in Spanish. Mandatory school uniforms minimize economic differences among classmates and will make your packing process much easier! Typical classes include; Math, Spanish, English, Science, Geography and Agriculture.

Program Dates

Spring Break Discount:

Apply by April 3rd to study abroad in Costa Rica and get $500 off any 2017 program length!

Dates subject to change

Academic Year:
Dates: August – June
Application Deadline: May 1

Fall Semester:
Dates: August – January
Application Deadline: May 1

Fall Trimester:
Dates: August– November
Application Deadline: June 15

Spring Semester:
Dates: January – June
Application Deadline: Oct. 1
$500 Early Application Discount: Apply by June 24

Spring Trimester:
Dates: January – April
Application Deadline: Oct. 1
$300 Early Application Discount: Apply by June 24

Summer Language Camp Option:
If you aren’t able to study abroad during your school year, we do have a 2-4 week summer language camp option. Check out our Language Camp in Costa Rica program page for more information.


In researching a study abroad program, you have already shown you are a leader and open-minded in your academic pursuits. These are just a few of the traits that our exchange students possess. You’re motivated to immerse yourself in another culture and flexible enough to live outside your comfort zone. You should also:

  • Be between 14 and 18 years of age
  • Be from the United States or Canada
  • Possess a high school cumulative GPA of at least 2.75/4.0
  • Be in great mental* and physical health
  • Have a genuine interest in becoming a part of your host family and community
  • Be willing to study and learn Spanish. If your command of Spanish is not sufficient to follow lessons in school, you will be expected to take additional language lessons at your own cost.

*What does it mean to be in good mental health?
Moving to a new culture and staying in unfamiliar surroundings without your normal support structure can be very stressful, even to the most well-adjusted student. Sending a student with pre-existing conditions on a long term exchange program could exacerbate whatever challenges the student was previously facing. In order to ensure the safety of our participants, we must be rigorous in our pre-screening of (High School Abroad/Teen summer Language Camp) candidates. Learn more in our FAQs section.


Spring Break Discount:

Apply by April 3rd to study abroad in Costa Rica and get $500 off any 2017 program length!

Academic Trimester: $ 7,470
Academic Semester: $10,070
Academic Year: $13,190

Prices subject to change

What’s included in the program fee:

  • Roundtrip international airfare from Miami to San Jose, Costa Rica
  • Host family accommodations and 3 meals per day
  • Medical/Accident Insurance
  • Support and counseling services from in-country staff
  • 24 hour emergency support
  • Pre-departure orientations
    • General Pre-Departure Orientation (in person or via Skype)
    • Cultural Pre-Departure Orientation (via Skype)
  • Greeting upon arrival at San Jose airport
  • Arrival Orientation in San Jose
  • Personal assistance from Greenheart Travel Program Manager
  • Letter of recommendation upon request and successful completion of the program
  • Assigned mentor, prior to departure, upon request

Greenheart Travel also donates a portion of your fee to offset the carbon footprint of your travels.


The best way to learn about a new culture and language is to be fully immersed in it and what better way to do that than to stay with a local host family. All of Greenheart Travel’s high school abroad participants live with a carefully screened, local host family and are welcomed into the home as a member of the household. You’ll receive meals and accommodation, and by being a part of your family’s daily life, learn to live and speak like a local.

Your host family will probably be as nervous as you are when you first meet. You can help to alleviate nerves by e-mailing and speaking with them before arriving in Costa Rica. Getting to know them will help break the ice when you finally meet in person.

Most families try to eat lunch or dinner together. During weeknights families usually stay at home to talk about things that happened that day, to play cards, to watch TV, etc. Weekends are dedicated to trips and family get-togethers.

Service Learning

Do you need to meet a service learning requirement?

Does your high school require you to volunteer to complete graduation requirements? Are you applying to top colleges that are asking for your service learning experience? By joining the Greenheart Club during your program abroad, you’ll be able to have an unforgettable year studying abroad, while having a truly, unique cultural experience. Not to mention having a great time while making a difference in your host community!

Here’s how to get started:

Step 1: Join the Greenheart Club

Once you are accepted onto your study abroad program, you will be enrolled in the Greenheart Club. This is your chance to join a community of fellow Greenhearts committed to pursue a deeper level of immersion through volunteerism. The Greenheart Club acts as a resource to help you find volunteer opportunities while studying abroad.

Step 2: Log Your Hours

After your personal account is created, you will be able to connect with a community from around the world to inspire you to start volunteering, and log service hours you have already earned. Every hour you volunteer for a service learning project can be logged in our database to help you keep track for your high school requirements and college applications. The more you volunteer the more rewards you are eligible to receive.

Need help getting started? No worries! Greenheart Club staff members are happy to help you identify volunteer opportunities during your study abroad program.

Step 3: Earn Rewards

As a Greenheart Club member you will have a chance to apply for Greenheart Grants. If you have a community project you are interested in starting in your host community or at home, and you have met your required volunteer hours, you are eligible to apply. Greenheart Grants are awarded three times a year.

Why Join the Club?

This is your chance to get to know your local community outside of the classroom while you study abroad. There’s no better way to learn a language and understand a culture than working with the community on a project that matters. Boost your college application while you travel for a change!

“While in Spain, I experienced many amazing things and I got the chance to volunteer through awesome organizations. My experience actually inspired me to major in international relations.” – Eleanor Brow, former Greenheart Travel High School Abroad participant in Spain.

Read more about fellow Greenheart Club alumni on our blog.


Do I need to be fluent in another language?

No. One of the main goals of studying abroad is to become fluent in another language while you live overseas. Your host family and school will not expect you to be fluent when you first arrive and will help you improve your language skills.

Will my language skills be good enough?

We require two years of foreign language study for Argentina, Spain, France and Japan.

The language requirement is waived for all other country destinations.

For English speaking countries (Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand), you are already set!

Can friends study abroad together?

No. Our programs are based on a full, cultural immersion experience so friends are not allowed to study abroad together. Don’t worry though; making friends in your new host country will happen quickly!

Do I need my parent’s permission to participate in the High School Study Abroad Program?

Yes. As most high school participants are minors, parental permission is required.

What are my chances of being accepted into the High School Study Abroad Program?

If you have two years of foreign language experience, at least a 2.75 GPA, and a true passion for discovering new cultures you will have an increased chance of being accepted.

What does it mean to be in good mental health?
Moving to a new culture and staying in unfamiliar surroundings without your normal support structure can be very stressful, even to the most well-adjusted student. Sending a student with pre-existing conditions on a long term exchange program could exacerbate whatever challenges the student was previously facing. In order to ensure the safety of our participants, we must be rigorous in our pre-screening of (High School Abroad/Teen summer Language Camp) candidates.

We cannot accept students who have struggled with any kind of mental illness within the last 2 years and/or are reliant on medication to address their existing mental health condition.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Depression
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Debilitating anxiety
  • Eating disorders

If the student’s mental health issue has been resolved (post-medication) for over 2 years, we will ask for a note from his/her relevant practitioner(psychologist, therapist, psychiatrist, etc) as part of the application process.

I’ve already graduated, am I still eligible?

We can accept graduated students on a case by case basis and only for certain countries. The student must be within the age requirements for the program.

How are host families selected?

Host families go through a thorough interview process and are carefully screened. They must complete an application, their references must be checked, and an in-home interview must be conducted by the partner organization. Many current host families have hosted numerous participants year after year.

I know a family in my program country that would like to host me. Is that possible?

This can be possible on a case by case basis. Chances improve if there is a school in the same community that is able to host foreign exchange students.

What kind of assistance will I receive while I’m abroad?

There is a strong network of people working together to ensure your time abroad is successful. This includes your program manager in the U.S., your natural parents, your local coordinator abroad in your program location, your host school, and your host family. Immediate assistance will be provided by your local coordinator and/or host family as they will be in the same region.

What about taking SAT’s while abroad?

If you choose to take your SAT’s abroad, you will be responsible for finding a testing site. It will be much more convenient to take the SAT’s prior or after your study abroad experience, which is what we recommend.

Can we speak to current participants?

Yes! Check out our blog or find us on Facebook to talk to current participants right now!

If there is a class I must take in order to graduate, can you guarantee that I will be able to take it abroad?

There are no guarantees that you can take certain classes at your host school. Greenheart Travel will be able to provide information about the general curriculum for your age level in your host country; however, in most cases you will not be able to sign up for specific courses until AFTER you have arrived in your host country. Please review classes, transfers, and credits abroad for more information.

Can I go home to visit my family or can my parents visit me?

No. Visits are not allowed during the high school program. If your family wishes to visit, they should plan to meet you after your program is completed. In this instance, CCI/Greenheart Travel’s National office and international partner office should be informed of your family’s plans.

Can we select a certain city or region in the country abroad?

We are unable to take your location preferences into account. Our priority is to identify a host family and community that are the best match for you.

Do you offer any scholarships, financial aid, or special discounts?

We offer special discounts for students whose families have hosted one of our CCI Greenheart exchange students.

How will my son/daughter get money abroad?

It is best for students to bring an ATM/debit or credit card. Most cards are accepted at ATM machines abroad and this is by far the easiest and most convenient way to access money.

When and where does the orientation take place?

You will receive one general pre-departure orientation from your local representative here in the U.S. Your program manager in the national office will conduct the cultural pre-departure orientation via Skype. Our partner office in your host country will organize an orientation for you abroad. Normally this is conducted within a month of your arrival to the host community.

Will I have a host sibling my age?

There is no guarantee that you will have a host sibling your age. Your host family may have young children, teenage children, or grown children who no longer live at home.


Application Process

You should apply by May 1 for an August departure and October 1 for a January departure.

Complete the Online Application

There are 4 short steps in the application process which are outlined below. Please answer the application questions thoroughly and thoughtfully. This is the most important step in getting to know you and assessing your best host family match.

  • Step 1: Select the APPLY NOW button to the left. Once completed, you will be connected to a High School Abroad program manager, who will send you a link to begin the application.
  • Step 2: Provide general information about yourself. Once completed, you will receive a link in your email for the next part of your application (5 minutes)
  • Step 3: Provide more detailed information about yourself, why you want to study abroad, and what you hope to gain from your experience. Once completed you will receive a link in your e-mail for the final part of your application (2 hours).
  • Step 4: Submit your $1000 deposit and program documents. A deposit is required in order to reserve your spot on the program and is subtracted from your total program fee. Once the deposit, general profile, and signed polices are submitted we can begin preparing you for your adventure abroad. You will have 1-2 weeks to submit your remaining documents.

Review your Application

Greenheart Travel will thoroughly review your application and will contact you within 2-3 business days to schedule a time to speak about the next steps in the application and acceptance process.

You’re Accepted – now what?

Your program manager will be in touch with you directly about your acceptance. You should expect to receive an acceptance packet via email within 4-6 weeks of submitting all application documents.