Spend 2 weeks learning about permaculture farming, indigenous cultures, the interconnectedness of local ecosystems, and see how you can mindfully engage with each of these.
Break away from the traditional! This special language immersion experience is specifically designed for those who consider themselves agents of change and are excited to embody Greenheart’s mission to connect people and planet. On top of Spanish classes and local homestays in both Heredia and Samara, you will complete workshops to learn valuable leadership and empowerment skills that will set you on a path of creatively charged social change. At the same time, you will be diving into fun, challenging adventures in a beautiful country known by the UN as the “Champion of the Earth”.
You won’t be partaking in typical tourist activities. We offer experiences with companies and organizations that work towards a more sustainable planet for all of us! Learn about permaculture farming, indigenous cultures, the interconnectedness of local ecosystems, and see how you can mindfully engage with each of these.
This program is 2 weeks long. We cannot make exceptions to this.
There are two locations that you will be transferred between mid-program. Both locations offer a well-connected network of host families within walking distance of the schools
All students fly on their own to Costa Rica. Host families will be waiting for each student upon arrival!
Arriving or departing outside these designated windows will incur additional fees.
All students live with carefully selected local host families around 20-30 minutes from the language school. Prospective host families undergo a rigorous screening process. Participants can rest assured that only suitable host families will be selected. In order to qualify as a host family, the prospective hosts must:
Usually, two students will share a room and there can be up to 4 students with one host family. They will only share rooms with students of the same sex and will be closely supervised by their hosts.
The Adventure and Leadership language camp is designed specifically for students who wish to become agents of change in their local communities. We recommend this program to anyone who feels a strong urge to be a part of impacting others and affecting issues in which they find inspiration.
Students are supervised and chaperoned at most times. This program is very structured, which means not a lot of time will be spent alone. If students do wish to explore the surrounding area, they must be in contact with their host family and local coordinator.
Flights to Costa Rica are not included in the program fee. Students are responsible for booking their round-trip airfare to San Jose International Airport. We will collect your itinerary to organize your arrival and airport pickup.
Greenheart Travel does not recommend this service because the “additional” services advertised by the airlines are already provided to all travelers and are not worth the money invested by you the traveler. At any time, a student can ask an airlines professional for help finding their gate or for connecting flight information, so paying for this add-on UM service is oftentimes not necessary. We have sent hundreds of semester abroad students internationally, for whom we book their flights, and we never use unaccompanied minor services. If you would like the peace of mind a UM service provides, Greenheart Travel offers more self-empowering alternatives (such as reviewing airport maps, mapping connections, etc) that we believe teach teenagers relevant life skills about traveling independently.
Yes! Either someone from our in-country partner staff or your host family will be waiting for you when you land.
There are no required vaccinations to travel to Costa Rica. We follow the CDC’s guidelines for travelers.
Greenheart Travel cannot award high school credit. Please talk to your school about earning credit for your child’s time abroad. Refer to this blog post for tips on transferring credit.
Most of our students are Americans between 14-17 years old. However, there are students participating from around the world, so your child will have a cross-cultural setting both in the classroom and out. While the number of students does vary by start date, we like to keep this experience more intimate with no more than 15-17 students.
Language practice and immersion are one of the main priorities of this program. While we do not require the students to sign a contract stating they will only speak in the local language, it is highly encouraged that they use their language skills when talking to friends, partaking in the daily excursions and at night in the host family home. Program staff and chaperones primarily communicate and answer questions in the local language to encourage immersion.
In a traditional classroom, students may learn language skills; however, they are not forced to practice these skills in real world situations. Through language immersion, you will both learn the practical language skills in a classroom while also being forced to use them with local, native speakers during the excursions and/or host family experience. Studies show that 4 weeks of a full language immersion experience can be equivalent to a yearlong college language course because of the intensity of use.
Greenheart Travel provides 24-hour support to you and your child throughout the application, program and alumni processes. We are a small staffed non-profit that is accredited with CSIET, so you know you’ll always be talking to a real person on the other line. We are proud to always be available for your questions and concerns and we always answer our emails and phone calls quickly. We pride ourselves on developing a personal relationship with our participants, and love staying connected with them throughout the experience on social media & email. We offer the personal connection and support that many of our competitors do not.
Costa Rica is usually warm, although climates vary depending on altitude and location within the country. There are basically two seasons, the rainy season and the dry season. The dry season generally runs from January to May and the rainy season goes from May/April to November/December. Even during the dry season there is a chance of rain every day, so be prepared for humidity!
Get ready for lots of rice and beans! Fresh fruit is everywhere and really delicious, and meats consist of chicken, fish, pork, or beef. Your host family will provide you with 3 meals per day. Meal times and portions could be different than what you’re used to, as many ticos eat a larger breakfast/lunch and then have a small dinner. You’ll receive lots more cultural information in your program handbook once you’re accepted.
We can cater to vegetarian needs quite easily. Any other specific diets should be discussed with us to see if we can arrange to have your needs met. In some cases, you may need to provide your own food.
You will be covered by mandatory health insurance. You will receive a policy brochure and insurance card via email 1-2 weeks prior to your departure, as well as supplementary materials in your comprehensive program handbook.
Absolutely! We are happy to accept friends and groups. However, keep in mind your primary purpose of attending this program is to immerse themselves in the language and culture – so make sure your child and their friend commit to speaking Spanish!
Absolutely! If you are an educator who would like to organize a group trip, please inquire here to speak about dates, pricing, and special requests.
Greenheart Travel has been sending teens to Costa Rica for many years, and there are advantages of applying for this program through us:
We also have some unique offerings to our Greenheart Travel students and alumni!
Greenheart Global Impact Grants (GIGs)
Greenheart GIG Grants are funds awarded to Greenheart Travel participants to use for community development projects in their host or home country after they return home. A GIG is the opportunity to create, improve, or maintain an impactful, community-focused project abroad or at home. Grant funds could be applied to supporting women’s cooperatives, schools, community centers, or health clinics, for example. Grant winners will be featured on our website, social media, and blog. You can see our past winners on our blog here.
Greenheart Alumni Program
We created the Greenheart Travel Alumni Program to provide resources and a community to support alumni in their advancement as global leaders, and a way to celebrate and reward our participants for being ambitious, inspiring catalysts of cultural exchange!
Junior Greenheart Global Leaders Conference
Each May Greenheart offers full-ride scholarships to around 10 teen alumni to attend our annual conference in Chicago. You can see more about what Jr. GGLC is and what you could do at the conference here.
Committing to a language camp program can feel a bit daunting, but we are here every step of the way to make the application process as simple as possible. Below are the steps you’ll need to take to be accepted on a Greenheart Travel program.
Once you start your application, you have two weeks to finish.
1. Ensure Your Eligibility: The eligibility requirements, such as age or language proficiency, may be required for certain destinations.
2. Start Your Application Here (Approximately 5 Minutes): Greenheart Travel Application.
3. Sign the Terms & Conditions (Approximately 10 Minutes): After you complete Part 1 of your application, you (and your parent(s) if you’re under 18) will be asked to read through and sign our Terms and Conditions which outline the requirements and policies of the program.
4. Submit your deposit (Approximately 5 minutes): You will need to submit your $300 deposit at this point in the process. A deposit is required in order to reserve your spot on the program and is subtracted from your total program fee.
5. Secondary Application Form (Approximately 30 Minutes): This is the most in-depth part of the application process as it helps us get to know you better. You will need to provide detailed information about yourself, why you want to go abroad, and what you hope to gain from your experience. You will also need to upload your passport.
6. Acceptance: Greenheart Travel will thoroughly review your application and will contact you within 1-2 weeks to confirm your acceptance. If we find something in your application that we have concerns about, we will let you know immediately. 95% of applicants are accepted on the program they apply for.
You’re Accepted – now what?
Your program manager will be in touch with you directly about your acceptance. At this point you will be required to submit a second $300 commitment deposit that also goes towards the total amount (it’s not extra). This is your commitment to your start date and once we receive it is when details will start to be booked on your behalf.
You should then expect to receive your Greenheart Travel program handbook via email, which talks more about your program, as well as supplemental information about dealing with culture shock and our insurance program. We will also schedule an online pre-departure orientation to answer any lingering questions you may have. You can expect to receive your host family placement 1-2 weeks prior to your start date.