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Study Abroad

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API: San José - Multiple Programs

Study language and culture or sustainability at one of two distinguished universities in San José. No previous Spanish language study required!

Program Location

The urban setting of San José features neighborhood markets, local restaurants, cultural opportunities like theater, music, cinema and dance, and several museums. San José, founded in 1738, now boasts a modern and bustling contemporary city that thrives on commerce and tourism.


Students choosing to study at the International Center for Development Studies (ICDS) complete their coursework in both English and Spanish with other American study abroad students at the Universidad Latina, Costa Rica's largest private university. The university 

features modern facilities, bookstore, library, food courts, advanced equipment, and experienced staff with intimate class sizes.

Meanwhile, the Universidad Veritas hosts the language and culture programs. Veritas is a private university that promotes critical thought and creativity, and has been working with international students since 1993. These students have access to Universidad Veritas amenities, including extracurricular activities such as dance classes, conversation partners, volunteer work and cooking lessons.


There are three Marist-approved programs offered in San Jose:*

  • ICDS Development Studies in Latin America
  • Universidad Veritas Intensive Language
  • Universidad Veritas Language and Culture

The International Center for Development Studies (ICDS) program combines academics, service-learning, and cultural immersion to study human rights, environmental sustainability, and human development. Students are required to take a Community Engagement course and a Spanish language course. Addition elective coursework is taught in English, and covers subjects such as social justice, sustainability, gender issues, social cohesion, and inclusion. This program does not require previous Spanish language skill.

The Intensive Language program focuses exclusively on language acquisition during the semester. Students complete a Spanish proficiency exam online prior to the semester to determine their Spanish level. Students have the option to enroll in one elective course outside of their language study. This program does not require previous Spanish language skill.

The Language and Cultural program requires one Spanish language course, while remaining coursework is selected from a wide range of disciplines including art, humanities, communication, business, environmental studies, health, history, and politics. Elective coursework is offered primarily in English, though there are a limited number of Spanish-taught courses each term. This program does not require previous Spanish language skill.

*API offers additional programs in San Jose. Students interested in programs not included here will need to submit a Program Petition to attend.

Student Life & Co-Curricular

Students on both programs have access to their host university's facilities. Monthly API-sponsored social activities and community service opportunities are offered throughout the semester on each program. Both ICDS and Language & Culture students participate in several excursions designed to help familiarize them with areas of their host city, country, and surrounding region.

ICDS excursions include a trip to Granada, Nicaragua, and a domestic excursion that varies each semester. Additionally, ICDS students participate in field trips, class site visits, and a weekend excursion as part of their academic program.

Language and Culture students attend an international excursion to Bocas del Toro, Panama, in addition to domestic excursions that vary each semester. Past excursions have included trips to National Parks, Volcanos, and archaeological sites.


Students stay with host families while studying abroad with API in San Jose. Housing typically includes two meals per day and laundry service.

Program Cost

The Marist Abroad program fee includes full-time tuition (12-16 credits), accommodation, program orientation, scheduled academic excursions, and international health insurance. The program cost is based on full-time semester tuition and on-campus Marist housing. Students receive a detailed cost sheet once they have been admitted to the Marist Abroad Program.

Admission Criteria

  • Minimum 2.8 cumulative GPA at the time of application
  • Sophomore standing or higher at the time of study abroad
  • Academic Advisor approval of program and coursework

API Costa Rica Brochure 

How to Apply and Get More Information

Enrollment is limited, and applicants are encouraged to apply early. Click here for more information on the Marist Abroad application process.

If you have any additional questions about the program contact the Program Coordinator at

 Please click here for additional information on the program.