Study Abroad Programs in Central America

A Guide To

Studying Abroad in Central America


207 Study Abroad Programs in Central America

StudentUniverse: Student Travel Agency

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American Institute For Foreign Study

Individuals interested in studying abroad in Central American can join the American Institute for Foreign Studies in Costa Rica. Students from the United States can choose from three different study abroad programs, that span all academic semesters, including a short three week program in January. Participants in Costa Rica typically stay in home stays and take at least basic Spanish lessons du...

Study in San Jose, Costa Rica with ASA

For such a small country, Costa Rica really has a lot to brag about. It covers only 0.03 % of the surface of the globe, but it proudly shelters 6% of the existing biodiversity in the entire world. In addition, a quarter of the country’s land is protected natural territory. It is also one of the most peaceful countries on earth and has not had an army since 1949. The money saved by not having an...

Boston University: Guatemala Archaeology Program

Relive Central America's history and traditional culture through Boston University Study Abroad archaeological program in Guatemala. The program provides intensive language study, archaeological exploration of the Mayan world, and investigation of the Pre-classic discovery. The Guatemala Archeology program is offered to American participants in Spring semester of even numbered years only.

Low Cost Academic Programs with CSA !

Spanish is the primary language in Central America. Study the language and other cultural courses at one of the fully accredited Costa Rican universities with the Center for Study Abroad. The study abroad program is open throughout the year.


Live in Central America in the Fall or Spring while taking up Spanish language courses with Adelante International Internships and Study Abroad. Spanish and Grammar courses focus on teaching vocabulary and grammatical structures while other courses are designed for advanced speakers. Credits earned in the program are transferable to a student's home university or college.

Study Abroad Programs

Comprehensive learning opportunities are offered in the Central American region by ISA. Mainly based in Costa Rica, participants will gain knowledge, not only in their fields of specialization ,but also in through the country's vibrant culture, by conversing with the locals, and partaking in cross-cultural activities.

Academic Programs International (API)

This Central American API program is based in magnificent Costa Rica. Students may choose to study in the fields of Business, Human Rights, Environmental Development, and so much more. Courses are primarily taught in English. Individuals who have advanced Spanish skill may choose to incorporate Spanish in the programs. Programs are only available to American and Canadian participants.

Institute for Cultural Ecology

Travel to Central America with the Institute for Global Studies and gain international experience while studying abroad. Students worldwide can partake in a semester-long program in Costa Rica and earn academic credits. A variety of fields are offered such as Tourism, Animal Sciences, and Education.

University Studies Abroad Consortium

The University Studies Abroad Consortium offers academic programs in Central America. Students can take courses from a wide variety of subject areas while experiencing the tranquil and picturesque location and egalitarian society.

Semester at Sea - Fall Voyage: Costa Rica

Semester at Sea is a global journey that brings students face-to-face with a diversity of our world's cultures and perspectives. Every spring and fall, Semester at Sea explores up to 12 developed and emerging countries and 16 cities on a 100-day voyage. Students represent nearly 25 different countries and 250 institutions, and with the faculty, staff, and crew become a supportive and collabora...


Get involved, make an impact, and learn to serve! University credit is available for our local service learning programs in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru. Service Learning Project Areas: - Working with Kids - Teaching English - Conservation - Construction - Animal Care - Eco-Agriculture - Indigenous Immersion - Medical & Healthcare University credit is awarded ...

Sol Education Abroad

Study for a semester or a year in the beautiful Central American country of Costa Rica and discover friendly people, a rich culture, and diverse flora and fauna with Sol Education Abroad. Choose from a wide variety of courses, including Spanish language classes, and earn academic credit. The program also encourages students to take up volunteering during the trip.

CEA Global Education

Offering a wide array of academic courses in Asia specifically in China, this program is created so that students will have a better feel of the locality by encouraging them to go out of their classroom every once in a while and fully-immerse in the local community. Only American and Canadian participants are allowed to partake in this program.

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Studying Abroad in Central America

Of the eight countries that make up Central America, you will discover that each has an exceptional history, culture, and natural beauty to keep your travel bug fully satisfied. Apart from the diverse cultural landscapes that makes up this region, Central America has lots to offer students, including plenty of supplemental activities to suit a range of majors and areas of study. Students are therefore encouraged to dive right into study abroad in Central America, and get a front-row seat before all the good ones are taken!


Central America is a vast region made up of eight different countries, each with something different to offer prospective study abroad students. Each of these countries have well-established study abroad programs and local universities, with additional opportunities and resources available, in the way of community involvement, extracurricular adventures, and weekend expeditions.

Panama. Studying abroad in Panama is about as affordable as it gets. The cost of living is low, and public universities are free for everyone, including international students. With almost 90 higher education institutions, lush rainforests, and of course, those that famous canal, Panama is an excellent place for environmentally-minded students, as well as individuals with an interest in architecture, business, and urban and regional planning. 

Costa Rica. Home to one of the largest and most diverse ecosystems in the world, Costa Rica is an attraction for any student interested in wildlife or environmental science. The dramatic landscapes vary, from the high cloud forests to the Caribbean coasts, making this coastal nugget an ideal place to spend a semester or summer studying abroad

El Salvador. The smallest of the Central American countries, El Salvador packs quite a punch with its mountainous terrain, rich history, and notoriously friendly culture. Despite its rocky political past, El Salvador remains an excellent non-traditional place for study abroad in Central America, especially those interested in studying Spanish, social work, human rights, or tourism.

Belize. Known for its beaches, scuba-diving, Mayan temples, and tropical reefs, Belize is the perfect place to study abroad in Central America for those who love outdoor adventures. Located in the heart of Central America, it is a diverse nation, culturally made up of Creole, East Indian, Garifuna, Chinese, and many more groups of people. Study abroad programs in Belize are especially common in the fields of ecology, marine biology, sustainable development, medicine, and other health related professions.

Honduras. With a recently stabilized political scene and an expanding tourism industry, there has never been a better time to study abroad in Honduras. Students looking to hone their skills in the Spanish language should especially look no further than this beautiful, tropical country. Just make sure you go during the dry season!

Studying Abroad in Central America

While each country (and specific universities within each country) has its own strengths and popular specialties, there are some fields that are strong across the board for study abroad in Central America.

First and foremost, students looking to study Spanish will be able to find a slew of top-notch courses and study abroad program opportunities. Many countries in Central America have developed idiosyncratic slang and dialogues off the traditional dialect, providing students with a more unique perspective of the Spanish language. Even those not participating in a particularly immersive language program in Central America are encouraged to take Spanish language classes as part of their study abroad experience.

Other extremely popular subjects of study in Central America include biology, medicine, or health sciences. Due to some of the well-known medical conditions and health issues plaguing the less resourceful, accessible, and prosperous areas of the region, there are always opportunities for supplemental volunteer work in Central America for those interested in the healthcare fields. 

Of course, the most popular subject for study abroad in Central America is anything related to environmental science, ecology, and the natural sciences. Due simply to the overwhelming amount of rainforests, volcanoes, and tropical coastline, Central America is one of the world's premiere destinations for studying nature and the environment. During any study abroad program in Central America, no matter which country you choose, you’ll have the opportunity to supplement your classroom time with hands-on experience in a truly unparalleled natural environment.

Scholarships & Costs

There is quite a bit of fiscal diversity in Central America, so depending on your study abroad program, costs will vary country to country. For example, San Jose, Costa Rica is one of the more expensive locations to study abroad in Central America; however, Guatemala is well-known as one of the cheapest locations to for study abroad in the world. Do your due diligence before selecting a study abroad program in Central America, and consult with your academic advisor at your home university. 

It’s recommended that students double check with their home university as well as their host university in Central America to learn more about available scholarship opportunities. But all students can also search through GoAbroad’s Scholarship Directory.

Accommodation & Visas

At most major universities, room and board will be included in tuition fees. Housing for students will likely be provided in university dorms or in shared apartments. Another great way to fully immerse yourself during a summer or semester study abroad program in Central America is to participate in a homestay with a local family. This is the best housing option for students looking to become fluent in Spanish during their time abroad.

Most students will need a visa prior to entering Central America, so be sure to check each embassy’s website (find the appropriate one through GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory) and get a head-start on paperwork early. Forms are different for each country, and some can be a bit confusing, so give yourself time to make some mistakes and submit everything on time.

Benefits & Challenges

Natural Beauty. Although it’s a cliche at this point, words cannot quite articulate the true power of the ecological beauty present in Central America. Even if you aren’t studying ecology or the environment, the pure, untouched, almost tranquil beauty of the region will absolutely blow you away. 

Resources At Your Fingertips. As mentioned before, studying specific academic areas hands-on is always beneficial, and this is especially true for study abroad in Central America. Having the opportunity to supplement classroom learning with experiences in the field will be an invaluable addition to your study abroad experience.

Witness History. Many Central American countries are going through, or have just finished, major changes in the political and social landscape. While this may present its own challenges, the chance to experience social change firsthand from within the region and country will be fascinating for international students.

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