Settled in the heart of Central America, Costa Rica’s capital of San Jose is one of the most influential and fastest growing cities in the subcontinent. With over 2 million people living in the metropolitan area (constituting nearly half of Costa Rica’s total population), it is the undisputed economic, educational, and cultural capital of this dynamic Latin American nation. Embarking on a high school program in San Jose is the opportunity to immerse yourself in a thriving city and country, make friends from around the world, and have exciting new experiences everyday.
High School Programs in San Jose
To begin, language immersion is one of the most popular types of high school program in San Jose that international students choose to enroll in. Spanish-learners can gain a huge boost in their comprehension by living in this vibrant Latin American city, taking classes in an authentic environment, and making the effort to speak the language as much as possible throughout the experience.
Beyond language immersion, traditional study abroad high school programs in San Jose can also give international students a unique opportunity to learn along their Costa Rican peers at a local high school. Study abroad programs in San Jose usually run during the summer for high school students, but there are also exchange programs which will enable you to enroll in school in the country for a full semester or even academic year.
Beyond academics, other popular types of high school programs in San Jose include community service & volunteering. San Jose may be one of the safest and most dynamic cities in Central America, but it still suffers from many social problems stemming from poverty and inequality. High school students who want to lend a helping hand to underserved locals while immersing themselves in an exciting, educational new environment should look into these programs.
Life in San Jose
While the city of San Jose itself is technically home to just over 300,000 people, the metropolitan area which surrounds it is home to nearly 2 million more, making it the third largest such city in Central America. Founded in the middle of the 18th century when a small chapel was built in the Aserri Valley, San Jose is also one of the youngest capital cities in all of Latin America, having developed steadily since then into a thriving metropolis.
San Jose is home to several each museums, theaters, public parks, and other such venues where you can spend your afternoons getting to know the city. The National Theater of Costa Rica and National Museum of Costa Rica, for example, are two of the city’s most popular attractions. There are also many marketplaces and plazas speckled around the city which beg to be explored while you are abroad.
Most high school programs in San Jose feature steady supervision and structured schedules, so it’s likely that you’ll also have many fun activities planned for your during your stay in the city. Colorful festivals, traditional meals, and other such opportunities for cultural immersion are all on the table during your high school program in San Jose!
Costs & Affordability
San Jose is an affordable destination for many international students travelling from the developed world, and as a high school student abroad it’s likely that the costs of most essentials such as housing, meals, tuition, and transportation will also be covered in the upfront program fees. While these fees range widely in their affordability, there are an equally wide range of scholarships available for high school programs in San Jose which can help make your dream trip come true. The local currency in San Jose is the Costa Rican colon, which exchanges at roughly 550 CRC to $1 USD.
Accommodation & Visas
Homestays and student dormitories are usually the most common forms of housing offered during high school programs in San Jose. Homestays can be a great way to immerse yourself more fully in local family life, while dormitories can be an equally fun opportunity to make friends with peers from around the world. Be sure to inquire with your program about what types of accommodation they will make available during your stay in San Jose.
Students from many countries will be permitted to enter the country for up to three months visa-free for their high school program in San Jose. If you are planning on staying longer than three months, or are travelling from a country which requires permission for entry, then you will have to obtain a visa for your trip. You can check out our Costa Rican Embassy Directory for more information regarding your individual circumstances.
Benefits & Challenges
Spanish Immersion. If you are learning the language, then immersing yourself in a Spanish-speaking environment by enrolling in a high school program to Costa Rica will put you on the accelerated path to fluency.
Sustainability. Costa Rica is widely regarded in the international community for its tremendous biodiversity and progressive environmental legislation. It is up to the future generations to together tackle environmental challenges!
Culture Shock. If you have never left your home country before, or never travelled to the developing word, then embarking on a high school program in San Jose will be an incredibly educational experience. Get ready to see the world in a whole new way!
A high school program in Costa Rica is your ticket to experiencing a thriving Latin American culture in one of the most dynamic cities in the region. Are you ready to have an adventure?