Costa Rica - Spanish Immersion Program

LOCATION: Alajuela, Costa Rica


Costa Rica, land of many natural wonders: Caribbean and Pacific coastlines, luscious rainforests, abundant animal and plant life, and volcanoes. Students immerse themselves in language and culture while surrounded by unparalleled natural beauty and the warm, welcoming people of Costa Rica. The Costa Ricans (Ticos) are dedicated to promoting harmony between nature, community development, and economic growth. They have made a major commitment to protecting the nation’s natural resources and beauty while preserving its long tradition of political democracy and stability.

Costa Rica offers students a safe and accessible place to study and to explore the peaceful beauty of her natural treasures. It offers reliable public transportation, the highest literacy rate in Central America and an excellent health care system. Whether studying Spanish or researching rainforest ecosystems, the congeniality of the people, the steaming volcanoes, pristine beaches, virgin forests, and the unique birds, mammals and ocean life all combine to make Costa Rica an idyllic place to live and study.

Site: Students live and study in beautiful Alajuela, located just 30 minutes from Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose. Alajuela is a small town surrounded by coffee and sugar plantations. Courses are held at the Instituto de Cultura y Lengua Costarricense (ICLC), Costa Rica’s premier language institute. ICLC language school is set on a hillside surrounded with tropical flowers and fruits in the outskirts of Alajuela. For more information on ICLC:

Courses: Students will take 5 credits of Spanish Immersion at ICLC. Classes are taught by qualified ICLC instructors. Spanish classes meet for 4 hours per day, five days a week and have generally no more than five students per class, allowing plenty of time to improve speaking and listening skills. South Seattle College credits will be awarded on return to Seattle and will show up on the Fall quarter transcript.

Program Cost: Based on an enrollment of up to 14 participants, the fee per person is $2,949, not including airfare or South Seattle tuition for 5 credits.


  • 4 weeks of accommodations with a local host family, including breakfast and dinner 7 days/week.
  • Intensive Spanish language courses at the Instituto de Cultura y Lengua Costarricense (ICLC).  (20 hours of instruction per week)  No prior
  • Spanish language proficiency required.
  • Pre-departure and on-site orientation program.
  • Alajuela city tour and welcome lunch.
  • Doka coffee plantation tour.
  • Visit to  Poás Volcano and La Paz.  Transportation, entrance fees, and lunch included.
  • 3 day, 2 night excursion to Manuel Antonio National Park.  Breakfast, lodging, and transportation included.
  • Farewell lunch

Not included:

  • Airfare;
  • Tuition at home institution;
  • Passport or visa fees, as applicable;
  • Lunch;
  • Transportation from homestay to school;
  • Personal expenses; 
  • Additional field trips or excursions offered by ICLC;
  • Anything else not specified.


Cultural Activities: There will be special cultural activities offered by ICLC and WCCCSA, in addition to activities and mini-courses that will take place during the afternoon from Monday through Friday. Activities vary (*entrance and transportation, usually a small bus fee, are not included in program fee to allow for program flexibility) and may include the following: a Costa Rican Art Museum, the National Museum, the La Salle Museum of Natural Sciences, the Juan Santamaria Historical Museum, the Tropical Bird Zoo, San Juan de Poas, and the train to Puntarenas, among other destinations.

Mini-courses include: Costa Rican Art, Topics in Spanish Grammar, Central American Issues, the Diversity of Costa Rica’s Forests and Costa Rican Folk Music (these are included in the program fee).

Independent Travel: Use your free weekends to explore Costa Rica’s many attractions. Student favorites include rainforests, Jaco Beach and the Caribbean Coast. There will be a travel coordinator at ICLC to assist you with travel plans. Some ICLC run trips include: Arenal Volcano and Baldí Hot Springs, Tortuga Island Pacific Cruise, Rafting Pacuare, Coffee tours, Butterfly farms, and the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve among other locations.

Housing: Homestays: Students live in homestays with local Costa Rican families. Each student will have a private, furnished room and two meals per day, breakfast and dinner. Homestays are located within a 30 minute bus ride from ICLC. Students are encouraged to interact with homestay families as much as possible to facilitate learning the Spanish language and culture, and to get to know the host family. Students are expected to respect the norms and customs of their host family.