Costa Rica

Summer Study Abroad & Community Service opportunity for high school students

In Numbers


In Detail

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June 24 – July 11


$3895 + airfare (please contact us for details about the chaperoned group flight)

Am I eligible?

You must be between the ages of 14 and 18. No language prerequisite – all levels of classes available Call us Toll Free: 1-844-467-4697 [/expand] [expand title=”Program Structure & Community service project”]

Program Structure

  • Study at a prestigious language school for a two-week Spanish language course
  • Stay with local host families
  • Take part in a variety of excursions: waterfall visits, zip-lining, cultural events & a local school visit
  • Help hands-on in a community service project
  • Interact with local students during Language Partner sessions
  • Immerse yourself in the language, culture, and daily life of Costa Rica
  • Enjoy free time to explore Costa Rican wonders

Community Service Project

A key feature of our program is the Community Service component. This allows you to see for yourself some of the challenges faced by the local population, and to also, even if only in a small way, make a difference.

Our humanitarian Community Service project is usually carried out in one of the San José squatter communities with The Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation.  .  Your first day begins with a short presentation, usually given by the director of the foundation, Gail Nystrom.  The specific activities you will help with will depend on the foundation’s needs at the time of your visit.  In the past our students have assisted in day camps with the children in the community, painted murals, helped in the daycare, organized soccer games, and have performed puppet shows.

At some point during the project you will also tour the community.  Our Program Coordinator, Amy Paschal, commented,

“Many of the houses and living conditions are very basic – some of the houses have just tin roofing, so the experience  tends to be a real eye-opener for the kids.”

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Academia Centroamericana de Español

(ACCE) shares ECI’s vision of providing students with much more than a textbook-only Spanish course. ECI works closely with ACCE to ensure that students have many immersion experiences throughout the program, providing unique opportunities to develop language skills through daily practical application.

ECI selected ACCE for its dedication to quality language instruction. All of ACCE’s teachers are native Spanish speakers who have been carefully selected to teach at the school.  ACCE Features:

  • Three different levels of Spanish classes, further divided into three levels, ensuring that every student receives instruction tailored to their individual language ability.
  • Class size restricted to three students.
  • Each class starts with a discussion of the previous and present day’s activities. Following introductory conversation, a daily topic is introduced and developed through practice and conversation.
  • Classes are held in the afternoons Monday – Friday from 1:30 – 5:00 with breaks in between.
  • Students receive a short homework assignment daily to reinforce learning.

Language Partners

To complement classes we have our unique Language Partner program – structured conversational sessions with Spanish speaking teens and university students.

Cultural Activities

Arenal Volcano and La Fortuna

La Fortuna lies at the base of the active Arenal Volcano. After lunch, hike through the rainforest to a fantastic view from across the base of the volcano, gaining an amazingly up-close look at the natural environment surrounding Arenal.

Baldi Hot Springs

With Arenal Volcano looming above you, relax at Baldi Hot Springs. Enjoy a luxurious dip in naturally heated waters while being awed by Arenal’s glowing pyroclastic show.

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

While hiking through Monteverde, you just might think you’ve walked into Jurassic Park… Surrounded by lush forest with giant ferns and enormous trees, you will have the opportunity to see some of the 100 species of mammals, including jaguar, puma, and howler monkeys, thousands of species of flowers and vegetation, and 400 types of birds, including hummingbirds and toucans.

Canopy Tour

Zip through the canopy suspended from a series of secured cables as the sights and sounds of the rainforest enliven your spirit. Approximately two-thirds of the rainforest’s population makes its home in the canopy; prepare to come face to face with animals, vegetation, and exotic flowers.

Manuel Antonio National Park & Beach

Located on the Central Pacific coast, Manuel Antonio is a lush beachside community with breathtaking ocean views. One of the few places in the world where the rainforest comes right up to the beach. A morning hike to the protected beaches might turn up sloths, monkeys and iguanas.

Sarchí – Taller Eloy Alfaro

Oxcarts, formerly a means of transportation, have become a colorful tradition in Costa Rica. Visit an oxcart factory more than 80 years old, where oxcarts still operate the same way they did when the factory was founded – almost entirely powered by water! Behind the factory is a painting area where the wagons are turned into radiant works of art. You´ll also get to paint your own mini-oxcart wheel as a souvenir!

Some of our student’s favorite activities include:

  • Ziplining through the forest canopy
  • Arenal Volcano
  • Conversations with Language Partners
  • Waterfall visits
  • Hiking with dynamic views
  • Dinner and theater highlighting Costa Rican culture
  • Indoor soccer
  • Beach Activities
  • Community service project & local school visit
  • Excursions to nearby towns & villages


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The market town of Grecia is an ideal place for studying Spanish in Costa Rica. One of many communities nestled around the fertile slopes of the Poás volcano, Grecia principally produces coffee and sugarcane, and its markets make for a fabulous immersion experience. At almost 4000 feet above sea level, Grecia enjoys a year-round temperate climate. [/expand]

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Your spoken Spanish will improve enormously. You will live with a Costa Rican family and enjoy the culture, family life and the Spanish language. [/expand]

[expand title=”In their own words”]

Student Testimonials

“This was a great trip with great guides & chaperones. The zipline and hot springs were amazing.” Andrew Olson, student 

“The activities were very cool and I got to do things that I’ve never done before. Going to school, the hot springs and soccer games were some of my favorites. I had a very fun time and was happy that I went.” Griffin Stein, student

“The local leaders and chaperones were so nice and friendly. My trip to Costa Rica was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done. I loved feeding the monkeys and the beaches were like paradise.” Miranda Arnett, student

“Griffin’s enthusiasm was evident every time he called home.  He loved Costa Rica, the activities, the people he met, and he gained confidence with his Spanish speaking.  This wasn’t like a summer camp, it was vacation!  He’s ready to move to Costa Rica.” Brett Aronow, parent


[expand title=”Need more information?”]

  • Many common questions, from travel and accommodation to host families and cultural differences are answered in our FAQs section.
  • You can learn about traveling with ECI, plus travel tips and advice on adjusting to new cultures on our blog.

Want to to talk to someone at ECI?

  • Too Free: 1-844-467-4697 
  • Send us an email

Ready to sign up?



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