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Academics & Courses

On the ACM Costa Rica program, what you study in the classroom always connects with your experiences outside of class. Through your courses and related site visits, excursions, and field experiences, you’ll explore Costa Rican society within the broader context of Latin America.

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With a focus on cultural immersion, every aspect of the program is designed to take your Spanish language skills to an advanced level. Every course you take will be conducted in Spanish and the ACM center in San José provides a Spanish-only learning environment.

Spanish instruction, tailored to each student’s level, includes small group sessions with a variety of native speakers to build your proficiency in speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

Assignments in language courses draw on your experiences outside of class—your homestay, program excursions, and community engagement activities—so your language study is continually reinforced and supported.

“Going into the ACM Costa Rica program, I had extremely high expectations academically and the program not only exceeded them, but also offered so much more. Over the course of the semester I saw some of the most beautiful things and places I've ever witnessed, and learned to truly appreciate natural beauty. In the classroom, I studied with wonderful professors and received the Spanish education I've always wanted, pushing my abilities further than I had even hoped.”

Amanda Scott, Colorado College, international political economy major

You’ll choose among three interdisciplinary elective courses in the areas of public health, education and social policy, and biodiversity and sustainability. Through discussion-based classes and site visits in and around San José, your instructors will bring these important topics to life within the current social, economic, and cultural environment of Costa Rica.

On the month-long community practicum, either in a rural community or in the city of San José, you’ll observe and participate in the work of a local organization engaged in an area related to your academic interests, such as education, the environment, public health, sustainable agriculture, or microbusiness.

Your firsthand experience in the practicum will continue your language immersion, give you an opportunity to build intercultural skills in a different type of setting, and bring new perspectives to social, political, and economic issues you study in your classes.