Language and Culture in Costa Rica - Coastal Carolina University
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Spanish Language and Culture in Costa Rica

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This faculty-led program is an excellent opportunity for students to improve their command of the Spanish language while learning about Costa Rican culture, geography, and history! Chants will live in the colorful capital of San José with carefully selected host families and earn academic credit for either SPAN 115 or SPAN 330. Travelers will also complete an intensive Spanish language course (SPAN 350) taught by local Costa Rican instructors. Every afternoon, the group will visit a different city venue such as the Jade Museum, the National Theater, Central Market, the University of Costa Rica, the Spirogyra Butterfly Garden, and more.

Weekend excursions will include discovering Costa Rican wildlife at Manuel Antonio National Park, enjoying the country’s clear water and beaches, visiting the active Arenal Volcano, relaxing in natural hot springs, hiking up to a waterfall, understanding the key role of coffee production in the local economy, and participating in a crocodile tour! Upon return to the U.S., students will notice significantly advanced Spanish speaking skills and a greater appreciation for the beauty and complex future of Central America’s most visited nation.

Physical Requirements: a variable amount of daily city walking is required on hard and uneven surfaces during the week. When possible, public transportation will be used. Hiking long distances in the rainforest will be required during the weekend excursions (including 500 steps going down a mountain and then back up again). Students must bring suitable footwear.

Course Information

Students will take either SPAN 115 or SPAN 330 with CCU faculty. All students will receive transfer credit for SPAN 350, taught by the Costa Rican Language Academy.

‌SPAN 115 Hispanic Studies I. (5 credits). (Prereq: none). This class introduces students to the Spanish language and the many facets of Hispanic cultures.  This course also helps students develop the basic skills of speaking, listening, and communicating in everyday situations in Hispanic cultures.  As a hybrid course, three credit hours is delivered face-to-face and two hours via a distance learning format.  Since this is a short study abroad course, the on-line part of the course will be completed upon return from the trip.  Also, this course requires daily visits to historical landmarks and geographical and cultural sites unique to the country of visit while there. Note: Students who enroll in SPAN 115 will be required to complete online work upon return to the United States during the Summer I term. Satisfies Core Goal 5A.
Instructor: Jose Luis Mireles and JoAnne Flanders

SPAN 330 Approaches to Hispanic Culture. (3 credits). (Prereq: SPAN 210). Introductory exploration of selected topics in language, literature and culture.  Topics are chosen for their significance and impact on Hispanic cultures. Course taught in Spanish. This course may be repeated once for credit under different topics.
Instructors: Jose Luis Mireles

SPAN 350. (3 credits). (Coreq: SPAN 115 or SPAN 330). Language study abroad with instruction by native speakers. This course provides transfer credits that are included in the program fee. CCU does not control the course content for the classes taught by the Costa Rican Language Academy. CCU requires that all students are enrolled in this course and complete 40 face-to-face hours of language practice. Students are placed with different instructors depending on their language level, and course content varies according to level and instructor. Satisfies Core Goal 5B.
Instructor: Instructor from the Costa Rican Language Academy

Program Leaders 

Jose Luis Mireles, Senior Instructor of Spanish, Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies, 843-349-2442
Jose Luis Mireles has taught at Coastal Carolina University since 1999, and has led 11 CCU Education Abroad programs to Costa Rica plus two to Spain. He is a native speaker of Spanish.  He earned a B.A. degree in Political Science and Spanish, as well as a M.A. degree in Spanish from the University of California, Davis. 

JoAnne Flanders, Senior Instructor of Spanish, 843-349-2928
JoAnne Flanders has been a faculty member at Coastal Carolina University since 1994. Prior to working at CCU, she served in the U.S. Army and completed the prestigious Defense Language Institute (DLI) for French and Spanish. She earned an undergraduate degree in Anthropology from SUNY, an undergraduate degree in Spanish and a teaching certificate from Randolph-Macon Women's College, and a master's degree in Spanish Literature from the University of Virginia.

Cost to Participate = Program Fee ($3719) + Tuition (Varies) + Technology Fee (Varies) + Out-of-pocket Expenses ($745)

The tuition for this course is for Maymester term. 

Included in Program Fee: Roundtrip airfare from U.S. to Costa Rica; accommodations while in country; 2 meals every day from host families; private transporation to excursions outside of the city; planned excursions; language and culture class at partner institution (SPAN 350); and emergency medical insurance.

Not Included in Program Fee:

  • Estimated out-of-pocket expenses: $305 for meals, $145 for passport cost, $70 for optional excursions, and $200 for COVID-19 testing (as required for entry/reentry).
  • Please note that this estimate will vary based on individual spending habits. Students should ask their program leaders for more details about estimated out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Pre-departure Housing: Students will be departing for the program from campus a few days after Spring semester. Students will need to make sure they have accommodations leading up to the program departure date.  Students should confirm with faculty leaders the date of departure before securing housing.
Discounted Tuition for Education Abroad Students: $416/credit
CCU credits  Program Fee Tuition  Technology Fee
Estimated Out-of-pocket
Cost to
3 credits (advanced) $3719 $1248 $15 $745 $5727
5 credits (beginners) $3719 $2080 $25 $745 $6569


Payment Schedule

Payment Due Date Amount Due
Deposit Oct. 27, 2021 $300 (refundable until commitment deadline Dec. 4)
Program Fee Payment Feb. 11, 2022 $3419
Tuition and Technology Fee Payment May 7, 2022 Varies (see above)

After acceptance to the program, the payment of the program fee as well as payment of tuition can be made online through WebAdvisor or in-person/by phone through Student Accounts. Tuition charges are distinct and different from program fee charges. Please note that payments made with a debit or credit card will be charged a non-refundable service fee of 2.7 percent. For more information about methods of payment, visit Student Accounts.

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