Costa Rica Program

Costa Rica Program

The Costa Rica Center is the gateway to the Global Studies degree program, providing students with the academic tools and field experiences necessary to grasp the relationship between Central America and the larger world. In this yearlong program, students engage with contemporary Costa Rica and travel throughout Central America, studying the local effects of globalization and making sense of its impact on the region’s people, politics, economies, and ecosystems. Students experience the ways in which the conquest of Indigenous America by Europeans 500 years ago and the forced migration of Africans continue to define the region. They also experience the ways in which governments, international organizations, entrepreneurs, and local communities are responding to the region’s ongoing engagement with global economic, cultural, and political forces. The program includes the intensive study of Spanish (offered at all levels), homestays with Costa Rican families, fieldwork at sites around the country, and extended study travel experiences to Nicaragua and Panama.  

Costa Rica has a vibrant and diverse culture that offers exciting learning opportunities. Although the country is about the size of West Virginia, it contains about 4% of the Earth’s biodiversity, with lush rainforest, high mountains, volcanoes, coastal plains, and beautiful beaches. The Costa Rica Center is in the university town of Heredia, which is located in the high central plateau on the outskirts of San José, Costa Rica’s capital city. The Center is near the city’s Central Park and about a mile from the National University.

Academic Overview

The Costa Rica Center hosts all of LIU Global’s first-year students as well as visiting study abroad students. The yearlong program introduces students to the region’s place in the world through the Seminar on Central and Latin American Studies and the two foundational global studies courses. Students are also equipped with writing and research skills, as well as an increased capacity to communicate effectively in Spanish. Electives allow students to explore contemporary world literature and social entrepreneurship.     


Students develop cross-cultural communication skills through reflective engagement with local families in homestays and during service learning projects, excursions, and field research. By engaging directly with communities in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama, students explore the interrelations among environmental, cultural, economic, and political issues, and understand how individuals and local communities are affected by and respond to global forces.

Fall Curriculum
Central American and Caribbean Studies Seminar
Foundations of Global Studies: The Environment and Human Culture
Foundation Year Orientation Seminar
The Argumentative Essay

Beginning, Intermediate, or Advanced Spanish

Spring Curriculum

Foundations of Global Studies: The World Economy and Global Governance

Engaging the Field: Introduction to Research Methods

Exploring Questions: Writing the Research Paper

Globalization in Contemporary World Fiction

Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship

Beginning, Intermediate, or Advanced Spanish