Duke in Costa Rica



This one-course program is based in Heredia, Costa Rica, a scenic town located just 12 km northwest of the capital city, San José. Heredia provides an ideal setting for gaining an understanding of key community health issues in Costa Rica while developing advanced Spanish language skills. On this program you’ll earn one Duke credit through an immersive signature course built around classroom and community interactions.

Location: Heredia, Costa Rica

Term: Summer

Dates: May 18 to June 18, 2017

Application Deadline: February 1, 2017

Academic Theme(s): Spanish Language, Global Health

Credit Type: Duke Credit 

Eligibility: Open to all majors. Must have completed Spanish 204 or the equivalent (4 semesters of college-level Spanish). Non-Duke students are welcome to apply.

Duke Affiliation: Co-sponsored by Duke’s Department of Romance Studies

Housing: Homestay Families

GEO Advisor: Abigail Hall Grubbs



You’ll enroll in one Duke faculty-led course offering one credit (equivalent to four semester credits at most other U.S. institutions). The course is cross-listed as Spanish and Global Health.

SPANISH 306A/GLHLTH 326A: Language, Culture, and Health in Costa Rica 

(CCI, FL) 1.0 Credit
This course will develop advanced Spanish language skills and introduce you to key issues surrounding community health in Costa Rica. This immersion experience is built around classroom and community interactions. You will participate in class discussions, presentations, community interactions, and visits to local sites related to health, as well as talks by guest speakers. Additional cultural activities and field trips will deepen your knowledge of the community and cultural understanding. Assessment is based on language and content of written and oral projects.

Prerequisite: Spanish 204 or equivalent (4th semester Spanish/Advanced Intermediate)


In addition to visits to local clinics and hospitals, you will have an opportunity to explore the surrounding area and learn about local culture through excursions to sites such as Poás Volcano, La Paz waterfalls, Cabecar indigenous community, Cartago province, and Tortuga Island.


You will stay with carefully selected local homestay families, which will help enrich your linguistic and cultural experience. Families will provide two meals per day (breakfast and dinner) and laundry options. The program site visits will include lunch on most occasions. Students should budget for 11 lunches and 2 dinners on their own.


The Duke in Costa Rica program director can assist with questions related to program academics, admissions, on-site needs, etc. For all other inquiries, please contact the Global Education Office.

Bethzaida Fernandez

Senior Lecturer in the Department of Romance Studies

Abigail Hall Grubbs

GEO Program Coordinator / Advisor


Costs below are estimates based on previous years’ programs and the current exchange rate. All costs are subject to change. 

Summer 2017

  Duke Students Non-Duke Students
Tuition $3,291.00 $3,291.00
Program Fee $2,700.00 $2,700.00
Transcript Fee N/A $40.00
Other Costs Other Costs Other Costs
TOTAL (Estimated) $7,366.00 $7,406.00


FAQ Costs

What does the program fee cover?

The program fee for this program includes: 

  • Accommodations
  • Meals (breakfast and dinner with host family, most lunches included in site visits)
  • International SOS Coverage
  • Program-sponsored activities and excursions
  • Orientation program
  • Internet usage
  • Mobile phone
  • Laundry
  • Some local transportation

What is not included?

Use the following list to assist with budgeting for expenses outside the program fee. This list contains common examples but should not be considered exhaustive.

  • Airfare
  • Airport transportation to/from host site
  • For 11 lunches and 2 dinners, you will be on your own
  • On-site accident and health insurance policy
  • Out-of-pocket medical expenses
  • Access to activities such as sports, lectures, social gatherings, etc. at host university
  • Visa and/or residency permit (if needed)
  • Passport
  • Textbooks and class materials
  • Independent travel and entertainment
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Incidentals

Personal Spending

Personal expenses can fluctuate greatly depending upon habits and preferences of the individual. It’s also wise to budget for unexpected expenses such as medical emergencies. You can use a cost-of-living comparison tool to get an idea of what daily life costs in the program host location.

When will payments be due?

Step 1: Within 2 weeks of acceptance to the program, submit the Summer Participation Agreement found in your MyGlobalEd application to confirm your enrollment. A parent/guardian’s co-signature is required. This form takes the place of a deposit.

NOTE: If you withdraw after March 31, you will be charged a cancellation fee of $1500 for this 1 credit program.  

Step 2: Summer invoices will be sent via email to your Duke email address and home email address. Remit payment to the Bursar per due date and address indicated on your online statement. All financial arrangements involving Duke University must be completed prior to departure for the program.

Duke Bursar’s Office

Can I use financial aid to pay for this program?

Duke students receiving financial aid are eligible for aid for this program (work-study funds must be converted to loans). Students are individually responsible for making the necessary arrangements with the Karsh Office of Undergraduate Financial Support and the Duke Bursar’s Office.

Non-Duke students are not eligible to receive financial aid at Duke and should contact their home institutions for financial aid information.

Are there scholarships available for this program?

This program offers the following scholarship opportunities:



Attendance is required at all classes, excursions, and group events. Given the intense nature of this program, late arrival and/or early departure is not permitted.

  • Arrival: May 18, 2017
  • Departure: June 18, 2017

Flights: You must make your own travel arrangements to and from San José (specifically to Juan Santamaría International Airport – SJO). 

Schedule: Classes will be held in the mornings five days a week (M-F). Field trips and cultural events will take place during the afternoons and/or the weekends.

  • May 18 (Thurs): Arrival in San José; Hotel lodging & Group dinner
  • May 19 (Fri): Orientation at school; Overview of program & syllabus; Host family introductions
  • May 20 (Sat): Heredia city & coffee tour
  • May 21 (Sun): Free day with host families
  • May 22 – June 16: Classes in Session
  • June 17: Final group and family activity
  • June 18 (Sun): Return to the USA 



No visa is required of U.S. citizens to participate in this program. Non U.S. citizens should check visa requirements for their specific citizenship by contacting their country’s embassy to find out if any visa requirements or restrictions are in effect.


All participants must have a valid passport. Make sure your passport has at least six months of validity beyond the program end date to avoid unintended disruptions. For instructions on obtaining or renewing your U.S. passport, visit passports.state.gov.


  • Deadline: February 1, 2017. This program has rolling admission. Applications must be received by the deadline to be considered.
  • Physical Demands: The program includes several field trips and activities that will involve walking and hiking. None are exceptionally strenuous, but if you have concerns or questions about such activities, feel free to contact the program director.
  • Priority: Priority is given to applicants who submit all materials by the deadline and meet the language prerequisite.
  • Minimum GPA: 2.7 on a scale of 4.0. If your GPA is lower than 2.7, you must obtain permission from your academic dean to study away. See: GPA Waiver Form.
  • Non-Duke students: This program is open to all majors and applicants from accredited colleges and universities. You must be a degree-seeking student in good standing at an accredited college or university. Consult your university’s registrar and/or study away advisor for assistance with transfer credit. Students who are not matriculated at a college or university are not eligible to participate in Duke’s study away programs.
  • Late applicants: After the published deadline, qualified applicants will be considered on a space-available basis.


Apply Now

Please start your application early to ensure that it is complete by the deadline! Incomplete applications will not be forwarded to the program directors for consideration.

To apply to this program, please submit the following items using MyGlobalEd

  1. Online application
  2. Official transcript(s) from all colleges and universities attended. First-year students should wait for fall semester grades to be posted.
  3. Personal statement, no longer than one page, explaining why you would like to participate
  4. Academic letter of recommendation from a Spanish language instructor (one)