John Carroll University in Costa Rica is a uniquely developed program that is divided into two parts. The first portion of the program will take place in Alajuela, located within the San Jose metropolitan area. The second part will take place in the cloud rain forest in Monteverde. The division of the semester will allow the student to witness and experience first hand the richness and diversity of Costa Rica, while allowing them to satisfy John Carroll University core courses.

The first part of the semester will be spent at the Instituto de Cultura y Lengua Costarricense (ICLC). ICLC is located in the city of Alajuela. It is at ICLC where the students will take part in six hours of language instruction. Students can choose from all levels of Spanish. In addition to the Spanish course students will take an interdisciplinary study course focusing on various topics of Costa Rican society, such as, history, art, politics, gender roles, social structure, and economics. Students will also visit museums in San Jose to supplement their course work.

The second part of the semester will take place at San Luis Ecolodge in the cloud rain forest in Monteverde. It is here that students will participate in the science portion of the program. Students will have access to the spacious laboratory, where the students will be able to conduct their experiments. In addition to the Biology course, the interdisciplinary course will continue in Monteverde focusing on peasant culture, visiting coffee plantations and discussing sustainable farming with local coffee growers.

Living in Costa Rica

During their time in Alajuela, students will live with pre-selected host families. Because students will live with Spanish-speaking host families, students will be challenged to step out of their comfort zone and experience in a very different way life in a different culture. The second part of the semester students will live in dormitories in the cloud rain forest. These dormitories are within close walking distance to the classroom and laboratory facilities. During both parts of the semester meals are included.

Faculty Director

Christopher Sheil, Ph.D., will direct the second part of the semester in Monteverde. Dr. Sheil’s research interests are in systematic herpetology, skeletal morphology, and evolutionary development. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas.


Students will take 14 hours for the fall semester. Classes will be:

  • 6 hours Spanish Language (SP 101-102, 201-202, 301-302)
  • 4 hours ML 2XX (Latin American Studies Course) [Modern Languages Elective]
  • 4 hours BL 206 and 206L (Biology with lab component)

Financial Aid

Students are able to apply all their financial aid, including scholarships and federal and state aid, to the Costa Rica semester. Students on employee benefits packages are not eligible for these benefits on this program. Please consult the Office of Financial Aid for further information.

Program Costs (2015-2016)



Room & Board


Program Fee


Administrative Fee


Total Billed


Estimated Costs (not billed by JCU)

Books & Supplies


Personal Expenses




Total Indirect Costs


TOTAL BUDGET:  $27,585

How to Apply

Admission to this program is based on academic standing, student maturity, and order of deposit. The Costa Rica Program is highly competitive and may fill up early. It is in the student’s interest to apply as early as possible. The deadline for applications to study abroad for Fall Semester is March 1, and for Spring Semester is October 1.

For further information please contact the Center for Global Education or Dr. Shiel.

For further information about Costa Rica, please visit the following links: