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Wheaton in Costa Rica

Program Overview

Wheaton in Costa Rica is an eight-week summer program that combines language study and practice, cultural immersion, academic coursework and excursions, and service learning. It provides students with a unique opportunity to live in and learn about the cultures, languages, and peoples of Costa Rica. Students travel to different regions of Costa Rica and spend one week in Nicaragua* to explore course themes and the region's diversity.

  • Sponsoring Department: Modern and Classical Languages
  • Program Leader: Dr. Timothy Klingler, Associate Lecturer of Spanish
  • Term: Summer 2019
  • Travel Dates: May 23 - July 18, 2019
  • Estimated Cost: $5,680.00 (airfare not included)
  • Prerequisites: SPAN 331: Spanish Conversation. Students must also complete the required B quad course (SPAN 352) in Spring 2019.
  • Eligibility: Participation will be limited to 12 students. Non-Wheaton students are eligible to participate if they have met the language requirement. 
  • Highlights: Live with a Costa Rican host family and actively participate in community life in Costa Rica as you learn about the social, cultural, economic, political, religious, and historical issues of this Central American country and its northern neighbor from a multi-disciplinary perspective.

Course Offerings

Required Spring 2019 B-quad course

SPAN 352: Orientation to Wheaton in Costa Rica (2 credits)
The course introduces students to basic categories of cultural difference, elements of intercultural competency, challenges common to cross-cultural sojourns, strategies for language learning, as well as the general contours of Costa Rican and Nicaraguan society - basic historical, cultural, political, economic and demographic elements.

Students earn 8 credit hours toward the Spanish major or minor during the program.

Required program courses

Spanish 338: Intensive Advanced Spanish (4 credit hours) 
Students develop their linguistic proficiency (speaking, writing, listening, reading) in Spanish as they are immersed in Costa Rican culture and explore culturally significant themes and authentic texts. The course is taught collaboratively with a local Spanish professor and will include daily assignments and intensive class discussions covering diverse contemporary topics. Students will acquire common Costa Rican phrases and vocabulary and will explore similarities and differences between Costa Rican and Nicaraguan Spanish. Course activities require students to engage with host families, guest speakers, local church members and others they encounter in the community.

Spanish 389: Costa Rican Culture and Society (4 credit hours) [GP] Global Perspectives
This course highlights cultural, social, religious, economic and political events that have shaped Costa Rica and explores salient contemporary topics including export-oriented agriculture, tourism, immigration and national identity, and the church’s role in society. Students explore similarities and differences between Costa Rica and other countries in Central America, particularly Nicaragua. The course also aims to develop students’ intercultural competence as they analyze cultural values and practices in Costa Rica and cultivate attitudes, knowledge, skills, and self-awareness to effectively and appropriately engage others from different cultural and linguistic contexts. Students will be required to interact with members of their host family, church and local community and numerous guest speakers in Heredia and during academic excursions to other regions of Costa Rica and Nicaragua. 

This program fulfills the study abroad requirement for the Spanish major at Wheaton College.

Program Fees

The estimated program fee covers tuition, fees, orientation materials, most texts, transportation to and from the airport in Costa Rica, group land travel in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, excursions, lodging, and all meals. Program fees do not cover the cost of airfare to/from Costa Rica, visa (if needed), airport exit fees, nor any other personal expenses. We recommend a minimum of $500 for personal expenses and souvenirs.

Estimated Additional Expenses: Students are responsible for the cost of airfare to/from Costa Rica, visa (if needed), airport exit fees, nor any other personal expenses. We recommend a minimum of $500 for personal expenses and souvenirs.

Expense       Estimate
International airfare              $600.00
Visa fees $29.00
Personal expenses $500.00

Learn More

If you have questions or would like to know more about the Wheaton in Costa Rica program, contact Dr. Timothy Klingler, Associate Lecturer of Spanish, for further information.

How to Apply

To apply, visit GoGlobal, Wheaton College's registration system for off-campus study and international travel, research, and internships.

* Travel to Nicaragua may be cancelled if current political conditions persist