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USAC Heredia Program

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:

Fall, Spring, Summer, Academic Year


Heredia, Costa Rica




2.5 g.p.a. or endorsement of academic advisors

Application Due:

9/24 for spring
2/24 for fall
3/4 for summer
late applicants are accepted on a space-available basis

Program Cost:

Click Application tab

This program is not available for Summer 2021 Session

The Spanish Language, Ecological and Latin American Studies Program is offered at two possible locations, Heredia or Puntarenas, in affiliation with the Universidad Nacional de Heredia. The programs are administered by the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC) of which the University of Iowa is a member, and enroll approximately 60 students from various U.S. colleges and universities at each location. The program allows students to experience the culture and physical beauty of Costa Rica through study in specially designed courses combined with family home stay and some program travel. Students will expand their Spanish language skills through personal interaction with the host culture in the homestay setting, through field trips and optional tours, and in the classroom via accelerated study according to Tracks. The program offers a one week optional tour to northern Costa Rica and Nicaragua, or to Bocas del Toro in Panama, depending on the session. UI students earn resident credit on this program.

Academic Program

Semester: Students with little or no language study enroll in an accelerated language track that enables them to fulfill two years of college foreign language in one semester. Students in the advanced Spanish level can supplement language and literature with a selection of classes, taught in Spanish or English, in culture, political institutions, tropical ecology and conservation. Field trips constitute an integral part of certain classes. All courses are taught exclusively for program participants by local faculty, with the exception of one or two courses offered each semester by a visiting U.S. faculty member from one of the USAC consortium institutions. UI students earn resident credit on this program, and typically earn between 12 sh – 18 sh depending on the classes selected.

Program Dates

For More Information

Steps to Studying Abroad

  1. Before initiating an application with USAC, students must complete a Discover Study Abroad session at the University of Iowa.
  2. After completing the Discover Abroad session, students must call the Study Abroad office at 319-335-0353 to be assigned to the appropriate study abroad advisor.
  3. Once assigned, students must meet with their study abroad advisor to receive program application instructions.

Study Abroad
1111 University Capitol Centre
Iowa City, IA 52242

Phone: 319-335-0353

Universidad Nacional de Heredia

Classes take place on the campus of the Universidad Nacional de Heredia. Affiliation with the university affords student privileges such as use of the fitness center and access to a small gym for playing volleyball or indoor soccer. There are other recreation centers within walking distance of the university as well.


Heredia is a colonial city of 80,000 nestled in the foothills above San José, the capital of Costa Rica. The National University, where USAC courses take place, is situated only a few blocks from downtown Heredia. The city is surrounded by coffee plantations and ranches and is on route to the majestic Poas Volcano. The climate is temperate, with average temperatures of 70-80 degrees F year-round. Only 25 minutes by bus from San José, the capital with a population of one million, Heredia offers the peace and rural beauty of a smaller place at the same time that it affords easy access to the activities of the bigger city.

Costa Rica

The geography of Costa Rica displays a stunning panorama of nature, which includes the Caribbean and Pacific Ocean coasts, mountains that soar to 12,000 feet, lush rain forests and active volcanoes. Enlightened Costa Rica has been a forerunner in the development of national parks and in the preservation of wildlife.

US Department of State Country Information

The US Department of State provides safety and security information for every country of the world to help you assess for yourself the risks of travel. Each country information page contains a Travel Advisory, Alerts, and other important details specific to that country that could affect you.

Pay close attention to the entry and exit requirements, local laws and customs, health conditions, and other details to help decide whether traveling to any given country is right for you. Non-US citizen travelers may also wish to seek guidance from the embassy of their country of citizenship. The UI International Travel Policy for Students addresses restrictions on student travel to high-risk locations and engagement in high-risk activities abroad.

Living Arrangements

Semester: USAC arranges home stay lodging. The families are located within easy commuting distance to the university. The semester program fee includes room and three meals daily, breakfast, lunch and dinner.

If students wish to live in an apartment, the Resident Director will provide information. However, it is the student's responsibility to locate the apartment and to make all rental agreements.

Summer: USAC arranges home stay lodging. The families are located within easy commuting distance to the university. Room is included in the program fee. For an additional cost, students can also choose to be provided with breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.

Travel Arrangements

Once accepted to the program, the USAC central office will provide information about travel to Costa Rica.


Minimum eligibility requirements include good academic standing and a GPA of 2.5 or the endorsement of academic advisors.




How to Apply

Before starting an online application for this program, students should meet with their study abroad advisor to discuss their program selection and receive information about supplemental materials that are required for an application. Appointments can be set up in person at 1111 UCC or over the phone at 319-335-0353.

After meeting with your advisor, click here to apply.

Application Deadline

Application deadlines are September 20 for spring, February 20 for fall or academic year, and March 4 for summer. Late applications may be accepted on a space available basis.

Upon acceptance, students will receive Pre-departure information directly from the program’s central office.

All students attend a general TIPS orientation for UI Students Studying Abroad. Additional small group meetings address specific topics, as well as billing and credit procedures at Iowa.

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1111 University Capitol Centre
The University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1802

Phone: (319) 335-0353
Fax: (319) 335-0343