4 weeks of service learning and leadership development in the world's eco-tourism capital
Though small in size and population, this Central American nation holds great significance on the global stage. About 5% of the world’s biodiversity resides in Costa Rica, making it a critical site for conservation efforts. Its ecological richness and natural beauty draw adventurers and nature-lovers from around the world, who flock to its mist-enshrouded volcanoes, abundant waterfalls, and lush cloud forests containing flora and fauna found nowhere else on the planet.
A central tenet of Costa Rican culture is the idea of pura vida (“pure life”). It’s a phrase that encapsulates the wholesome, easygoing way of life embraced by so many locals, and helps to explain why Costa Rica is often cited as one of the happiest countries in the world. Yet, Costa Rica is not without its problems, facing rising poverty levels and the compounding effects of environmental degradation. Collaborate with local organizations as they tackle these issues on the ground, and learn how you can apply these lessons to your own life as a leader in your community.
Costa Rica Immersion Itinerary 4 Weeks
Your program kicks off with a brief orientation, where you'll meet your fellow travelers and get to know San José.
Head north on winding, mountainous roads to the Arenal Region. The journey offers many scenic vistas with stunning volcanic backdrops. Visit stunning waterfalls and hot springs, and zip-line through rainforest canopies.
Collaborate with a non-profit that seeks to lift up local youth through education. Activities could include playing with children, helping with homework, teaching English, and facilitating project work.
Get to understand this region better and embark on a coffee tour. You'll also have the option to join an optional whitewater rafting excursion.
Partner with a local foundation to assist sea turtle conservation efforts and learn about why these endangered animals are so important. Contribute to their conservation by supporting the marine biologists in their research and assisting with mangrove restoration efforts.
Work with a community-based project that leverages sustainable tourism for ecological restoration and community outreach efforts.
Head to one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful and celebrated national parks. Enjoy the pristine white-sand beaches and take a guided hike through the adjacent rainforest, where you'll find breathtaking biodiversity. See if you can spot (or hear) the scarlet macaws, howler monkeys, and capuchins in their natural habitat.
Reflect on your experiences and how you can apply what you’ve learned to your future. Hone your global leadership skills through speaker-led workshops. Sessions will focus on self- and global-awareness, influencing others, and executing on your personal goals.
You could earn three semester hours of credit through our educational partnership with Southern New Hampshire University. Enroll in the corresponding course at SNHU to receive credit for your participation in our program:
Civil Service in Modern Society
Tuition for this 4-week program is $6,900, and scholarships are available. Tuition includes:
Have questions about our program? Explore our FAQs, or get in touch with an EF Gap Year Consultant.
Our Sustainable Development in Costa Rica program is for anyone between the ages of 18 and 22 with an interest in sustainability, service, and cultural exchange. Students who are curious, open-minded, and collaborative will be best suited to this program.
Both current college students as well as rising college freshman are welcome. You also do not need to be currently enrolled in school in order to participate.
To apply for this program, submit an application here. You’ll be asked to provide some basic information, as well as a few questions about your goals for this program. After you submit your application, an EF Gap Year Consultant will get in touch with you shortly regarding next steps.
The application deadline for this program is May 1st, 2021. However, we accept students on a rolling basis, and recommend that you apply as soon as possible to secure your spot on the program!
No, you do not need to know Spanish in order to participate in this program! While having a familiarity with the language will certainly help, all of our programming will be conducted in English.
Thinking about traveling in the coming year? Our flexible booking policies and risk-free cancellation options mean that you can book your gap experience with confidence. For more details, speak to one of our EF Gap Year Advisors, or see our full booking conditions here.
Get an inside look into what you'll be doing and learning on the program in this webinar led by Will Alexander, Director of Program Design at EF Gap Year. This session was recorded on January 28, 2021.
Note: We are now accepting applications until May 1, 2021. However, admissions is rolling and there are limited spaces, so apply now to secure your spot!
Our Gap Year Consultants are ready to answer any questions you have and to help find the perfect program for your family.