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Literacy and Curriculum in a Global Community


Orotina, Costa Rica

Program Description

Students will further develop understandings of language learning and cross-cultural interactions at the community, school, and family levels. Learning experiences on this trip include engaging with teachers in a public school, living with host families, and participating in various excursions. Students will experience teaching and learning with Costa Rican children. Host families will provide a rich cultural experience as students live and share meals. This work will strengthen students’ skill-sets in engaging with families from other cultures and working with English Language Learners.

Location Description

The primary location for this trip is the small town of Orotina, Costa Rica. Orotina is a Spanish-speaking community where students will have abundant opportunities to engage with the local family traditions and celebrations. It is located 16 miles northeast of the Pacific Ocean and 41 miles from the capital city of San Jose. While living with local host families, students will work at the Primo Vargas Valverde elementary school and support existing service projects in Oritina. While not teaching or providing other services, student will have opportunities to raft through the jungle, converse with Costa Rican teacher educators and preservice teachers, and explore San Jose.


Aaron Bodle | | Early, Elementary, and Reading Education


In Orotina, Costa Rican host families will provide accommodations. Two or three students will live with each host family. The families’ homes are centrally located and within walking distance of each other. In Santa Teresa, we will live in bungalows. During the rafting trip, we will stay in a lodge in the jungle along the Pacuare river.

All meals will be provided as a part of the program.
Students will have breakfast and dinner with their host families.
The public school will provide lunch.
Students will also be allocated a weekly meal stipend that will cover approximately 14 additional meals.

Additional Items to Consider

You will receive a 90 day visa upon entry to Costa Rica.
Contact your cell phone provider about international programs.
Most host families have internet access.

This program is designed particularly for students interested in Education and IDLS majors, such as students studying Elementary Education, Teaching English as a Second Language, etc. Other majors will be considered.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0

Students must be accepted College of Education graduate students to participate. Application materials can be submitted prior to acceptance, however.

Some Spanish is helpful, but not required.

Application Process

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($25 fee)
  • Short essay
  • Resume 
  • Interview with Program Director may be required
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU and first semester transfer students.

Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in. 

apply now

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


READ 501: Literacy for English Language Learners (3 credits)

READ 590: Literacy Across the Curriculum (3 credits)

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.


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