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Education in Costa Rica: Literacy and Curriculum in a Global Community


Orotina, Costa Rica

Program Description

Students will complete a required education course as well as an elective to strengthen student skill sets in working with English Language Learners. Students will experience teaching and learning with local Costa Rican students. Host families will provide a rich cultural experience as students live and share meals with local families. 

Location Description

The primary location for this trip is Orotina, Costa Rica. 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 and working at the Primo Vargas Valverde elementary school, students will come to love the diverse fruits, delicious ice cream, and ever-present casados in Orotina. Orotina is a small Spanish-speaking community where students will have abundant opportunities to engage with the local family traditions and celebrations. We will also take in the Pacific beach, a white water rafting trip in the jungle, and San Jose.


Douglas Loveless | | COE, Elementary Education and Reading Education
Jen Newton | | COE, Exceptional Education


Students will live with local host families. Two students will be placed in each house with the exception of those who can/will accommodate three as needed. Some of the houses have wifi and all will provide laundry. Homes are all located within Orotina and walking distance to each other, to the school, and to program directors.

Students will eat breakfast and dinner with host families. Lunch is provided at the school. All other meals (weekends/trips) will be purchased by students with money allowances administered by program directors.

Additional Items to Consider

Passports are required. Costa Rica requires a $29 departure tax to leave the country. Wifi is available at some locations but cellular service is cost prohibitive in Costa Rica. Work with your provider.

Some Spanish is recommended

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 3.0

Admission to teacher education

Seniors, Graduate Students

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 
  • 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 435: Literacy Development and Instruction for ELLs (3 credits)

READ 501: Workshop in Reading: Literacy Development and Instruction for ELLs (3 credits)

READ 590: Literacy Across the Curriculum (3 credits)

READ 635: Literacy Development and Instruction for ELLs (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.