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


Orotina, Santa Teresa , 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. We will also take in the Pacific ocean at Playa Santa Teresa, swim under the Montezuma Waterfall, raft through the jungle, and explore San Jose.


Douglas Loveless | | COE, Elementary Education 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 meal 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.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0

Some Spanish is helpful, but not required.

Education and IDLS majors (Elementary Education, Teaching English as a Second Language, etc.) Other majors will be considered.

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 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 Closed for 2016

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


READ 435: Literacy Development and Instruction for English Language (3 credits)

READ 490: Special Studies in Reading Education (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.