Stunning Pacific and Caribbean coastlines, mountains, volcanoes, waterfalls, lakes and islands, Cost Rica is an uber environment-friendly country with a strong commitment to preserving natural resources. Costa Ricans tend to be proud, friendly and diverse people who enjoy sharing their culture and social activities with newcomers. Pura vida (enjoying life) is the national motto. Costa Rica does not have a national military, which demonstrates just how much Costa Ricans value democracy, peace and political freedom.

Teenagers here enjoy the movies, dancing and visiting each other’s homes. Sports are very popular, especially soccer. Don’t miss out on local carnivals and festivals—they will be a great opportunity to soak in local culture with new friends!

Host Family & Community

Although you may live anywhere in Costa Rica, most likely you will be in a suburban or urban area. Sharing among extended family members is deeply appreciated, so expect family life to play a significant role in your experience. Mealtimes are often filled with passionate conversations on a variety of subjects, and may be stretched for weekend lunches.


You will probably attend a public school, which runs from February through December, Monday to Friday (7 am to 4.30 pm). Costa Rican students wear uniforms. You can always participate in sport tournaments with your high school or in the community, as well as join music groups and different clubs based on your interests.

A photo posted by Clara Aiello (@_harley_97) on


Spanish is the primary language spoken in Costa Rica, and some people also speak English very well. You don’t have to know Spanish before the program, but having a basic knowledge of Spanish or English will be helpful.


Potatoes, eggs, corn, rice and beans, and dairy products are staples of the Costa Rican diet, Meat or fish may not be included in some meals throughout the week. You will also find a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and fruit juices.

Let AFS guide your intercultural adventure

Year Exchange PROGRAM

Program Date: August 3, 2018 – June 17, 2019
Birth Date Range: August 3, 2001 – August 3, 2003

You’ll be much more than a tourist in Costa Rica, as you will have the opportunity to eat, drink, and breathe Costa Rican culture, to learn the language and get to know the people.  AFSers have lived all throughout Costa Rica, but no matter where you stay, you’ll be within an hour or two of the coast and nearby some breathtaking natural beauty.

Program dates may vary and are meant to help with general scheduling only.
All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and programs are filled first-come, first-serve.

Apply Now!