Service-Learning in San José, Costa Rica

Costa Rica's allure can be attributed to numerous factors, including its impressive biodiversity, stunning natural beauty, environmental awareness, and great opportunities for adventure and ecotourism. Nature-lovers will find endless possibilities to explore the country’s variety of ecosystems and landscapes, from gorgeous beaches to pristine rainforests.

San José, or Chepe, as it is lovingly called by locals, is the political, economic, and cultural hub of Costa Rica. The city will serve as your home base, allowing you to experience a bustling Latin American metropolis while also having the rest of Costa Rica's wonders at your fingertips.

As one of the most advanced countries in Latin America in the areas of healthcare and education, service-learners in San José will have unique opportunities to serve alongside local professionals in health facilities, local schools, after-school programs, and more. With the possibility to add service-learning to your semester or summer study abroad program, intensive Spanish month, or complete service-learning full-time, you will be able to find the best experience to fit your unique needs in San José.

Partner Organizations

Housing Details

ISA Housing in San Jose allows students to enjoy an immersive experience living in a Costa Rican (Tico) home with a local family. With an open mind and flexibility, the experience of living in another culture will be both educational and highly rewarding.


ISA Homestays allow participants to experience aspects of Costa Rican or "Tico" lifestyle that are inaccessible to the average visitor. You have the opportunity for complete cultural immersion by staying with locals and experiencing the Costa Rican way of life. Homestays include breakfast and dinner every day and laundry service once a week. In your homestay you will have your own bedroom, although there may be another student living in the same homestay. Every family has been carefully selected by resident staff to ensure a comfortable, enjoyable and immersive living situation.

Independent Housing

You may opt to secure housing independently. If you select this option, you will receive a discount equal to the housing portion of the program price. By choosing to opt out of ISA Service-Learning housing, you are solely responsible for researching and reserving housing, and paying all fees, deposits, and rent directly to the housing facility that you choose.

Host Family Costa Rica
Host Family Meal Costa Rica
Guy on the Beach


Excursions & Cultural Activities



Starting Summer 2024, full-time service-learning programs will include organized ISA excursions. Included excursions will depend on the length and dates of the program.
For participants enrolled in a Study + Service-Learning combo program, excursions are included in the program fee. Excursions include transportation, entrance fees, and guided tours as well as hotel accommodations and breakfast for all overnight excursions.

Cultural Activities

Cultural activities are included in all programs. The ISA resident staff develops unique cultural activities throughout your program to showcase what makes their city special. These custom-designed activities invite you to learn about the history and culture of your new surroundings. Cultural activities may include city tours, museum visits, sporting events, dance classes, cooking lessons, art and cultural festivals, and more.

Please visit the ISA website for a complete list of excursions and cultural activities in San José.

My experience in service-learning abroad changed my entire perspective on healthcare. I have a better understanding of intersectionality regarding underserved communities and their mental health, along with the external circumstances affecting them. Now, I feel better prepared to enter into career settings, as I feel that my distinct worldview has become an asset.

Julia R.
(Cusco, Summer 2022)

Service Learning was one of my favorite aspects of study abroad. I couldn’t imagine my experience without it. I feel like I gained so much knowledge and experience, as well as many professional connections and lifelong friends!

Ben H.
(Meknes, Fall 2022 and Spring 2023)

This unique opportunity allowed me to directly participate in the host community. I was able to interact with locals while also gaining skills that I can apply to my future career. There is a service learning opportunity for everyone regardless of their interests and passions.

Avantika M
(Costa Rica, Spring 2022)

I would highly recommend this experience to anyone considering! My experience at my host organization allowed me to learn exponentially about my host country while making meaningful connections every day.

Kate S.
(Valparaiso, Fall 2022)