IFSA January in Costa Rica

Heredia, Costa Rica


Language of Instruction


Language Prerequisite

Class taught in English. No Spanish required.

Finance Options
Financial aid, monthly payment plan, credit card payments and more!
Application Deadlines:
  • Summer: WINTER: November 1
Min. GPA for Consideration:
Typical Credit Load:
3 U.S. Semester Credit Hours

About January in Costa Rica

You'll bask in near 80-degree days as you explore Heredia, ecological sites, national parks, beautiful beaches, and nearby hiking trails. Your three-week Ecology and Sustainable Development class, perfect to fulfill an elective or science requirement, will build your understanding of the recovery, preservation, and protection of the environment. With activities included, your stay in Costa Rica will be even more valuable and memorable.

January in Costa Rica Benefits

  • Great location to immerse yourself in the local culture, and if you have a background in Spanish, practice your language skills.
  • The three-week Ecology and Sustainable Development in Costa Rica class is a perfect elective or can be used to fulfill a major requirement, and you will earn 3 U.S. semester credit hours. 
  • Take your learning into the field and explore the tropics first-hand, engaging with scientists, park rangers, small business owners, and community activists passionate about sustainability.
  • All activities, including meals and transportation, are included in the program fee. 

The IFSA Difference

Your success is our success! Whatever your goals, our approach is carefully designed to help you achieve them.
You will experience challenging, rewarding coursework in the highest quality classes, while receiving the academic support you need.
More than a tourist in a foreign country, you will engage in the community, build competencies, and develop yourself as a citizen of the world.
Our programs and practices reflect the value we place on diverse perspectives and are designed to support a variety of learners.
You will have academic and personal mentors to assist with program choice, application, travel, cultural acclimation, language acquisition, class registration, academic issues, health and safety, and everything in between.

Academics at January in Costa Rica

Ecology and Sustainable Development in Costa Rica 
(3 U.S. Semester Credit Hours)

Exploring environmental conditions in Costa Rica through practical field experiences, this course addresses the importance and challenges of ecological recovery, preservation, and protection. Using interdisciplinary approaches, students will confront the task of society to raise awareness for conserving natural resources long-term in Costa Rica and globally. Students will also expand theoretical concepts of ecology and its history in Costa Rica by examining the socio-economic and political relationships that promote—or sometimes prevent—sustainable goods and services such as ecotourism, development, and conservation research.
Experiential Learning
To make the most of your three weeks in Costa Rica, IFSA takes your learning outside the classroom with multiple co-curricular activities each week – to introduce you to an incredible, biodiverse landscape and the locals who are committed to protecting it. These experiences may include:
  • A day trip to the Irazú volcano and a nearby coffee plantation.
  • Hiking in national parks and discussion of Costa Rica’s national park system and management.
  • A day trip to Sarapiqui to participate in a native tree reforestation project.
  • A visit to a sustainable chocolate farm and processing plant.
  • A meeting with owners of environmentally friendly hotels to discuss eco-tourism.
All activities, including meals and transportation, are included in the program fee. 
IFSA courses are taught by English-speaking faculty from various higher education and professional institutions throughout Heredia, who combine theoretical and practical expertise in their chosen subject area.
After you return to the U.S., IFSA will send an official Butler University transcript to your home university with your coursework converted to the U.S. credit system. You will also have access to an unofficial transcript in your IFSA Student Portal. The transcript reflects courses taken, credits attempted, and grades earned during your term abroad. This service is included in your study abroad program at no additional cost
Subjects offered at January in Costa Rica
Botany/Plant Science Ecology Environmental Health Environmental Science/Studies Geology Hospitality & Tourism Sustainability Studies

Housing & Meals

Housing Type
You will live in centrally located, fully furnished apartments in Heredia with single and shared bedroom options, and shared bathrooms. Apartments include a common dining area and kitchen with a microwave, refrigerator, and stovetop. There is no meal plan; you will purchase your meals or cook for yourself.

The IFSA Team

IFSA has a dedicated team who are here to help you prepare to achieve your goals. Feel free to reach out. We are happy to answer your questions!

Resident Director

Rodney Vargas's headshot

Rodney Vargas

Resident Director, Costa Rica

Read Full Bio  

Academic Affairs Director

Dates and Fees

Winter 2021

Program Dates

Program Start Date
December 28, 2020
Program End Date
January 16, 2021

Program Fees

Total Program Fee
Students pay a $500 non-refundable program deposit upon confirmation of attendance. The deposit is applied to the total program fee.

Estimated Costs

Local Transportation
Personal Expenses
(Includes utilities, laundry, entertainment, expected start-up costs, etc. Does not include personal travel.)
Total Estimated Costs