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  • Locations: Turrialba, Costa Rica
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Restrictions: PSU applicants only
  • Budget Sheets: Summer
Fact Sheet:
Education Abroad Adviser:
Sarah Spiegel
Language of Instruction:
English, Spanish
Language Requirement:
2 semesters
Internship Available:
Fields of Study:
Agriculture, Spanish
Program Description:
Agriculture Lecture, Costa Ric

Program Overview

¿Dónde quieres ir? Spanish for the Agricultural Sciences can help you get where you want to go.  As the number of native speakers in the workforce rises, Spanish proficiency is becoming more important than ever for agricultural professionals.

See waterfalls, rain forests and volcanoes during a five-week immersion experience in Costa Rica starting in May. Students live with host families, take Spanish classes at a Costa Rican language school, and participate in activities like agricultural site visits, weekend trips, community service, and national park tours. Authentic cultural experiences and greater familiarity with native Spanish help you prepare for a summer internship where you can use what you've learned.

The first week will be spent at EARTH University in Mercedes, Costa Rica, and the following four weeks will be spent in Turrialba, Costa Rica. 

Program Quicklinks     

Course Offerings
Housing and Meals

Program Costs
Financial Aid & Scholarships
More Information
How to Apply
Other Useful Links

Education Abroad Credits

This program will offer two 3-credit international agriculture courses, one focused on Spanish field studies, the other focused on tropical agriculture. The Spanish field studies course will be taught in Spanish. The tropical agriculture course will be taught in English, but will incorporate the students' developing Spanish language skills as much as possible. It is intended to provide students with the opportunity to improve their spoken Costa Rica sugar caneSpanish skills, as well as develop an understanding of the relationship between culture and language. 

INTAG 499: Spanish Field Studies in Costa Rica (3 credits)    
The purpose of the course is to participate in a Spanish language immersion program in Costa Rica. 
Upon completion of the courses sessions and travel experience, students will be able to:

  • Utilize Spanish in common conversational situations
  • Describe the culture, history and economy of Costa Rica
  • Show an increased level of global competency and independent learning
INTAG 299: Survey of International Agriculture (3 credits)

This course includes activities in which students will explore ways to improve human welfare, increase productivity, as well as reduce environmental impacts. It is designed for students interested in learning about the principles of sustainability and strategies to promote it. Students will be exposed and become familiar with a variety of tropical agro ecosystems and will spend part of the course getting involved in field projects and visiting farms dedicated to different agricultural goods, with different intensity of exploitation of natural resources, and evaluate their impact from a sustainable standpoint. Additionally, they will have the opportunity to visit and interact with nearby communities and learn about the challenges they face. Course Objectives:
  • Define sustainable agriculture
  • Identify environmental impacts of large-scale tropical agriculture
  • Discuss principles of sustainability
  • Identify strategies to promote sustainability in the humid tropics
  • Discuss tropical agro ecosystems
***An internship is optional after the five-week immersion program has ended, pending approval from the program faculty leader.
You will receive credit for all academic courses taken at this institution, and all of your grades from abroad will count toward your Penn State cumulative GPA. You may not take any courses overseas on a Pass/Fail basis. Students may not take sport or physical activity courses (e.g. sailing, bowling, yoga, etc.) abroad. These
courses will not be credited at Penn State.


Successful applicants will satisfy the pre-requisites established by the program leader:

INTAG 100 (3 credits) Introduction to International Agriculture
SPAN 105 (4 credits) Elementary Spanish I for Students in the Agricultural Sciences or equivalent
SPAN 106 (4 credits) Elementary Spanish II for Students in the Agricultural Sciences or equivalent

Planting jalapenos, Costa RicaHousing and Meals

During the first week of the program, students will stay in university housing at EARTH University and be provided with the following amenities:
  • -Meal plan
  • -Shared room
  • -Shared bath
  • -Access to campus facilities including student union, sports  facilities, etc. 
In Turrialba, students will stay with host families and be provided with the following amenities:
  • -Meal plan, including breakfast and dinner
  • -Private room
  • -Shared bath
  • -Laundry service
  • -Kitchen
There will also be a rural weekend trip for students to experience what life is like for Costa Rican farming families. 

Program Costs

For more information on program costs, please be sure to review the budget sheet. These budget sheets include information on costs that are billable to the bursar bill, as well as estimated additional costs. Costs vary by program, so it is important to review this information carefully.
Please note that tuition rates may vary depending on major and class standing.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Penn State students studying through Education Abroad can use most components of their existing financial aid packages toward the cost of study abroad. This may include federal and state grants, VA educational benefits, federal student loans, and University scholarships and grants. Notable exceptions include work-study awards and some athletic scholarships.

The University Office of Global Programs also administers a number of grants and scholarships. Eligibility is based on academic excellence and/or financial need. There is also funding available for study abroad programs in diverse locations and for students from diverse backgrounds. In most cases, applicants should have a current year FAFSA on file with the Office of Student Aid. Funding opportunities may also be available through Penn State academic departments. For detailed information on financial aid and scholarship opportunities and application procedures, please visit the Funding Study Abroad section of the Global Penn State website.

For More Information

For more information about programs and education abroad at Penn State, we encourage you to meet with or contact our Peer Advisers. These study abroad returnees can explain program options, give an overview of the education abroad process, as well as provide information about his/her program. If you are not at University Park, contact your Campus Global Representative
For more information, please contact Dr. Melanie Miller-Foster, the faculty leader for this program in the College of Agricultural Sciences. You may also schedule an appointment with the education abroad adviser for this program.
For the inside scoop on life in a foreign country, be sure to check out the Student Spotlights of Penn State students currently studying abroad.


How to Apply

Costa Rica Turrialba studentsIf you would like to participate on this study abroad program, you will need to apply to Penn State Education Abroad by clicking the "Apply Now" button on this page. 
You must complete the following materials in your application:
  •  Education Abroad Questionnaire
  •  One academic recommendation
  •  Signature Documents

Visit the How to Apply section of our website for more information.

Application deadline: February 1, 2018


Studying Abroad with a Disability

Many students with disabilities successfully study abroad each year. Please note that other cultures may have different attitudes and available accommodations regarding disabilities. While we cannot guarantee the accessibility of all program sites and locations, specific accommodations may be arranged in consultation with our office, the Student Disability Resources office, and our partners abroad. To prepare for success, students are strongly encouraged to research the country and program location to consider if and how they will manage their disabilities abroad in advance of selecting a program. Students with disabilities and other diverse backgrounds can begin their research on our Diversity Awareness Abroad page.

Other Useful Links

Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2018 02/01/2018
02/14/2018 05/11/2018 06/15/2018
NOTE: Start date of May 11, indicates the date that students must arrive in Costa Rica. End date marks departure from program housing.

Indicates that deadline has passed