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IFSA-Universidad Nacional

Program Location Heredia, Costa Rica
Sponsor IFSA-Butler
Program Type Co-sponsored
Course # SA 34008
Duration Semester or
2 Semesters
Upcoming Program Dates
To Be Announced
Past Dates
Spring 2019 02/02/19 to 06/15/19

Page Links
Overview Purdue Credit
Eligibility Program Costs
Financial Aid Deadline
Returnee Info Resources

IFSA-Universidad Nacional

Costa Rica, a nation of 3.2 million people, has long been popular with study abroad students thanks to its outstanding natural beauty, high literacy rates, efficient infrastructure and services, and political stability. The country is located in the Central American isthmus, with Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the south, the Pacific Ocean to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Costa Rica covers only 0.03% of the surface of the earth, yet has approximately 6% of the world's biodiversity. Packed into this small country is an amazing variety of flora and fauna in an equally impressive array of landscapes - cool mountain valleys, sultry mangrove forests, and massive volcanoes draped with lush forests and topped with desolate craters. The country's exemplary system of national parks and preserves embraces a vast array of habitats, covering more than 14% of the national territory. This ensures the survival of Costa Rica's spectacular biological diversity that includes 850 species of birds, 205 species of mammals, 376 types of reptiles and amphibians, 800 species of butterflies, and more than 9,000 species of flowering plants, among them 1,200 varieties of orchids. The friendliness of the Costa Rican people and the clarity of their accent make this lovely country a particularly good place to explore a Spanish-speaking society.

Heredia, the program site, is a city of 35,000 people located six miles north of the capital San José. The city and its surrounding areas provide all the conveniences of a medium-sized town in an environment that has escaped, to a large extent, the normal urban problems affecting the capital. The city has a surprisingly youthful and active feel due to the presence of the many young Costa Ricans attending the local university. Heredia is known as 'the city of flowers' because of its beautiful parks and mild climate. The city's points of interest include two colonial churches and a historical fortress. The old adobe houses and the church and other historic buildings facing the pleasant Central Park offer a glimpse of Costa Rica's colonial past. The city sits on the lower slopes of Barva volcano where some of Costa Rica's finest coffee grows in the rich volcanic soil of the surrounding countryside.

The Universidad Nacional Cost Rica (UNA) was established in 1973 to meet the changing needs of a growing nation. With nearly 15,000 students, this public university offers a full curriculum of undergraduate and graduate-level courses. Students at UNA enjoy a number of artistic and athletic student groups. All program participants may use a health center located on campus.

The approximate program dates are Jul.-Nov./Dec. or Feb.-Jun.

For more program information, please visit the program website. This program is sponsored by:IFSA-Butler.


IFSA-Universidad Nacional

The program is open to Purdue students who have completed at least four semesters of university study by the start of the program. Successful candidates will demonstrate academic success, maturity and a desire to experience another culture.

GPA Requirement: 2.75 on a 4.0 scale
Language Requirement: 4 Sem Spanish

Purdue Credit
Direct Credit available from the following: [College of Liberal Arts][College of Health and Human Sciences]
Specifically from: HK, PSY, & SLHS (HHS)

Students interested in completing courses while abroad from Purdue colleges or departments that are not listed above should discuss this with their study abroad advisor before applying to the program.


This program typically includes the following: 

Arrival and orientation

  • Airport pick-up for group flight travelers
  • Hotel stay with pool, tennis courts and gardens for one night (spring semester only)
  • Welcome meal
  • 14-day on-site orientation for semester/year students includes: transportation, accommodation, activities and meals
    • One week of orientation is in Heredia and includes: tour of Heredia, San José, and UNA campus, informational meetings, orientation wrap-up at Pueblo Antiguo amusement park
    • Second week of orientation is held in Monteverde Cloud Forest (spring semester) or Liberia (fall semester) and includes: informational meetings, 15 hours of intensive Spanish classes, host family stay, and farewell party with host families
      • Orientation in Monteverde Cloud Forest can include: sky walk adventure, horseback riding, visit to organic dairy farm or visit to working sugar mill
      • Orientation in Liberia can include: visit to waterfall in San Luis Valley, trip to volcano or horseback riding

Cultural events

  • Tour of Teatro Nacional
  • Visit to jade or gold museum
  • Visit to Coffee Experience Farm in Tarrazu region


  • Three-day excursion to Pacuare Nature Reserve, Durika Commune or Rain Forest Reserve

Estimated Program Costs

Students should carefully note what costs need to be paid to Purdue University or to a co-sponsor or agency, and what costs need to be paid at the overseas study location.  This will vary by program.

The Program fee includes tuition, accommodation with a host family, three meals per day, laundry service, four-week orientation, academic advising services and academic tutors, excursions/cultural activities/day-trips, and more. Please see IFSA's website for more details.

Costs for this program are estimated and subject to change. The cost figures listed below are for: Spring 2019

Costs per semester to be billed by Purdue and Co-sponsor
Program Fee$13,495.00
Study Abroad Fee$914.00
Purdue International Insurance (per month)$32.00
Program Discount for Purdue Students- $2,000.00

Approximate additional costs per semester
To be paid by the student.
Round-trip Airfare$700.00
Local Transportation$300.00
Books and Supplies$140.00
Miscellaneous Personal Expenses $0.00 -$970.00
Travel Documents (passport, photos)$175.00

Financial Aid
IFSA-Butler offers a monthly payment plan option for its fees as well as scholarships. Please see its website for more information.

Purdue University financial aid may be applied to the costs of studying abroad. Students interested in receiving financial aid should

NOTE:  Recipients of certain tuition remission and scholarship programs should pay careful attention to the regulations for using those benefits for study abroad.  Ask your financial aid advisor about any limitations.

Click here for a list of scholarships and grants available to assist with the costs of studying overseas.

Application Deadlines

For full consideration, students must submit all supporting documents before or by the application deadline.  Popular programs fill quickly, often before the deadline.  To insure a place in a program, apply early.

As soon as a student submits an on-line application, a My Study Abroad account is created. Applicants should consult this page often to check on the status of the application.

Program Application Deadline
Most Fall Semester Programs Mar 1
Most Spring Semester Programs Sep 15

Returnees Information
IFSA-Universidad Nacional

Click below to search for Purdue students who have participated in this program and are willing to be contacted.  If you get no results, you can use the search form to find people who studied in the country you are interested in.


The websites listed below contain information about this program. The accuracy of information at external sites cannot be guaranteed.

For more information on this program, please contact the Study Abroad Office by phone (765) 494-2383 or email

Purdue University, 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-4600

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