IFSA-Universidad Nacional

Program Details

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
Current Program Dates
Fall 2023 07/26/23 to 11/25/23
Past Dates
Spring 2022 03/02/22 to 07/16/22
Page Links
Click here to apply for this program!
Please Note: Programs may be altered or adapted with little notice


IFSA-Universidad Nacional

Costa Rica 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 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.

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 - mountain valleys, mangrove forests, and massive volcanoes draped with lush forests and topped with desolate craters.

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. The city has a 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 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, with extensive opportunities to get involved on campus. All program participants may use a health center located on campus.

The approximate program dates are late Jul.-late Nov. for the fall term or late Feb.- late Jun for the spring term.

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 in good standing who have completed at least two 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, PUBH, & 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.

Academic Program

This program combines the best of integrated campus life with familiarity of small discussion-based program combine the following IFSA exclusive courses with those directly-enrolled at UNA alongside local students. All coursework is in Spanish.

The IFSA course of Advanced Spanish is required for all students, and you will select the rest of your courses from the offerings at Universidad Nacional. More information on available courses and how to search the course catalog can be found here.


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


Students on this program are placed with a carefully selected host family, which will include three meals per day and free laundry access.

Estimated Program Costs

Students pursuing program participation accept financial responsibility. Purdue will take measures to mitigate financial risks, although will not be liable for loss. 

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, orientation, academic advising services and academic tutors, excursions/cultural activities/day-trips, and more. The housing fee includes accommodation with a host family, three meals per day, and laundry service. 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: Fall 2023

Costs per semester to be billed by Purdue and Co-sponsor
Program Fee $12,605.00
Study Abroad Fee $914.10
Housing $2,350.00
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 $595.00
Visa $400.00
Books and Supplies $150.00
Miscellaneous Personal Expenses $0.00 - $969.00
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 (typically an essay, transcripts, 1-2 recommendations, and copy of passport) before or by the application deadline.  Popular programs fill quickly, often before the deadline. To ensure a place in a program, apply early.

As soon as a student submits an online 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 studyabroad@purdue.edu.