Summer Internships in Costa Rica - On Site

UC Davis Study Abroad, Summer Internship Abroad Costa Rica, Ag Science & Sustainability Program, Header Image, On Site Page

Costa Rica—Ag Science & Sustainability


  • While in San Jose for the first segment of the program, you will stay for 6 nights at a small hotel in the capital city, in shared rooms with a bathroom (breakfast is included). 
  • The first trip will be to Puerto Viejo, an Afro-Caribbean community on the coast, where you will stay for 3 nights in shared rooms in a two-star hotel (breakfast included).
  • You will then return to San Jose for three nights before moving on to Boruca where you will have the unique experience of staying in an indigenous reserve for 4 nights. All meals will be included.
  • You will then return to San Jose for two nights before moving on to Monteverde. Once in Monteverde, you will be staying in shared cabins on a family-owned and operated coffee farm (breakfast and dinner are both included).
  • From there you will travel to Liberia in the northwest reaches of Costa Rica, the Guanacaste province has easy access to some of the country’s most tempting draws – white-sand beaches, turquoise waters, and impressive, volcano-studded rainforests.
  • The final segment of the program will be hosted again in San Jose for 5 nights. A final farewell group meal on the last night will provide an opportunity to say goodbye to your new friends and classmates. 

UC Davis reserves the right to change the accommodation location(s). Should this be necessary, we will arrange comparable lodging. Please note that elevators, air conditioners and other modern conveniences may not be available in all locations.


Meals vary throughout the month (see above description in "accommodations"). When lunch and dinner are not provided, students can purchase food at local markets or enjoy regional dishes in nearby restaurants.

Excursions and Day Trips

Please download a copy of the course syllabus (on the Courses page) to see a sampling of the field trips and excursions. They are a crucial part of this active program. Visiting the communities and meeting local people make it a truly rewarding and once in a lifetime opportunity! 

Study Abroad Advisory of Student Risk

Participation in this UC Davis Study Abroad program requires travel to and extended living in a foreign location(s) abroad. UC Davis Study Abroad endeavors to reduce and mitigate risk wherever possible.  However, the environments and risks associated with living in these locations are substantially different than those found during a regular course of study at UC Davis. All participants must download and review the following information prior to departure. Any questions should be directed to the Program Coordinator.

Study Abroad General Risk Advisory

Program Specific Risk Advisories (PDF)

About Costa Rica

Annually Costa Rica attracts more than one million visitors eager to catch a wave, bathe under a waterfall, spot a sloth or otherwise partake of paradise, according to Lonely Planet. Tourism is the country's top source of employment and investment. It's not easy to maintain the delicate balance between preserving natural resources and cashing in on economic opportunity. But most Ticos are proud of their natural heritage, and they recognize that the goals of environmental conservation and economic prosperity are not mutually exclusive. This is the enlightened approach that has earned Costa Rica its reputation as the paradigm of ecotourism. It's no wonder that the Ticos extend such a warm welcome to travelers. This peace- loving people is eager to share - the staggering scenery, the bountiful biodiversity and the complete contentment that comes with pura vida, the 'pure life' of Costa Rica.

Currency: Costa Rican colon (CRC). To see today's exchange rate, visit

Language Spoken: The official and predominant language of Costa Rica is Spanish; the variety spoken there is a form of Central American Spanish. In addition, several Chibchan languages, including Boruca and Bribri, are spoken there.

Weather and Climate

CNN weather in Costa Rica

Bring clothes that you can layer for ease of comfort.  There may be some rain showers during your stay, so bring a jacket, poncho or umbrella and appropriate shoes for rain.

Research Your Destination

Keeping in Touch

Since communication options can vary dramatically from country to country, Summer Abroad advises checking with the instructor or the Program Specific Guide for advice about what might be the best option for your particular program.

Calling the U.S. from Abroad

Many U.S.-based long distance phone companies provide special services that make it easy for you to phone home from abroad. Some provide toll-free access numbers that connect with an operator in the U.S. Some provide the means to charge long distance calls to a credit card or to a third party. Some provide better long distance rates. Others provide access to emergency, medical, legal, translation, and entertainment information. Students are encouraged to investigate these options before departure and to shop for the best services and rates.

Global Cell Phones

Most cell phone companies can sell you a special global cell phone with the option to add more minutes as needed. Also, most cell phone companies can unlock your cell phone for global use, but this requires a trip to a provider at your destination who will give you a SIM card and sell you minutes. Check with your cell phone provider for more information. Global cell phones are also available through travel agencies and online. Be sure to check the policies for both incoming and outgoing calls and text messages.

Cell Phone Rental

Some students choose to rent a cell phone that works at their destination. Some companies will ship the phone directly to the student in advance of the program dates—and include a packet for sending the phone back when they return. Interested students can locate service providers via the Internet.

Phone Cards

Many travel agencies and specific phone providers carry great options for phone cards. Check the rates available from your long distance provider. You can often buy phone cards on site.


Skype is a computer program that you can download for free that allows you to talk (for free) on the phone over the Internet with anyone else who has Skype. Go to to download the program. For an extra fee (as low as .02 cents/minute) you can enable your Skype to call land lines instead of just other computers. You will need a microphone and headset so that you can talk to the person on the other line. Skype also includes a chat option for instant messaging.

Instant Messaging Systems

Instant messaging systems are also a great free way to communicate with people back in the states. There are numerous options for messaging systems from AOL Instant Messenger to Yahoo Messenger. Just about every messaging program can be downloaded for free online.

Internet Access

Computer and internet access varies by program. Information for your site will be listed in your Program Specific Guide.

Internet access is offered in all the countries we go to, but the reliability of it differs from program to program. Internet can be accessed through internet cafes. Some programs also offer access through the dorms or on-campus computer labs. Internet cafes are very reasonably priced and often times have various instant messaging programs installed and headphones available to chat with loved ones. Relying on internet cafes may reduce worry of bringing your own laptop with you. You can upload pictures at most internet cafes, but remember due to the speed of some connections, it may be a better idea just to bring multiple memory cards to avoid spending your whole day on the computer.

Cultural Learning

Living in a new culture can be exhilarating, rewarding, and stimulating. It can also be frustrating. It is one thing to tour a country, but it is quite another to live and function according to different norms. It is important to be open toward a new culture, to try to discard stereotypes, and to learn as much as possible about the culture before departure. If you educate yourself about the country you will be visiting, you will better understand and appreciate your new surroundings!

Even with preparation it is likely that you will experience "culture shock." Recent studies show that there are distinct stages of culture shock. Some of these stages include: awareness of the host culture and preparation, initial euphoria and excitement, irritability phase during acclimation, gradual adjustment, and adaptation to culture. Upon return to the United States, many students face "reverse culture shock."

There are some things you can do to minimize your cultural adjustment. Keep a sense of humor! Treat yourself to an occasional U.S. indulgence like a favorite food, or purchase a U.S. magazine or newspaper. Avoid other Americans who are overly negative or who complain a lot. Keep healthy. Above all, don't be afraid to try new activities!

Resources for Further Study

Ethical Considerations in Study Abroad