Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful and livable countries in Latin America. According to travelationary, it is located in Central America on a land bridge between Nicaragua and Panama. From the west to the east coast – i.e. from the South Pacific to the Caribbean Sea – it can be crossed by car in just one day. The country is of volcanic origin, although today only a part of the volcanoes of Coast Rica are active. In the middle of the country lies the Valle Central plateau with the capital San José.
Costa Rica: Latin America’s “rich coast”
The name Costa Rica, meaning “rich coast”, was given to the country by the Spanish conquerors. They referred to the splendid gold jewelry of the locals. Nowadays, tourists and locals see the rare animal and plant populations rather than the particular wealth of the tropical country.
Dense rain and mangrove forests grow here, which are home to sloths, tapirs, hummingbirds and all kinds of other animal species. At the same time, the very different Pacific and Caribbean beaches are not only considered surfing paradises, but also as quiet retreats.
The good four million Costa Ricans are commonly known as ticas or Ticos referred. They are considered to be very open-minded and friendly. The phrase Pura Vida (pure life) can be heard everywhere – it stands for the relaxed lifestyle of the locals. In Costa Rica there is a high standard of education and it is one of the wealthiest countries in Latin America. It traditionally lives from the yields of its banana and coffee plantations and fruit growing. Tourism plays another important role. In addition, major US computer manufacturers have now set up shop in Costa Rica to produce here.
Studying in Costa Rica is a great opportunity to discover the Central American country.
Costs and financing options
International students pay tuition fees at Costa Rica’s universities. They vary depending on the type of institution, subject and program. The more practice-oriented the study program, the more expensive it is usually. It is best to inquire about the exact amount of fees in advance from the respective university. You should roughly calculate the equivalent of around 1,500 to 2,500 euros per year. In general, private universities charge higher fees than state universities.
The daily expenses are relatively high in Costa Rica compared to other Latin American countries. Compared to European standards, however, they are still low. The Costa Rican wage conditions are very different from European ones. Of course, the cost of living is largely dependent on the individual lifestyle. Export items, for example, are very expensive, while domestic products (especially in the markets) are very cheap. Numerous restaurants offer local dishes at low prices. Services are also extremely affordable compared to Europe.
There are few student residences in Costa Rica because the locals usually live with their parents or other relatives while they are studying. Therefore, you should register for a place in the dormitory well in advance. Otherwise, foreign students often stay with Costa Rican host families. In this way they can participate intensively in the everyday life of the Ticos and improve their language skills. Another variant is rented single apartments. The prices vary, depending on the level of comfort, between the equivalent of EUR 70 up to EUR 300.
If you want to go to Costa Rica to study, you should find out about the available funding opportunities at an early stage. Various political, scientific, cultural and economic organizations and foundations are dedicated to such matters. The DAAD for example, has numerous tailored to certain claims and circles funding. For a semester or year abroad, funding from AuslandsBAföG is also possible. Another option is an education or student loan.
Visa and entry requirements for Costa Rica
A passport that is valid for at least three months is required to enter Costa Rica while studying abroad. After entering the country, as a student, you apply for the tourist visa to be converted into a corresponding student visa. That is a relatively complex undertaking. For the visa you have to submit the following documents:
- International birth certificate
- Proof of study
- Criminal record certificate
- Proof of sufficient finances
All documents must be translated and certified. This visa procedure is chargeable and costs the equivalent of around EUR 70. You transfer the amount of money to the account of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on site before submitting the application.
In any case, it is advisable to take out international health insurance for Costa Rica while in Germany. Certain vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis should also be carried out in advance.