First Year Experience Abroad Costa Rica

Incoming first year students are invited to apply to Jacksonville University's First Year Experience Abroad program. Join other first year students, JU peer mentors, and JU faculty for an engaged learning experience throughout Costa Rica as you tour through San Jose, La Fortuna, Monteverde, and Jaco Beach in 10 days. The course will begin on August 14th and end on November 21st during the fall semester. At the end of the course, you will travel to Costa Rica on December 1st, and then return in time for the Winter holidays on December 10th.

This program and course are designed to help make your first year at JU a smooth transition to success, as it mirrors the similarities with stepping into the college environment for the first time with that of traveling and living in a different culture.

This course is open to all majors, and fulfills JU’s Experiential Learning credit, a graduation requirement for all undergraduate students.

This program is great for students with strict course schedules (i.e., Aviation, Nursing) who are still interested in a study abroad experience. 

Important Dates

Course Dates: August 14 - November 21, 2024

Travel Dates: December 1 - 10, 2024*
*subject to change

Application & Deposit Deadline: August 1, 2024

Final Payment Deadline: September 15, 2024

How to Apply

  • Students must have their JU tuition deposit submitted before applying for this program.
  • Click 'Apply Now' below to first create your Traveler Profile. Enter your JU email and create a password.
  • Once logged in, click 'Explore Programs', and type JU First Year Experience Abroad in Costa Rica in the search bar. Click 'Apply Now' on the program page and submit your application.
  • Once accepted, you will need to submit a $500 non-refundable deposit to secure your spot.
    • The deposit is deducted from the total program cost.
    • Click here to submit the deposit payment.
    • Click 'Make a Payment' in the 'Education Payments' quadrant. 
    • Select 'Florida', 'Jacksonville University', 'Online Payments', and 'Study Abroad Deposits' to proceed, shown here:
      Deposit Instructions
    • More information on submitting payment to JU is available here



On-Site Program Cost

$3,515 - $3,995 + airfare (subject to change, based on number of travelers)

*This price range is determined based on enrollment. The final on-site program cost will be determined after the application and deposit deadline has passed.  The $500 deposit is deducted from the total on-site program cost. The program cost is in addition to the Fall 2024 JU tuition.

Once enrollment is confirmed for the 3 credit JU 111 course, the on-site program cost will be added to each student's JU account.  

Included in On-Site Program Cost

  • Airport Pick/Drop-Off
  • In-country transportation (coach bus & public transportation)
  • Welcome and Farewell Dinners
  • Breakfast daily
  • Shared accommodations in hotels
  • Group excursions, activities, and entrance fees per itinerary
  • 24-hour emergency support services
  • On-site Program Coordinator for the duration of the program
  • Emergency Medical & Accident insurance for each participant
  • Gratuities to guides and bus drivers and/or similar

Excluded from On-Site Program Cost

  • Roundtrip Airfare
    • Students will receive specific instructions on arrival/departure. 
      Please do not book flights until you have received these details from Study Abroad & Away.
  • Meals (unless otherwise specified on itinerary)
  • Incidentals 


During the Fall Term, students will register for JU 111 401z for 3 credit hours. This class section meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 - 4:45pm. If you are already registered for a different section of the JU 111 course, please contact your academic advisor to enroll in the appropriate section.

This program fulfills JU’s Experiential Learning undergraduate requirement for graduation.

Standard JU tuition and fees for Fall 2024 apply for the JU 111 course. 
(See JU Undergraduate Tuition & Costs

This program is open to 15 first year students. Additional applicants will be placed on a wait list.

Faculty Leaders

Tiffany Leach

Tiffany Leach is a Professor of Art, Chair of the Department of Visual Arts, and Director of the MFA in Visual Arts at Jacksonville University. Professor Leach completed her BFA in visual arts with a concentration in ceramics at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and her MFA in visual arts from the University of Georgia. Professor Leach's sculptures address the social norms of contemporary society for women and the understanding of the human experience. She specializes in ceramic sculpture with figurative elements, that utilizes wheel thrown vessels as metaphorical references. As well as functional wares that address similar elements and themes. Her work has been exhibited, lectured, and collected at national and international venues. She is passionate about study abroad and an engaged learning experience at all levels. Her travel and love of adventure has led to time spent living abroad prior to teaching at JU, as well as a month-long artist residency in Rome, and most recently an artist residency in Skopelos, Greece. Professor Leach has taught study abroad programs in both Italy and Iceland and she has spent time traveling in Europe, South Africa, Canada, and Central America. 

Jeremy Stalker

Dr. Jeremy Stalker is an Assistant Professor of Marine Science.  He received his B.S. at Michigan State University; his M.S. at the University of Montana; and his Ph.D. at Florida International University. His research interest and areas of specialization include: Hydrology, Stable Isotope, Ionic and Nutrient Geochemistry, Coastal Oceanography, Geophysics, and Forensics. Dr. Stalker is also a passionate advocate of education abroad and the valuable experience it provides for students and faculty. He spent his youth traveling abroad with his parents and continues to honor the family legacy of international education by leading programs abroad with JU students. 

Tentative Program Itinerary

  • Sunday, Dec 1  - Depart the US for San Jose, Costa Rica
    • Group Welcome Dinner
    • Meals Included: -/-/D

  • Monday, Dec 2 - San Jose
    • Guided tour of Doka Estate
    • La Paz Waterfall Garden & Nature Park
    • Meals Included: B/L/-

  • Tuesday Dec 3 - San Jose to La Fortuna
    • Visit Veritas University
    • Travel to La Fortuna
    • Visit Sarchi
    • Meals Included: B/-/-

  • Wednesday Dec 4 - La Fortuna
    • Visit Maleku indigenous community
    • Meals Included: B/L/D

  • Thursday Dec 5 - La Fortuna
    • Visit La Fortuna Waterfall
    • Guided chocolate tour
    • Meals Included: B/-/-

  • Friday Dec 6 - La Fortuna to Monteverde
    • Travel to Monteverde
    • Guided Kinkajou night walk tour through rainforest after dark
    • Meals Included: B/-/D

  • Saturday Dec 7 - Monteverde to Jaco Beach
    • Guided hike in Monteverde Reserve
    • Travel to Jaco Beach
    • Meals Included: B/-/-

  • Sunday Dec 8 - Jaco Beach
    • Manuel Antonio National Park
    • Meals Included: B/-/-

  • Monday Dec 9 - Jaco Beach to San Jose
    • Travel to San Jose
    • Group Farewell Dinner
    • Meals Included: B/-/D

  • Tuesday Dec 10 - Farewell Costa Rica!
    • Depart for US
    • Meals Included: B/-/-

Contact Us

Study Abroad & Away

Tiffany Leach

Jeremy Stalker