STS High School 14–18 years of age
Utterly volcanic

High School in Costa Rica

Age 14-17

Costa Rica is a nature-lover's dream, with deep rain forests, perfect beaches, mountains, volcanoes, islands and spectacular wildlife. But the country's best asset is the people, who are warm, welcoming and share a unique way of seeing the world. Pura vida ('pure life') is both a greeting and the national philosophy. It encapsulates a friendly and worry-free lifestyle and an appreciation of people, nature and a good time.

High School Classic

High School Classic is the traditional high school exchange programme, chosen by most of our students. It is the perfect programme for those who long for a genuine high school experience abroad and who are willing to embrace all the surprises it can bring. Here’s how it works: based on your profile, we find you a suitable host family and school, and the best part is, it can be almost anywhere in Costa Rica! If you’re open to adventure and are willing to let yourself be surprised by your exchange experience, this is the programme for you.

Let's meet!

Download our high school brochure

Download our brochure now and read all about STS High School, our destinations and a very special period abroad that could be the adventure of your life!

‘Pure life’ in Costa Rica

After a civil war, Costa Rica decided to abolish its military forces, and has since invested those resources in education, healthcare and raising the living standards of the Costa Rican people. So, it's no surprise that Costa Rica happens to be one of the most well-developed countries in the region, with higher quality of life, better infrastructure and higher quality education than many of its neighbours.

Population: 5 million
Area: 51,000 km2
National parks: 28
Volcanoes: over 60 (6 active)
Capital: San José (340,000 inhabitants)
Currency: Costa Rican colón
Country code: +506

At home in nature

Costa Rica’s natural diversity is stunning for a country so small, and it’s all within easy reach, no matter where you are. Lush rainforests are home to unique wildlife, active volcanoes light up the night sky, and unreal beaches frame the country on both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts. And the temperate climate means you can enjoy these things all year round. There’s really no end to the natural wonders to discover in this tropical paradise.

School life in Costa Rica

High school in Costa Rica lasts five to six years, depending on the type of curriculum you choose. While the first three years are dedicated to general education, the remaining two to three years provide specialised training, depending on your chosen area of focus, so you can have a great deal of freedom in determining the course of your studies.

A more intimate school experience

Most schools in Costa Rica are probably smaller than you’re used to back home, so interaction with your classmates is key to making new friends. Costa Rican students are generally very warm and friendly and will be interested in learning about you and your culture. Even so, it is important for you to take initiative and make an effort to approach your classmates and try to make friends. This way you’ll integrate into the community, learn about the local culture and really improve your Spanish.

In some ways, Costa Rican schools might feel a bit traditional compared to your school back home. All schools require you to use a school uniform, and teaching methods tend to be more directive than you may be used to. But consider that this will all be part of the experience, and exposing yourself to different ways of teaching will help you grow and learn in new and exciting ways.

Costa Rican host Families

Costa Rica has a long tradition of openness to foreigners. Families who decide to welcome international students into their home do it because they want to experience genuine cultural exchange. They look forward to learning about your culture and enriching their own home with your presence. Our host families put lots of effort into providing you with the best experience possible, so make sure you do the same and give as much of yourself as you can. It will enhance the experience for everyone!

Family time is very important in Costa Rica, so make sure you try to integrate and participate in family activities. Also be sure to help out around the house and keep your room tidy. Try to communicate openly with your host family, spend time with them and learn as much as you can from them. On top of everything else, they are a great window into the Costa Rican way of life and an incredible resource for you to practice your Spanish.

Quick Facts

  • Who can participate: students age 14–17 on arrival
  • Departure: July and February
  • Language requirements: good English
  • Course length: 5 or 10 months
  • Visa: required
  • Welcome Camp: included
  • School year: February to December
  • School day: 7am-3/4pm
  • Subjects: mandatory and elective courses
  • Organized excursions: trips within Costa Rica to national parks, volcanoes, beaches, etc.

Free Time in Costa Rica

Costa Rica may be a small country, but it has so much to offer in terms of attractions and activities. Schools often have sports programmes, like football, basketball or swimming, and there are so many things you can do on your own to discover the country's many charms. Take in the stunning tropical landscapes on a volcano hike, learn to surf on the spectacular beaches, or get up close and personal with the unique wildlife.

Not all schools offer extra-curricular activities, but you can always join sports clubs in your local community. The most common sports practiced by the teenagers are soccer, basketball, swimming and volleyball, but take the chance to try something unique, like surfing or zip-lining, too.

Explore further

Several extra trips are organised every year for our exchange students in Costa Rica. You'll have the chance to visit national parks, climb volcanoes and enjoy beautiful beaches. These excursions are a great opportunity to see more of the country and meet other international students. Contact your local coordinator for more information about these trips.

Welcome Camp

Your exchange experience will begin with a Welcome Camp in Costa Rica’s capital, San José, where we’ll help you feel prepared for the adventure ahead.

All this is included in your High School programme

  • Journey to host country and back (including flight taxes)
  • Accommodation in a host family
  • Full board in a host family
  • School spot in a local high school 
  • Personal assistance and contact person in both home and host country
  • STS Welcome Camp 
  • Pre-departure orientation in your home country
  • Emergency support 24/7
  • Free interview
  • Meetings and material to prepare you and your parents
  • STS bag
  • STS Diploma


For you that wish to stay shorter than 5 or 10 months we also have shorter programme lengths. Please call us!

10 months
From $25,800
3 months
From $20,900
5 months
From $23,500
10 months
From $25,800
3 months
From $20,900
5 months
From $23,500


About you/the student