Costa Rica Biomedical Science Semester

Join us in the Fall 2021 semester for a unique educational experience designed to give upper level pre-med, pre-vet and other pre-health students the chance to study and travel abroad while keeping up with their rigorous course of study.

Almendros y Coral

How would you like to take required “core” courses in a tropical rain forest? Take some key electives and study Spanish while at the beach? Take courses with only 14 other students? Explore volcanoes and jungles with top flight faculty? If any of this sound good to you, this program may be right for you.

Students will receive an in-depth introduction to Costa Rican and Latin American health, conservation, culture, and nature, then learn and use Spanish through a combination of classes and home stays. We will study and see first-hand the global impact of emerging zoonotic diseases including COVID-19. Genetics and Microbiology will be taught with a “Latin flavor” to show how these sciences are applicable to Costa Rica and the world outside the classroom. Students will visit a local hospital and learn about the health and diet issues facing Latin America in a post COVID-19 world, then follow it up with a field trip to national parks and a visit to a sloth rescue center. Wouldn’t you like to have a working knowledge of Spanish and so many new experiences to write about on your next big application?

Dates for 2021

  • Fly to Costa Rica 22 August 2021
  • Fly home to USA 5 December 2021
Rincon Vieja

Student Life

The course will be based at the Soltis Center where students will eat three cafeteria-style meals a day live in shared dorm accommodations. The program itinerary is created to intersperse intense periods of lectures and exams with multi-day trips and field excursions to ensure that the basic lecture material is covered while still finding time to explore the unique opportunities available in Costa Rica. We will also do a quick trip in to Panama to visit the Naso native community and the beaches of Bocas del Toro. Students will learn about Costa Rican culture, daily life and health care decisions through a series of homestays with families in distinct areas of the country. Throughout the semester the course will be traveling during the weekends and time will be included for relaxation and exploration of beaches, forests, towns, and cities.

The Soltis Center

The Soltis Center for Research and Education will become your home for the semester. Soltis Center is a clean and comfortable Texas A&M owned and operated facility which opened in 2009. The modern facilities of the center include dorms, a cafeteria and multiple use area, labs, classrooms, internet access, and a video conference room, all wheel chair accessible, along with more than 250 acres of primary and second growth tropical rain forest. The buffet style food is great and the forests host diverse plant, bird, and amphibian communities which provide a wide array of educational and research opportunities. The closest community, San Juan de Peñas Blancas, is just five minutes away from the center, where approximately 50 families form a close-knit community reliant mostly on subsistence farming. The land owners around the center are an eclectic mix of US expatriates and native Costa Ricans who are using their land for sustainable agriculture, forestry, organic farming, cattle grazing, tourism and other micro enterprises. The center is about 30 minutes from the popular tourist destinations of La Fortuna, Arenal Volcano and Arenal Lake.


Close EncountersThe course will make extensive use of the unique opportunities available in Central America. Most of the course will be held in Costa Rica, where we will visit the full range of sites from small local towns to the bustling capital of San Jose. We will be touring government hospitals and private clinics, staying at an agricultural technical college and visiting a working cattle ranch. We will also have a brief trip to Panama to visit a rustic lodge in the Naso native community and the world famous beaches of Bocas del Toro. This will provide a wonderful contrast to Costa Rica and provide students with a much broader appreciation of Latin America. Field excursions will be closely integrated with the course material and will be an integral part of all courses.

We will also have some purely recreational outings including trips to hot springs, snorkeling, zip lines, and relaxing on a variety of beaches.


The course is designed for pre-med, pre-vet or other pre-health profession students and students from any major can participate.

  • Minimum 2.5 GPA
    • 3.0 or better preferred
  • Instructor approval
  • Junior or Senior Standing (recommended)


How To Apply

If you are interested in applying for this program, please email Amaris Vazquez at the Education Abroad Office right away so that she puts you on the program mailing list and you get all the updates on the program. The official online TAMU Study Abroad application for the program will open in Fall 2020.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Additional scholarships specifically for study abroad will be made available starting in Fall 2018. For more information contact Amaris Vazquez at the Education Abroad Office.


The following costs are based on schedules from previous semesters and are intended for general guidelines only.

Estimated Program Fee (subject to change) – billed to university account $11,600
Accommodations, Most meals, Excursions & other Program Related Expenses $6,300
In Country Transportation $1,200
CISI International Health Insurance $125
Study Abroad Administrative Fee $510
Miscellaneous Program Expenses (tips, wire transfers, other) $1,465
Additional Expenses – not included in program fee $6,685
Tuition & Fees (in-state resident for 13 credit hours $4,250
International Airfares $800
Travel Documents (passport and visa if needed) $135
Some Meals (those not included in program fee) $1000
Textbooks & Supplies $500
Personal Spending Varies
Total Estimated Cost $18,285


Dancing is an important part of Costa Rican culture