The program is especially designed to offer outstanding undergraduate and graduate students at advanced levels of Spanish language proficiency the opportunity to become fully immersed in a Costa Rican higher education program where Spanish is the principal language of communication. Students selected to participate in the Universidad Nacional program are registered in regular UNA courses and face the same situations handled by Costa Rican students, thus having the greatest opportunity to achieve near-native oral and written Spanish language proficiency.
The Country and City
Costa Rica is a Central American nation noted for its political stability and stunning natural scenery. It lies between Nicaragua to its north and Panama to its south. Costa Rica has extensive beaches on both the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean. It is full of rain forests and mountains, even active volcanoes.
The capital city, San José, is a mere two and one half hours by plane from Miami. The colonial city of Heredia is several miles north of San José. Heredia is noted for its relatively smaller size than San José but also for the vibrant cultural life that centers on UNA-sponsored programs. Located in the central region, the area's average daily temperatures year-round are in the 70s. Lowland parts of the country average in the 90s.
Since its establishment in 1973, Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica has distinguished itself for the renowned record of its educators, its extensive contributions in the area of research, and its successful efforts to continuously modernize the classroom and technological facilities it provides to its students. In essence, UNA has gained an outstanding reputation for offering one of the highest quality education programs in Central America.
Participants can take UNA courses in any of the many disciplines it serves. For those with a Spanish major, UNA offers over 40 different courses, including numerous courses on the Literature of Spain or Latin America; Linguistics, Sociolinguistics, Semiotics, Phonetics and Phonology courses; Literary Analysis and Theory courses; and courses about Spanish Language Pedagogy.
Students will need to be recommended by at least one Spanish language faculty member of their Department of Foreign Languages or Department of Spanish. An overall grade point average of at least 3.0 and a GPA of 3.5 in Spanish are required, as well as a demonstrated oral proficiency level of at least the "advanced" level, according to the guidelines of the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). Preference will be given to SUNY Geneseo students, but any college student who meets the previous eligibility guidelines is invited to apply. To determine their proficiency level, non-Geneseo students will receive an Oral Proficiency Interview by telephone, unless they can come to SUNY Geneseo for an in-person interview with the program coordinator.