Costa Rica Rainforest Canopy Bridge

Welcome to the PRO Costa Rica Accepted Student Information page!  Navigate the tabs below for everything you need to know before your epic adventure!

To navigate back to your portal for payments, forms and due dates, click the My Account button above.

Stay Informed

Click here for the pre-departure master checklist!

Stay on track for your summer adventure with the pre-departure checklist.  Print it out, share with your parents and cross off items as you complete them.  Please note some items may only apply to specific locations, and this is noted where applicable.

Flights

Are flights included in the program fee?

International airfare is not included in your program fee.  You have several options when booking flights:

  • Purchase a group flight ticket from LeadAbroad
  • Book your own ticket that is on the same itinerary as the official group flight (this is a great option if you prefer to use points and/or miles to book airfare)
  • Book your own flights on any itinerary that is most convenient for you (be sure to note your arrival/departure dates and times as this may affect your airport transfer)

All flight details can be found in the flights section below!

Can I buy a one-way group flight ticket from LeadAbroad?

Group flight booking policies from the airlines only allow roundtrip tickets with the confirmed group itinerary.  If you have other travel plans, we recommend booking the same flight as the group on your own.  All itineraries can be found in the flights section below.  Use this information for booking flights on your own.

I purchased a group flight ticket from LeadAbroad. Do I need to book any other flights?

Your LeadAbroad group flight ticket includes a roundtrip itinerary between ATL and San Jose (SJO).  All students are responsible for their own booking between their hometown and Atlanta, this year’s group flight departure city.  We strongly recommend landing into the group flight airport at least four hours before your international flight departs.  Additionally, we recommend booking your hometown itinerary on the same airline as the group flight.  When you check-in for your very first flight, this will allow the airline representative to combine your ticket with the one LeadAbroad purchased for you.  Your bags will be tagged with SJO, so you won’t have to pick them up again in ATL before the group flight departs.

If you live within driving distance of the Atlanta airport and plan to drive to the airport before catching the group flight, be sure to note this on your flight form in the portal.  We strongly recommend you arrive to the airport at least four hours before departure.

When will I get my group flight confirmation? Can I upgrade my ticket or request a different seat?

All students who register for the group flight through LeadAbroad will receive an email confirmation with ticket details approximately 30 days before departure.  Once details are sent, you can alter your seat assignment by looking up your ticket number on the carrier website.  LeadAbroad cannot accommodate seat/class requests during the initial group booking.

Will LeadAbroad staff be on my flight?

Since our staff will already be abroad preparing for your arrival, we will not have any staff at the departure airport or on flights to Costa Rica.  However, a student will be taking attendance at the gate and helping students connect with each other before the flight.  Should you have questions or problems with your flight, we strongly recommend you speak with an airline representative at the airport as they will be able to assist.  Our on-call, U.S. based staff is available for any itinerary changes that will impact your arrival into Athens.

Can I cancel my group flight ticket after purchasing from LeadAbroad?

Group flight tickets are non-refundable.

I am not arriving on the group flight. Will someone meet me at the airport in San Jose?

It is extremely important that you arrive as close as possible to the group flight.  Any delay in your arrival will cause you to miss very important orientations and training on the ground.  If your scheduled arrival is anytime AFTER the group is scheduled to land, you must book and pay for your own transportation to the hotel.  We will reach out if this applies to you and assist in arranging this transportation.

If you arrive on the official start date and within the group’s landing time (usually about one hour BEFORE the group flight lands), we will meet you at the airport and provide transportation to the hotel.

What happens if I miss my flight or it is canceled/delayed?

  • Step 1: Do not stress. These things happen!
  • Step 2: Work with an airline rep at the airport to be rebooked.
  • Step 3: As soon as you have a new itinerary, complete the new flight plan form linked in your pre-departure newsletter.  We will be in touch to confirm any details.

Packing

Where can I find a packing list?

Click here to jump down to the packing section of this page for all the details!

Do I have to bring my laptop?

Yes.  You will need your laptop to prep for your workdays.

Should I pack sheets/linens/towels/hangers?

No, our hotels provide all of the above.  However, it’s always a good idea to pack an extra beach towel or quick-drying travel towel.

Budgeting & Finances

Are meals included?

Breakfast is included in all of our accommodations.  During the professional development portion (first five days), lunch and dinner will also be provided.  The rest of the program, lunch and dinner will be on your own.

How much spending money should I budget for the trip?

Click here for a budgeting worksheet.  You should have a realistic conversation with your parents in the application process to discuss spending habits and budgeting while you are abroad.  While spending can vary widely, LeadAbroad recommends $40/day as a baseline budget for meals and incidentals.

Should I bring U.S. cash? Debit cards? Credit cards?

LeadAbroad strongly recommends you bring two ways to access money: a debit card for ATM withdrawals and a credit card as a backup.  We do not recommend exchanging U.S. dollars for local currency as it is very difficult to find a place to exchange and the exchange rate is typically better when you withdraw from an ATM.  You should plan on getting cash out an ATM once you arrive.

Health & Safety

Is travel insurance included? What about health insurance?

LeadAbroad does not offer a travel insurance plan.  All students will be covered under LeadAbroad’s health insurance for the duration of the program.  Details can be found in the Health & Insurance section below.

Do I need shots before visiting Costa Rica?

Review CDC guidelines for travelers to Costa Rica here: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/costa-rica

No specific shots are required; however, LeadAbroad recommends visiting your family doctor before departure to ensure you are up to date on routine vaccines including Hepatitis A and MMR.

Can I bring my prescription medication to Costa Rica?

If you pack prescription medication, be sure it is in the original prescription bottle. We also recommend researching the medication to better understand any restrictions in Costa Rica. Your doctor will be a great resource in finding this information.

Pharmacies in Costa Rica will not accept foreign prescriptions. If you anticipate needing a prescription refill while abroad, speak with your doctor about getting enough medication for the duration of your trip. Alternatively, our staff can assist with a local doctor’s visit to receive a local prescription.

Other FAQs

Do I need a visa to enter Costa Rica?

U.S. citizens are not required to obtain a visa to visit Costa Rica if you stay for 90 days or less.  When entering Costa Rica, you will be considered a tourist and not a student since you are not enrolling in a foreign university.

If you are NOT a U.S. citizen, be sure to research entry requirements based on the country that issued your passport.  You may be required to obtain a visa.

For more information on visa and passport requirements, review the passports section below!

Can I use my cell phone abroad?

Yes!  We strongly recommend you contact your carrier to understand how international data works on your plan.  These plans tend to be expensive.  As an alternative, many students choose to buy a local SIM card upon arrival.  Your phone must be unlocked to use an international SIM card.  Contact your carrier to determine if your phone is unlocked.

When will I know my roommate assignment? Can I request a roommate change?

We can change roommates up to 30 days before departure.  Roommate requests are entered on the roommate form linked in your portal.  If you’ve already completed this form and would like to change your request, please email info@LeadAbroad.com.

Final roommates will be released 30 days before departure.  No changes can be made after this time.

Can I receive packages/mail while abroad?

General mail can be received at the dorm while you’re abroad; however, we strongly discourage the mailing of valuable packages (cameras, cell phones, medication, etc) to students while abroad. You will have to pay taxes on the item in order for it to clear customs, and it often takes many days for the process to be completed which delays delivery. Depending on what is being sent, the taxes may be very high (sometimes more than the value of the item itself).

What is the best way for friends/family to contact me while abroad?

Check out the Communication Abroad section below for details.  WiFi is also accessible in our dorms.

If there is an emergency in the U.S. and your family needs to contact LeadAbroad, please have them call our emergency response line at 404.720.5657 and dial extension 710.

This tab features a running series of announcements from the LeadAbroad team as you prepare for an incredible summer!  You can expect an update about once a month.  As we get closer to departure, updates will become more frequent.

 

November Newsletter – November 5, 2018


December Newsletter – December 3, 2018


January Newsletter – January 7, 2019


February Newsletter – February 4, 2019


60 Days to Departure Newsletter


45 Days to Departure Newsletter


30 Days to Departure Newsletter


10 Days to Departure Newsletter


1 Day to Departure Newsletter

There are lots of ways to connect with our team and fellow students to start your #LeadAbroadLife adventure:

  • Join our online groups (for students only) to meet other travelers and your program leaders!  We will also post important reminders and announcements in the groups:
  • Follow us on Instagram and search the 5,000+ #LeadAbroadLife and @LeadAbroad tags
  • Like us on Facebook and watch out for your program’s photo album this summer
  • Send us an email at info@LeadAbroad.com

Get Ready to Take Off

To make a payment online, click the “My Account” button at the top of this page.

The PRO Costa Rica program fee is $3,300.  Please refer to your customer portal for your custom due dates based on when you were accepted to the program.  Further information on all payment policies can be found on our policy page.

Credit cards (Visa, MasterCard and Discover) are accepted for payment online; however, we do not accept American Express. Please remember that a 4% processing fee will be added to all credit card payments. Payment by eCheck is also accepted. eCheck payments do not have a processing fee. Paper checks will not be accepted.

This section is for SESSION 1 dates ONLY

The LeadAbroad team will support you every step of the way when planning your flights!  Please review the sections below as well as the flights FAQ section above for information on the official group flight and tips for booking flights independently.

Important dates for PRO Costa Rica Session 1:

  • Sunday, May 19: All students depart the U.S. for San Jose (SJO)
  • Thursday, May 30: All students depart San Jose (SJO) and fly back to U.S.

The optional* LeadAbroad group flight itinerary is as follows:

Depart: May 19, 2019

  • Depart ATL at 9:59am on Delta #900 / Arrive in SJO at 12:04pm

Return: May 30, 2019

  • Depart SJO at 1:20pm on Delta #903 / Arrive in ATL at 7:24pm

*Note this flight is not included in program fees.  For more details on booking this itinerary through LeadAbroad, click “Register for LeadAbroad’s official group flight” below!

Register for LeadAbroad's official group flight (SESSION 1)

Session 1 group flight cost: $900
Early reservation deadline: December 31, 2018**
*To submit payment, navigate to the payments section of your LeadAbroad portal
**Please note: seats are limited and first come, first serve

To reserve your seat on the PRO Costa Rica Session 1 group booking:

  1. Submit payment in your LeadAbroad portal
  2. Book a roundtrip ticket between ATL and your hometown.
    • We strongly recommend you book this ticket with Delta. This will allow you check-in for your first flight at your hometown airport and check your bags all the way to San Jose.  If you do not book with Delta, you must pick up your bags in ATL, check in with Delta and re-check your bags to San Jose.
    • Recommended arrival time into ATL before the group flight: 7:30am on May 19
    • Recommended departure time leaving ATL after the group flight: 9:30pm on May 30
    • If you live nearby or will already be in ATL on departure day and plan to drive to the airport, we strongly recommend arriving no later than 7:30am.  Three hours before departure will give you plenty of time to check-in, go through security and get settled at the gate.
  3. When you have completed steps 1-2 and all flights are purchased, fill out the flight form in your portal.

Important group flight notes:

  • Group flight tickets are non-refundable.
  • The group flight itinerary cannot be altered in any way.  All passengers must fly on the designated dates and between the designated cities.
  • Individual tickets will be emailed to students about one month before departure.
  • LeadAbroad cannot book one-way group flight tickets.
  • LeadAbroad staff will not be on this flight as they will already be abroad preparing for your arrival!  We will nominate a student flight leader to take attendance at the departure gate.
  • We cannot accommodate seat requests before ticketing.  Once you receive your ticket, usually you can log in to the airline’s website to pick a seat.  You can also change your seat when checking in with the airline agent.

Book your own itinerary (SESSION 1)

We strongly recommend flying on the same itinerary as the group if you choose to book independently.  Please review the section above for the official group flight departing ATL.

If you book your own flights, please note the following:

ARRIVAL

  • Book a flight that has you arriving before 12:04pm in San Jose on May 19.  This will ensure that you get on the group transfer to the hotel.
  • Try to book a flight with no more than one layover. Multiple layovers create a higher probability for lost luggage and missed flights. 

DEPARTURE

  • Book a flight departing San Jose at 1:00pm or later on May 30.  This will ensure you can take the group shuttle to the airport at the end of the program.  If you book an earlier flight, you will have to book and pay for your own transportation.
  • If your flight is more than three hours after the group flight departure and you plan to take your own transportation to the airport after the group shuttle leaves, please be sure to notify your program staff.  Otherwise the bus will be waiting for you.

Airport greeting and group shuttles (SESSION 1)

Students arriving before May 19th are responsible for securing and paying for their own airport transportation and accommodation until the official program start date.  Students arriving after May 19th are responsible for their own transportation to the accommodations.

  • Greeting students at the airport: All students arriving on May 19th between 11:00-12:00pm will be greeted at the airport.
  • Group shuttle: Estimated shuttle departure time is one hour after the group flight lands, or 1:00pm on May 19th
    • If you arrive on the official group flight or before 12:04pm, we will include you in the group transfer.
    • If you are scheduled to arrive after the group lands, you are responsible for your transportation cost.  LeadAbroad will assist you in arranging this transportation.
  • Departure after the program:
    • For students with flights departing San Jose at 1:20pm or later, a group shuttle will be arranged.  If your flight departs earlier than 1:00pm, you will need to book and pay for your own transportation.
    • If your flight is more than three hours after the group flight departure and you plan to take your own transportation to the airport after the group shuttle leaves, please be sure to notify your program staff.  Otherwise the bus will be waiting for you.

This section is for SESSION 2 dates ONLY

The LeadAbroad team will support you every step of the way when planning your flights!  Please review the sections below as well as the flights FAQ section above for information on the official group flight and tips for booking flights independently.

Important dates for PRO Costa Rica Session 2:

  • Sunday, June 2: All students depart the U.S. for San Jose (SJO)
  • Thursday, June 13: All students depart San Jose (SJO) and fly back to U.S.

The optional* LeadAbroad group flight itinerary is as follows:

Depart: June 2, 2019

  • Depart ATL at 9:59am on Delta #900 / Arrive in SJO at 12:04pm

Return: June 13, 2019

  • Depart SJO at 1:05pm on Delta #903 / Arrive in ATL at 7:20pm

*Note this flight is not included in program fees.  For more details on booking this itinerary through LeadAbroad, click “Register for LeadAbroad’s official group flight” below!

Register for LeadAbroad's official group flight (SESSION 2)

Session 2 group flight cost: $900
Early reservation deadline: December 31, 2018**
*To submit payment, navigate to the payments section of your LeadAbroad portal
**Please note: seats are limited and first come, first serve

To reserve your seat on the PRO Costa Rica Session 2 group booking:

  1. Submit payment in your LeadAbroad portal
  2. Book a roundtrip ticket between ATL and your hometown.
    • We strongly recommend you book this ticket with Delta. This will allow you check-in for your first flight at your hometown airport and check your bags all the way to San Jose.  If you do not book with Delta, you must pick up your bags in ATL, check in with Delta and re-check your bags to San Jose.
    • Recommended arrival time into ATL before the group flight: 7:30am on June 2
    • Recommended departure time leaving ATL after the group flight: 9:30pm on June 13
    • If you live nearby or will already be in ATL on departure day and plan to drive to the airport, we strongly recommend arriving no later than 7:30am.  Three hours before departure will give you plenty of time to check-in, go through security and get settled at the gate.
  3. When you have completed steps 1-2 and all flights are purchased, fill out the flight form in your portal.

Important group flight notes:

  • Group flight tickets are non-refundable.
  • The group flight itinerary cannot be altered in any way.  All passengers must fly on the designated dates and between the designated cities.
  • Individual tickets will be emailed to students about one month before departure.
  • LeadAbroad cannot book one-way group flight tickets.
  • LeadAbroad staff will not be on this flight as they will already be abroad preparing for your arrival!  We will nominate a student flight leader to take attendance at the departure gate.
  • We cannot accommodate seat requests before ticketing.  Once you receive your ticket, usually you can log in to the airline’s website to pick a seat.  You can also change your seat when checking in with the airline agent.

Book your own itinerary (SESSION 2)

We strongly recommend flying on the same itinerary as the group if you choose to book independently.  Please review the section above for the official group flight departing ATL.

If you book your own flights, please note the following:

ARRIVAL

  • Book a flight that has you arriving before 12:04pm in San Jose on June 2.  This will ensure that you get on the group transfer to the hotel.
  • Try to book a flight with no more than one layover. Multiple layovers create a higher probability for lost luggage and missed flights. 

DEPARTURE

  • Book a flight departing San Jose at 1:00pm or later on June 13.  This will ensure you can take the group shuttle to the airport at the end of the program.  If you book an earlier flight, you will have to book and pay for your own transportation.
  • If your flight is more than three hours after the group flight departure and you plan to take your own transportation to the airport after the group shuttle leaves, please be sure to notify your program staff.  Otherwise the bus will be waiting for you.

Airport greeting and group shuttles (SESSION 2)

Students arriving before June 2nd are responsible for securing and paying for their own airport transportation and accommodation until the official program start date.  Students arriving after June 2nd are responsible for their own transportation to the accommodations.

  • Greeting students at the airport: All students arriving on June 2nd between 11:00am-12:00pm will be greeted at the airport.
  • Group shuttle: Estimated shuttle departure time is one hour after the group flight lands, or 1:00pm on June 2nd.
    • If you arrive on the official group flight or before 1:00pm, we will include you in the group transfer.
    • If you are scheduled to arrive after the group lands, you are responsible for your transportation cost.  LeadAbroad will assist you in arranging this transportation.
  • Departure after the program:
    • For students with flights departing San Jose at 1:00pm or later, a group shuttle will be arranged.  If your flight departs earlier than 1:00pm, you will need to book and pay for your own transportation.
    • If your flight is more than three hours after the group flight departure and you plan to take your own transportation to the airport after the group shuttle leaves, please be sure to notify your program staff.  Otherwise the bus will be waiting for you.

In order to arrive in country rested and ready to go, consider the following tips to make your flight experience as enjoyable as possible:

  • Print ALL of your flight itineraries for the trip and have them easily accessible.
  • Do not start your trip stressed. GET TO THE AIRPORT EARLY. For most international flights, we recommend that you arrive at the airport at least three hours prior to departure.
  • Weigh your bags before you leave home. Check baggage size and weight restrictions for ALL AIRLINES you might be flying during the program.  Smaller budget airlines abroad usually have stricter baggage policies than the larger U.S.-based carriers.
  • Pack the following items in your carry-on.  If your checked baggage takes an adventure of its own, having these items with you will create less stress and allow for a more comfortable plane ride:
    • Two days worth of clothes
    • Medications/contacts
    • Laptop, cell phone, chargers, other electronics
    • Water bottle/Nalgene
    • Headphones/earbuds
    • Blindfold and ear plugs if you are sensitive to light/sound when trying to sleep on planes
    • Journal/books/Kindle/magazines
    • Program director’s phone number
    • Dorm address
  • Be comfortable on the plane. Dress in layers so that you can easily adapt to the temperature.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluid while in the air. It is easy to become dehydrated when flying.
  • Know where your passport is at all times. When checking in at the airport, you will have to get your passport in and out of your bag several times; at each stop, be sure to take a moment for a passport check.
  • Reset your watch. As soon as you board the plane, reset your watch to the local time and try to get on a sleeping pattern that is consistent with your destination. Most students traveling will be on an overnight flight and you will be very grateful if you sleep. Also, remember that if you have to take medications at a certain time during the day or at the same time everyday you might need to adapt this prior to departure.
  • Make special meal requests if necessary. If you have any special requests, be sure to contact the airline at least 72 hours prior to departure.
  • Make sure you have a pen for any immigration forms.  Flight attendants usually distribute arrival forms shortly after take-off.  On these forms, note that you are a tourist, not a student.

To apply for a U.S. passport, click here.  If you are not a U.S. citizen, be sure to thoroughly research passport and visa requirements for citizens of your home country.

If you already have a U.S. passport, check to confirm the following:

  • the expiration date is 2020 or beyond
  • the passport has at least one blank page
  • Your name is spelled correctly

If your passport does not have all requirements above, you must renew your passport before traveling abroad.

All students are required to submit passport information via the passport form in the LeadAbroad portal 60 days before departure.  Please do not submit a passport that is expired or in the process of being renewed.  When your new passport arrives, you can then submit your form.

For more information on documents for travel, visit the Department of State passport website or their Students Abroad section.

All participants are REQUIRED to review the following orientation videos:

  • Acceptance Orientation video
    • Please submit the acceptance orientation form in your portal within 30 days of your LeadAbroad acceptance
    • For a slides-only version, click here!
  • Pre-Departure Orientation (Part 1): General Orientation for All Programs – Available in December 2018
    • due 60 days before departure
  • Pre-Departure Orientation (Part 2): Program-Specific Orientation – Available in February 2019
    • due 30 days before departure

All orientation videos are also linked in your LeadAbroad portal under the “Preparing to Go Abroad” section.  The associated forms must be submitted after you complete each orientation.

To ensure we have the tools to support you before and during the program, we have several short forms that must be completed 60 days before departure.  Please access your customer portal for all required forms and due dates.

Click here for the packing list!

Suggested Donations for Costa Rica
Most Wanted (in order of need)
  1. Allergy Medications for Children and Adults: (Cetirizine (Zyrtec), loratadine (Claritin), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), Fexofenadine (Allegra))
  2. Anti-fungal creams: Clotrimazole, Terbinafine, Tolnaftate, Ketoconazole
  3. Hyrdocortisone 1% cream
  4. Acetaminophen for Children (suspension, chewable, droppers)
  5. Naproxen (Aleve 200mg)
Other Needed Donations
  • Cough syrup for Adults and Children (Dextromethorphan, Guafenesin, Ambroxol)
  • Gastic: Antacids (Tums), Ranitidine (Zantac)
  • Children’s and Adult Multivitamins
  • Antibiotics for Adults and Children: Azythromycin, Amoxicillin, Ciprofloxacin
  • Vaginal Infection Treatments (Monistat, Myconazole, Nistatin (Nistat), Metronidazole (Flagystatin))
  • Strips for Glucometer Brand: FreeStyle Optium ONLY

Here is a formal letter for soliciting donations. Feel free to download, print and distribute it when seeking donations on behalf of ISL.

Below are the directions for bringing donations safely into Costa Rica.

1. Please print out two copies of the Customs Letter on the next page.

2. Keep one copy of the letter in your suitcase on top of your donations (place your donations in the bottom of your main suitcase under your clothing), and keep the other copy of the letter with your passport and ticket, in case you are asked about your donations.

3. To avoid unnecessary delays when going through customs, do not offer the Customs Letter to an official unless they go through your bags and request an explanation. (If you offer the letter to them, you will eventually be cleared, but they will be obligated to check every piece of your luggage and possibly that of other team members as well.)

Here is a letter for customs when you arrive in Costa Rica if you are bringing donations.

Applications are posted in your portal under Optional Forms.  DUE DATE: April 1!

What are program leaders?
On the LeadAbroad team, the program staff are the coaches and program leaders are the team captains – they set the tone and encourage other students by creating a strong sense of community through service projects, social outings, group chats and creative stories. They are the peer leaders who step up when needed and make other students feel included. Whether you’re joining us on GO, LEAD, DIRECT or PRO, our program leaders will help make your experience abroad impactful and lasting.

Why should I apply?
Like most things in life, you get out of the program what you put in. As a program leader, you will be empowered to be a leader on the program from day one. You will get to know other students faster, receive additional leadership coaching from our program staff and make your study abroad experience stand out on your resume.

In addition, about 3 days into the program students will start asking us, “How do I get to work with you?” Being a program leader is the first step in the door. The normal trajectory for our staff is the following: Program Leader > On Campus Community Leader > Summer Intern > Full Time Staff

What would I do during the program?
We have four types of program leaders on PRO, so there are multiple ways to plug in on the ground.

Orientation Leader (apply online): Are you the first one on the dance floor at a party, love meeting new people and aren’t afraid to be a trendsetter? Consider applying to be an OL on the program. These students will help assist with our on the ground orientation, breaking the ice those first few days and helping the students on the program get to know each other.

Service Leader (apply during orientation): Are you involved with a large philanthropy on campus or wanting to get involved with one next year? Boost your resume and give back on your program by registering as a Service Leader during our on the ground orientation.  Service Leaders assist with our program’s service project and identifying fun ways to serve the other program participants and locals. This is a great way to get plugged in, meet new people and give back to the local community and your peers.

Social Chair (apply during orientation): Do you love getting your friends together? Wouldn’t miss a festival, concert or restaurant opening? You should be a social chair on our program. Not only is this a great way to meet people on the program, but also is awesome for your resume if you are considering applying for an events position on campus.

International Brand Ambassador (apply online): We are looking for talented students to share the story of their study abroad experience! Want to build your resume? Love taking pics? Writing is your thing? Great at videos? Then apply to join our International Brand Ambassador team. You will get to capture the experience and earn $$$$ for doing what you love!

Does being a program leader take a lot of time?
Being a program leader doesn’t take a ton of extra time; however, we will have weekly meetings with staff to chat about what is happening on the program and additional ways to create fun experiences for the students. Each type of leader will have a staff member coach them in their role throughout the program. Former leaders have said that team meetings are one of the best parts of the role.

What would I do after the trip?
Studying abroad is just the beginning. As a program leader, you have a head start in the selection process for on-campus community leaders next fall. On-campus community leaders will share their experience on their campus and encourage other students to take the first step toward their own study abroad journey.

Ready to dive into this leadership role?  Apply in your portal before the deadline!

In-Country Details

Coming soon!

Program staff will be announced in January!

Check out our accommodations below!  On your luggage tags, be sure to write the FIRST address of where we are staying in Costa Rica.

La Dehesa Inn
San Joaquín de Flores, Heredia

Hotel Samara Beach
Main Street, Via Arriba
Guanacaste Province, Sámara, Costa Rica
Phone: +506 2656 0218

Hotel Las Colinas
150 mts sur del BNCR
Provincia de Alajuela, La Fortuna, Alajuela, 21006, Costa Rica

Click here for roommate assignments

To request a roommate, please submit the roommate form in your online portal.  Roommate forms are due 60 days before departure.  Final housing assignments will be posted about one month before departure.  Once roommates are posted, we cannot make any changes.  If you’ve already submitted your roommate form but wish to make a change to your request, please email info@LeadAbroad.com no later than 60 days before departure.

Full itineraries for summer 2019 will be available in January!

For a sample itinerary on the global health track, click here.

There are many ways to stay in touch while traveling abroad. Wireless internet is available throughout our hotels.  Please note that internet speeds can fluctuate depending on traffic. Internet can be slow and unpredictable, especially when all students are trying to upload pictures or watch videos at the same time. We ask all students and parents to be patient with the internet. Students will have more success using the internet if they use it at off-peak times.

LeadAbroad strongly encourages students to have cell phones while abroad for risk management purposes. Students can:

  • Bring an unlocked phone and buy a local SIM card upon arrival
  • Add an international package to current phone plan
  • Rent/buy a local cell phone

With Wi-Fi readily available in most locations, you are encouraged to utilize internet texting apps (iMessage for iPhone to iPhone, Groupme, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts) to communicate with program staff and family and friends at home.

In addition, we integrate technology into our communications and risk management strategy to keep students safe. Therefore, we require students to download the following applications on their phone prior to departure:

  • Groupme
  • Find my Friends
  • State Department
  • Facebook

If there is an emergency at home while you are abroad, our team will support you and your family in every way possible.  Should any friends and/or family need to contact LeadAbroad, please have them call our U.S.-based domestic team at 404.720.5657.  For emergencies, dial extension 710 when prompted.  Our on-call team will assist with the situation and get in touch with your program staff as needed.

Click here for a budget planning worksheet.

This worksheet will allow you to understand costs outside of the program fees and airfare.  Review this section in detail and email us at info@LeadAbroad.com with any further budgeting questions.

Before you leave, call your bank and credit card company to notify them that you will be traveling abroad. Give them the dates and countries of your itinerary, including any layovers. Debit and credit cards can been blocked after transactions abroad because your bank may assume it is a fraudulent transaction. 

To access funds, debit cards are the best way to access cash overseas. ATM machines are widely available everywhere we travel. Debit cards with Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus or Plus signs are the most widely accepted. There may be a transaction fee for using ATMs abroad; therefore, it’s important to understand the fees associated with using your cards overseas. Keep a record of your debit card and pin numbers with someone at home.

Credit cards can be used similarly to debit cards at restaurants and shops abroad. Most major credit cards are honored abroad (i.e. MasterCard and Visa). Similarly to debit cards, credit card companies use the current exchange rate for your transaction. Call your credit card company to understand the fees charged per transaction.

Costa Rica also widely accepts USD as a currency. We recommend that students bring some cash (in bills less than 20s) with them to Costa Rica. Note that having large sums of cash can make students unnecessary targets, so a few hundred dollars is plenty. Students can use their debit card to get additional cash. We recommend that students do not bring traveler’s checks. Most businesses will not accept them.

The program fees cover most of the costs of being in country, but you will need to provide additional funds for:

  • Meals: breakfast and lunch are included during the service portion of the program (first six days). A final program dinner is also included.  All other meals will be the student’s responsibility.
  • Incidentals: Internet, phone calls, transportation to non-program events
  • Free time: Independent evenings and additional adventure outings
  • Gifts and souvenirs

Budgeting can be a challenging and personal process. On average, if you eat all the group meals, eat something casual for lunch, go out for dinner, drink mostly water and keep additional activities to a minimum; you will spend between $20 and $30 per day.  Know yourself and your budget plan to avoid any surprises. Here are some sample local costs to help you plan:

Meals: Costs for dining out are less expensive to those in the US; typically, prices for dinner range from $8-$15. Most people spend about $10-20 per day on food. Costa Rica has a range of restaurants from five-star dining to casual chain restaurants. Food is part of the Costa Rican culture and should be enjoyed, but having causal nights out can help students stay on budget.

Internet/Cell Phone: Students are encouraged to bring their phone with them from home so they can reach the Program Director in an emergency. In addition, students will have access to wifi at the hotels and in local restaurants and cafes.

Taxis: Students will be in towns that are walkable and will not need taxis to go to dinner.

Laundry: Students can pay to have their laundry done in Arenal.

Other Activities: As we get close to departure, we will post optional activities below

To charge your electronics abroad, you will not need an outlet adaptor since the outlets are the same as the U.S.

We encourage students to be mindful of their electronics while traveling. It is wise to conceal electronic devices when walking around as iPhones and laptops can be attractive for theft.

LeadAbroad strongly encourages students to be mindful of their health prior to departure and while abroad.  Living in a new environment, eating different cuisine and adjusting to a new schedule can impact one’s immune system.  Before you travel overseas, students should examine the factors that contribute to their physical and emotional wellbeing so that they can stay healthy and get the most out of their trip.

    1. Read and understand the CDC recommendations for your upcoming travel. The CDC website includes information on vaccines, medicines, packing lists as well as information to prepare students to stay healthy and safe.
    2. Make an appointment with your university’s travel clinic, dentist and other medical professionals. Students can proactively eliminate many potential health issues by ensuring they are in good health prior to departure. Additionally, during these visits, make sure your health records and prescriptions (including eyeglasses) are up-to-date. If you are taking a prescription medication, please ensure that you have enough for the whole program and that the medication is in the original container. If you self-inject prescribed medication, please carry needles and syringes with you. It’s important to understand that LeadAbroad will not distribute any form of prescription or nonprescription medication to students. We recommend every student travel with a medical kit.
    3. Be honest with yourself regarding your emotional health. Students that are concerned about their emotional stability or use of alcohol/drugs should address it honestly before making plans to travel. Contrary to many people’s expectations, travel does not minimize these problems; in fact, it can often exacerbate them.
    4. Contact us directly at info@LeadAbroad.com with any specific medical issues we should be aware of at least three months prior to departure.  Our team is better equipped to support you abroad if we know your health history and emotional health. Please share this information with us prior to departure.

Click here to view LeadAbroad’s health insurance policy.

Basic medical insurance is included in all students’ program fee. Please review the policy to become knowledgeable regarding the types of medical conditions and situations that are covered while you are participating on a LeadAbroad program.  If you are injured or ill while you are abroad and need medical attention, you will likely need to pay for the treatment upfront, and if covered the money will be reimbursed by LeadAbroad’s insurer after submitting your claims form.  If for any reason you need to seek medical assistance while abroad, a LeadAbroad staff member will accompany you to the doctor. Please contact us first if you have any sort of emergency.

It’s important to note that this medical insurance is not ‘travel insurance’ and therefore does not cover the cost lost or stolen luggage or cancellation of the trip. Students may purchase travel insurance independently through an outside provider. For more information on the different types of travel insurance you can click here.

LeadAbroad’s Emergency Response Protocol provides a system for coordinating the management of emergency services for all participants in our study abroad programs. In-country staff are the first point of contact for students on the program in the event of an emergency and assume leadership of the emergency situation until other resources (e.g., local police, etc) are available. However, in the event that the staff are unavailable, the following guidelines are provided here in case you, as a participant in the program, need to handle an emergency.

  1. Ensure safety: Your first priority is to safeguard the safety and well-being of yourself and other program participants. Do whatever is reasonably necessary to ensure safety.
  2. Seek medical care: Obtain any emergency medical care for affected participants as soon as possible.
  3. Control emotions: Remain as calm as possible. Do your best to diffuse any growing anxieties that may be occurring among participants.
  4. Communicate (as applicable). Depending on the nature of the emergency, it may be necessary to contact medical or emergency services, police or local law enforcement or the US embassy.
  5. Ongoing support: Continue to monitor, aid, and communicate status updates as the situation progresses.
  6. Debrief: Meet with LeadAbroad staff to discuss the situation, how it was handled and steps that were taken to resolve the emergency.

Reducing Risk Abroad

LeadAbroad takes many steps to reduce risk abroad.  You will be registered with the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. The benefits of STEP include the following:

  • Receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans.
  • Help the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest or family emergency.
  • Help family and friends get in touch with you in an emergency.

You will be given a keychain with emergency contact numbers and the address of our accommodations.

Please review the following resources to ensure that you are informed on how to have a safe and healthy trip abroad:

CDC recommendations on preparing for a healthy trip
State Department travel recommendations for student travelers
State Department recommendations for women travelers

All students are required to be familiar with all program rules.  Please click here to review on our policies page.