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Courses for Spanish Language Educators in Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Ideal for secondary education and community college Spanish language teachers, graduate students and advanced undergraduate Spanish education majors.

  • Expand and practice the Spanish language with local language speakers in the small coastal town of Puntarenas
  • Take intensive courses in Spanish Language and Literature Studies, Teaching Methods and/or Ecological and Latin American Studies
  • Participate in focused group sessions with USAC's Spanish Language Coordinator, Dr. Asunción Martínez Arbelaiz
  • Earn three to four U.S. credits in three weeks
  • Study abroad affordably and conveniently: $3,380 session fee includes homestay (single room); three meals per day; and fields trips

What are the Benefits of Studying Spanish Language Teaching Pedagogy Abroad?

Playing soccer with local kids on the beach

The 2020 Summer II Session, spanning from July 10 to August 1, is ideal for students and educators who are committed to perfecting their Spanish language skills and want to include the diverse cultures of Latin America in their teaching repertoire.

Applications are due May 1, 2020

*Teachers/professors may fulfill USAC admissions requirements with a letter of reference from their current principal or department chair.


  • Deepen your foundational language skills; oral proficiency; update your teaching methodologies; and develop professionally by expanding your intercultural knowledge and experience.
  • Choose studies from three diverse academic areas: Spanish Language, Ecological Studies, and Latin American Studies. Courses of interest to Spanish language educators include advance Spanish; Spanish phonetics and phonology; foreign language teaching methodology; Contemporary Central American Narrative; Latin America and its Cultures; and Latin American Cuisine.
  • University-level credit is possible through the following USAC universities: the University of Nevada, Reno; the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; or the University of Idaho.
  • Participate in formal and informal activities including cultural events, village festivals, and field trips to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and Tortuga Island.

Apply Now

Courses for Spanish Language Educators

See Full List of Courses and Descriptions

*Course availability is contingent upon student interest and enrollment and is subject to change.

Advanced Spanish I (Spanish; 400-level, 3 credits)

Prerequisite: Three years of college Spanish

Develop confidence with the more difficult aspects of Spanish grammar; improve your control over different oral and written registers; and, enhance your vocabulary and improve your grammatical accuracy in oral and written production.

Advanced Spanish II (SPAN; 400-level, 3 credits)

Prerequisite: More than three years of college Spanish

If you have more than three years of Spanish but still need to improve your control over different oral and written registers, this course is for you. Advanced Spanish II will enhance the coherence and cohesion of your oral and written production and improve your grammatical accuracy.

Applied Linguistics - Foreign Language Teaching Methodology (SPAN; 400-level, 3 credits)

Prerequisite: Three years of college Spanish

Learn the methods and approaches of communicative language teaching focusing on classroom techniques and practices to address differing communicative abilities in Spanish. Gain techniques for listening comprehension; strategies to stimulate oral interaction in the classroom; methods to develop language learners' writing skills; and new ideas for the instruction of vocabulary and grammar.

Contemporary Central American Narrative (SPAN; 300-level, 3 credits)

Prerequisite: Two or more years of college Spanish

Explore the linguistic and cultural diversity of Central America and the complexity of its social and political realities through the analysis of recent novels and testimonial texts of the region. Readings include short novels and narratives by Rigoberta Menchú, Omar Cabezas, Rosario Aguilar, Maniol Argueta, Mario Roberto Morales, and Roberto Castillo.

Latin America and its Cultures (SPAN; 300-level, 1 credit)

Prerequisite: Two years of college-level Spanish

In this course, you will learn the history of the cultures of the Americas, from the pre-Columbian societies to our contemporary Nations. Gain new historical and cultural perspectives on Costa Rica and other Latin American countries, such as Argentina, Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Chile. Consider the role and influence of religion, material culture, family, gender, politics, the economy, and the environment upon contemporary society.

Spanish Conversation and Oral Skills (SPAN; 300-level, 1 credit)

Prerequisite: Two or more semesters of college Spanish

Develop your confidence and linguistic competency in expressing yourself and communicating orally in Spanish.

Spanish Phonetics and Phonology (SPAN; 400-level, 3 credits)

Prerequisite: More than three years of college Spanish

Explore how Spanish sounds are pronounced (articulatory phonetics) and the mental representation and organization of the sound system (phonology). Topics include the pronunciation of Spanish sounds (in comparison with English), the phonetic and phonological classification of vowels and consonants, phonetic and phonological transcription, and processes of sound change, among others. Variations will be considered across the Spanish-speaking world with attention to regional differences (dialects), other social differences (social class, ethnicity, gender, and age) and stylistic differences (variation as affected by situation or context of communication).

Field Trips

  • Overnight Field Trip - July 17-18: Monteverde Cloud Forest
  • Field TripJuly 19: Tortuga Island

View Field Trips

Professors and Language Coordinator

USAC Spanish Language Coordinator

There will be regular meetings outside of the class with USAC's Spanish Language Coordinator for students to meet, review material, and reflect on the session. These will be non-credit bearing and intended for extra support, guidance and practice.

About Dr. Asunción Martínez Arbelaiz:

USAC employs a Spanish Language Coordinator who oversees the design and implementation of the Spanish language curriculum at all USAC programs sites. Dr. Asunción Martínez Arbelaiz (Ph.D., Linguistics, Cornell University) has been the USAC Spanish Language Coordinator since 2001. Dr. Martínez actively contributes to the field of language acquisition and language pedagogy through publications and participation in professional conferences. Her primary role is to maintain the quality and consistency of the Spanish language curriculum between program sites and ensure that it complies with U.S. standards. Dr. Martínez also conducts trainings with USAC language faculty on best practices in teaching foreign languages.


Adriana Castro Mora and Melissa Gamboa

The advanced Spanish language and teaching methodology courses will be taught by Adriana Castro Mora and Melissa Gamboa, both who have master's degrees in the teaching of Spanish Language and Literature. Professors Castro and Gamboa have more than 30 years' combined experience teaching Spanish language to U.S. students in Costa Rica. They have both taught for USAC for more than 10 years, and have experience studying and teaching in the U.S.

Quick Details

2020-21 App. Cycle

Spring: Suspended

2021-22 App. Cycle

Summer Session I (5 weeks): Open

Summer Session II (3 weeks): Open

Summer Session I&II (8 weeks): Open

Fall/Yearlong: Open

January session: Open

Spring: Open


Minimum GPA: 2.5

Program Type



US Credit

Program Capacity

65 students


English | Spanish

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