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San Jose, Costa Rica


Program Overview

Our San Jose Internships are the perfect opportunity for students to have an immersive international experience while continuing to train for their sport. Students in this program intern for four or five days a week, complete a weekly service project under the supervision of our full-time staff, and adventure on weekend excursions to some of Costa Rica’s most popular destinations!

2021 Dates - Coming Soon!

San Jose Internship is open to ALL majors!

Internships Available
  • Education

  • Social Work

  • Athletic Training/Physical Therapy

  • Healthcare

  • Nutrition

  • Intern with one of our local partner organizations and earn academic credit

  • Live in the heart of the city with a Costa Rican host family and learn about the Tico culture

  • Travel to the beautiful beaches, rainforests, and volcanoes of Costa Rica

  • Make a lasting impact on the local community through your internship and community service work

  • Train with other athletes from all over the United States

  • Coach your sport to disadvantaged youth at SAA’s community sports clinics

Program Description

Students choose from a variety of internships offered in San Jose depending on their interests and academic focus. Local staff will assist with the placement process and will be available on site for support throughout the program. Students wishing to complete the internship for academic credit may do so as well. In addition to interning four days a week, students will participate in weekly service-learning projects, have dedicated time for workouts and training, and travel to some of Costa Rica’s most attractive destinations.


Over the past nine years, we have established an amazing network of host families. Following enrollment, students will complete a homestay questionnaire so our local staff can learn more about their preferences. All homestays include a private bedroom with a bed, linens, closet, nightstand, private or shared bathroom and laundry once per week.

Athletics Abroad
You will be provided access to a centrally located gym, so can maintain your training with 4-5x workouts per week. There will also be opportunities to play your sport abroad, and train with other U.S. athletes.


The first two weekends include pre-planned excursions lead by the SAA staff. One weekend you will visit the spectacular beaches of the Pacific Coast and explore Manuel Antonio National Park, known for its array of Costa Rican wildlife! The second excursion is a trip to the town of La Fortuna where you’ll zipline through the rainforest, hike Volcano Arenal, and soak tired muscles in the world's largest naturally heated hot springs! Any remaining weekends of your program are free for independent travel.

SJ Intership Top
Internship Descriptions

These are some of our selected internships to give you an idea of what’s available in San Jose. We are also able to work with students interested in a custom internship. Contact us for more information!​

Education: Interns will work directly with local teachers through a number of different roles including teaching English, helping students with homework, providing individual tutoring, and assisting with recreational activities. (only available during June internship)

La Casa De Los Ninos is an inspirational organization that serves an impoverished neighborhood in the San Jose hills.The organization provides after school programs and extracurricular activities, psychological support, and a meal program for children in need.

Social Work/Community Services: Interns work with a network of organizations dedicated to providing social services within distinct sectors of Costa Rican society. Social work internships focus on caring for children in underprivileged and high risk social communities.

Escuelas Deportivas is an organization for Special Needs Athletes located in Sabana, San Jose. This program provides hundreds of athletes the opportunity to train and compete to their greatest potential.

Healthcare: Interns will work with a network of local non-profit clinics in underserved communities as well as in local public hospitals alongside staff to learn about the healthcare system of Costa Rica.

FIMRC is a non-profit organization located in Alajuelita. They are dedicated to improving the health of families in the developing world through the implementation of innovative and self-sustainable health improvement programs. They assert a multidimensional strategy that includes clinical services, extensive community outreach efforts, and health
education programs.

Physical Therapy: Interns will shadow doctors and therapists in a clinical setting, observing their techniques and procedures and learning treatments such as electrical stimulation, MEP, ultrasound, Mulligan's technique, orthopedic manual therapy (OMT), and micro electrolysis percutaneous (EMP). 

Santa Paula Clinic is one the best and oldest private universities for physical therapy and other types of therapies in Costa Rica, including respiratory therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. 

Admissions Process
  • Submit completed Online Application Form

  • Interview with SAA staff member

  • Approval from university if from a non-affiliate partner school

  • Submit Supplemental item(s): Current resume

Upon admission to the program, you will connect with our site director for more information about the internship placement process.

Scholarships: We offer partial scholarships based on merit and financial need. Learn more by connecting with someone from our team at  

Cost & Inclusions

Program Cost: $2,995


  • Homestay with local family

  • Breakfast and dinner daily

  • Two Weekend Adventure Excursions: Manuel Antonio and Volcano Arenal including national park entrance, ziplining, and hot springs

  • Strength and conditioning workouts

  • Membership at local gym in San Jose

  • All service-learning activities

  • International Health Insurance through GeoBlue

  • SAA Program T-Shirt

Not Included:

  • Roundtrip airfare to SJO

  • Passport/ associated fees if you do not already have one

  • Lunch (daily)

  • Snacks, souvenirs, optional entertainment expenses

Student Testimonials

One of the highlights from my trip was the relationship that I formed with my host mom. Her name is Camila and she is one of the most caring people that I’ve ever met.

Everyday I really looked forward to coming home and talking with Camila all about my day. Some nights we’d talk for another hour after we were finished eating dinner.

I miss Camila a lot and we still stay in touch, sending pictures, voice messages and videos to each other. It always makes my day!

Brook Hansel, SAA Intern 2017

I was stressed with a significant language barrier and uncertain expectations of how the three weeks would unfold. However, within a three days, I connected with the Student-Athlete Abroad staff and other students. And as each day passed, I fell more in love with the Tico culture -- the inclusivity of the people, the freshness of the food, and the pura vida lifestyle. I grew to love the challenges each day brought. I opened myself up to a multitude of new experiences.

Annika Wachtman, SAA 2017

Any Questions?
Please Contact Us!

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