In light of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and its developing impact, we have made the decision to cancel the 2020 LASP Language and Culture Summer Institute. We know this news must come as a disappointment to you but felt it was necessary in order to best care for the wellbeing of all students, staff, host families, and friends of LASP.

The LASP Language and Culture Summer Institute is a program designed specifically for students with an interest in improving their Spanish while gaining an in depth understanding of Central America, and particularly Costa Rica, in a brief timeframe. Costa Rica is known for its lush rainforests, beautiful mountains, ecotourism, pristine beaches and adventure activities, such as ziplining and hiking. LASP uses this backdrop of beauty and adventure to deliver a highly-developed language and culture institute that allows you to experience first-hand Costa Rican realities and immerse yourself in the Spanish language on a daily basis.

Not only will you have opportunities to hear from some of the region’s most prominent scholars, environmentalists, theologians and politicians, but you will do so while traveling to some of the most interesting and beautiful areas within Costa Rica. Engage with environmental protectionism and ecotourism in the cloudforests of Monteverde; explore themes of race, social justice and indigenous rights in the tropical paradise of the Caribbean; participate in family life, connect with theologians, artists and politicians and explore the urban spaces of San Jose.

The program includes the following:

  • 4 weeks in Costa Rica: May 16 - June 13, 2020
  • 3 credits of Spanish Language tailored to your language level. Small classes with Costa Rican instructors
  • 3 credits of Latin America Perspectives. Study themes of religion, race, social justice, colonial history and politics within the Americas
  • Homestay for 3 weeks with a Costa Rican family in San Jose
  • Travel to Monteverde, the Caribbean coast and Cartago
  • Ecotourism activities, including ziplining, hiking, and exploring beaches


All LASP Summer Institute students take the following courses:

Spanish Language

3 credits 

Students come to Costa Rica with varying degrees of fluency in Spanish, so students are placed in the Spanish class that corresponds to each participant's level of oral proficiency based on a placement exam and interview given prior to arrival. Classes are small and are taught by Latin Americans. Communicative competence and cultural understanding are emphasized and learning is reinforced during everyday interaction with Spanish-speaking host families.

(Possible Credit: Spanish Language)

Low-Intermediate Spanish Sample Syllabus

Advanced Spanish Sample Syllabus

Perspectives on Latin American History and Contemporary Issues

3 credits 

This course exposes students to key topics facing Latin America through the study of religion, race, social justice, colonial history and politics within the Americas. This course will combine classroom-based learning (assigned readings, lectures, discussions) and experiential learning (site visits and travel within the country) to give students a greater understanding of Latin America, both in the past and present day. 

(Possible Credit: History, General Studies, Cross-Cultural Studies)

Perspectives on Latin American History and Contemporary Issues Syllabus