Application Process

Who can participate in the study abroad program in Costa Rica?

To apply for or participate in the Costa Rica program or any FHU Abroad program, students must have a minimum GPA of 2.5, and they must have completed two semesters of college coursework and achieved sophomore classification by the start of the study abroad program. Students whose GPA falls below 2.5 or who are on any kind of probation—academic, disciplinary, or otherwise—may not participate.


How do I apply?

The FHU Abroad application can be filled out online, or paper applications can be obtained from the FHU Abroad Office in the Joy Simon McDaniel House. Applicants are required to complete the application, pay a $250 deposit (refundable until the first day of class in January prior to the program), and submit the Student Responsibilities form (available from the FHU Abroad Office) before they can officially be admitted into the study abroad program. Applicants are also required to submit a faculty recommendation that can be obtained from the FHU Abroad Office.


When do I need to apply?

The application deadline for the 2019 Costa Rica program will be announced at the beginning of the fall 2018 term. All FHU Abroad programs can accommodate a limited number of participants. Once a program is full, later applicants will be placed on a waiting list. All applicants who are placed on the waiting list and do not make the program will have their deposits refunded.


When will the program take place?

The Costa Rica program takes place at the conclusion of the spring semester in odd years. The dates for the 2019 program will be announced at the beginning of the fall 2018 term. The biology and photography courses associated with the program will be taught during the spring semester before departure.




How much does the program cost?

The cost of participating in the 2019 program will be announced at the beginning of the fall 2018 term. The cost paid to FHU is all-inclusive, covering lodging, dining, round-trip airfare, ground transportation, travel insurance, and laundry service.


Will there be any other expenses?

Participants should acquire and pack basic waterproof rubber knee boots. Students enrolled in ART 299C/399C will need a digital SLR camera (with both a 50 mm lens and a zoom lens).


Can I use financial aid to pay for the program?

Any grants and loans that you are eligible for at FHU may be used to cover all or part of FHU study abroad expenses. In fact, the additional cost of the program can be built into your spring semester’s cost of attendance, which might qualify you for additional financial aid. See the Financial Info section and contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information.


When will I make payments for the program?

Participants will be required to adhere to a payment schedule, with deposits scheduled throughout the spring semester before the program begins.

Scheduled deposits for the 2019 program will be announced at the beginning of the fall 2018 term.


How can I make the payments?

All payments may be paid by cash, check, or credit card at the Office of Business Services on Hamlett Street. Make checks payable to FHU. To pay with a credit card via phone, contact the Office of Business Services at 731-989-6347 or 731-989-6689.



Traveling in Costa Rica

What are the living arrangements in Costa Rica?

Students and faculty will stay at the Laguna del Lagarto Lodge nestled in 1,250 acres of tropical rainforest near Boca Tapada, Costa Rica. Full lodging and dining services will be provided, along with laundry services and wireless Internet connection in the reception and dining area of the lodge.


Will any other travel be involved?

Students may have an opportunity to visit nearby villages and possibly a nearby volcano during their stay at the lodge. There may also be opportunities for students to participate in a canoe trip (approximately 4 hours) on the San Carlos and San Juan Rivers at additional cost.


What courses will be taught as part of the program?

The Costa Rica program supplements the curriculum of two spring semester courses: BIO 299G/399G Field Research and ART 299C/399C Special Topics in Photography


How will I access money in Costa Rica?

U.S. dollars are widely accepted throughout Costa Rica, so students may choose to bring a small amount of cash with them for incidental expenses.


Is it safe to travel to Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is a very safe and popular travel destination, with nearly two million visitors each year. As with all international travel, travelers should exercise caution. The FHU Abroad Office will thoroughly review best practices in health and safety with all of the program’s participants prior to their travels.


How does the FHU Abroad Office address safety concerns?

The health and safety of students traveling overseas is always very important to Freed-Hardeman University. Every effort is made to keep our students abroad safe and secure. An entire pre-departure orientation session is spent educating students about safety concerns, appropriate conduct while traveling abroad, and what to do in the event of an emergency. In the event of an emergency, the FHU Abroad Office will be in close contact with the faculty in Costa Rica as well as the students and family members involved.

The U.S. State Department works to alert U.S. citizens of any international travel risks, and all of our international program participants are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP is a free program provided by the State Department that allows international travelers to receive the latest travel updates and information about their location.


What happens if I get sick or injured while in Costa Rica?

All participants will be provided with comprehensive travel insurance for their time in Costa Rica. This insurance will cover each participant in the event of an illness or injury that requires a visit to a hospital or doctor. The insurance policy also provides coverage for lost or stolen belongings, emergency evacuation, and trip and baggage delays. 



Preparing to Study Abroad

What is pre-departure orientation?

Students who are accepted into an FHU Abroad program are required to participate in mandatory pre-departure orientation sessions before they depart. The orientation sessions cover topics like safety and student conduct, packing, and general information about the program. The orientation sessions are also a great opportunity to ask questions about the study abroad program.


When do I need to apply for a passport?

Applicants who do not already have a passport should begin the passport application process immediately. Valid passports are required in advance for all participants in order to make travel arrangements. Even if you already have a passport, check the expiration date! Costa Rica requires international visitors to have a passport that is valid for three months after they plan to return from their travels. For information about how to apply for a passport, reference these instructions on the State Department website.


Will I need a visa?

If you are a U.S. citizen, you will not need to apply for a visa to visit Costa Rica. International students should consult the FHU Abroad Office to determine whether or not they will need to obtain a visa.


Do I need to get any immunizations or vaccinations before I study abroad?

Students are encouraged to maintain their regular immunizations and vaccinations, including tetanus, polio, and MMR. Speak with your doctor and check the CDC's recommendations about any other recommended vaccines. The FHU Abroad Office does not require students to provide a copy of their shot records.