Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve pulled some of the most frequently asked questions we’ve received and compiled them all into one place for your convenience. Not finding what you’re looking for? Please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Do I need a Visa?
This depends on whether you choose a gap semester or study abroad. If you choose to do an 8 week gap semester, no visa will be required. If you choose to do a study abroad session or 12 week gap semester, a visa will be required. Don't worry though, our team will help with the visa application process.
Do I need to be able to speak Spanish?
While it is beneficial to have a basic understanding of Spanish, it is not required or necessary. If you choose to do the Spanish Intensive Path however, students will be required to have an intermediate level of Spanish. Homestay families will be assigned based on your level of Spanish and how much Spanish Immersion you would like to undertake.
What is the application process?
Step 1 - Register your interest for either study abroad or gap paths on their application pages. We will contact you via email or phone call within 2 business days.
Step 2 - We will send you a full application and all relevant materials.
Step 3 - Meet our application team by video call so we can find out more about you and so that you may ask any questions.
Step 4 - Submit the full application and required supporting documents.
Step 5 - You will be notified of acceptance within 2 to 3 business days.
Step 6 - Start your visa application process and get your desired courses approved by your home institution (if you're joining our study abroad program) . Buy your flight tickets and keep in touch with our admissions coordinator for any logistical needs or questions.
What if I want to extend my stay?
If you wish to extend your stay as a gap participant, you may need to apply for a visa depending on how long you would like to extend. If that situation arises, our team will help with the application process.
Do I need to buy travel insurance or health insurance?
You will not be required to buy travel or health insurance. Pathfinder includes insurance in the program cost.
Is Pathfinder Costa Rica a therapeutic program?
While the Pathfinder team and the organization it belongs to (the Supportive Immersion Institute) have almost two decades of expertise in treating mental health, Pathfinder is not a therapeutic program. Because of that, if you struggle with the following issues or similar ones, we recommend you seek an environment that can appropriately address your needs:
Because of our expertise in mental health, we can help you assess whether our approach may be appropriate for you.
What is your policy on alcohol?
The minimum drinking age in Costa Rica is 18 years old. Considering all Pathfinder participants are 18+, responsible drinking is allowed outside of the host family home. Drinking inside your host family's home will not be allowed. Excessive drinking and drunkenness will not be tolerated.
What is your policy on marijuana use?
At Pathfinder Costa Rica, drug use of any kind is not allowed while enrolled. Failure to follow this rule will result in expulsion from the program.
What if my homestay family is not compatible with me?
If you find that you are not compatible or comfortable with your homestay family, our team will find a new home and family that suits you. Please reach out to our cultural coordinator if this situation arises.
Can I date while at Pathfinder Costa Rica?
Dating is allowed at Pathfinder as long as it does not interfere with your responsibilities. Participants are expected to attend all their responsibilities in a timely manner. Participants are expected to observe the curfew agreed upon by both the homestay family and the participant.
Will I have a roommate?
Whether you have a roommate or a private room is up to you. On our application, you can designate whether you would prefer to have a shared room (a roommate), private room, or if you are comfortable with both.