Study Abroad

Central America Study Abroad

CASA's approach to teaching and learning is one of adult learning. The professor facilitates the learning process, the student assumes the responsibility of learning and the host family and local culture become the laboratory practice and continued learning occurs.

For 30 years CASA’s goal has been to provide students with a taste of a full immersion experience similar to that of the Peace Corps but of shorter duration, and has proven to be an excellent vehicle for students to hone valuable life skills such as decision making, problem solving, interpersonal skills, flexibility, tolerance and the conviction that change begins and can be made by oneself.

CASA offers are variety of programs spanning entire semesters, summer, and the winter intercession.


The Department of Modern Languages requires

SPA 303 and SPA 304

be taken at UW-L prior to studying abroad.

A student pursuing a major or a minor in Spanish at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse may earn up to 66% of the credit hours for the major/minor requirement in a foreign country.  Thirty-four percent (34%) of the credit hours must be earned at UW-L.  The student is required to take at least one three-credit course in Spanish at UW-L after returning from the country of study. 

Fall Semester in Costa Rica and Nicaragua:
12-14 credit-hours Semester offering two semester Spanish language courses at all levels, plus two courses taught in English, 8 weeks in Northern Costa Rica and six weeks in Southern Nicaragua. This program also includes a 2 week service learning experience working and living with an underserved community in Nicaragua.

Spring Semester in Costa Rica:
12-14 credit-hours Semester offering two semester Spanish language courses at 100,200 and 300 levels, plus two courses taught in English.  This program also includes a 2 week service learning experience working and living with an underserved community in rural Costa Rica and a field trip to Granada, Nicaragua.

Summer Spanish for the Medical Professions:
4 to 5 Spanish credits at the 100, 200 and 300 level plus a 3 credit survey course on the unique Costa Rican Health Care System (CRHS). The CRHS course includes hands on preventive health care, volunteer service and a thorough look at the complex and successful private-public mix health system of this small size country.

January Intercession in Costa Rica:
This program is currently under development.

Please contact the Modern Languages Advisor(s) identified for your program.

The course equivalencies spreadsheets have been compiled from past approved Academic Plan forms. They show when the course was last approved and how it transferred back to La Crosse. You may notice that some classes satisfied several UWL options.

For a list of available courses as well as UW-La Crosse equivalencies click here.

This list is not comprehensive nor does it take the place of meeting with your advisor for final approval! They are meant to be a guide of what courses may be appropriate for your studies abroad.

In order to best experience Costa Rican and Nicaraguan life firsthand, students will live with host families. These families are carefully selected and evaluated to ensure the complete immersion of each student within the local language, culture, and traditional social environment. CASA students will be housed independently with families to ensure maximum opportunity for practicing your Spanish, and familiarizing yourself with the culture.

Before you travel abroad, you will need to obtain a passport, which will serve as proof of your U.S. citizenship. A passport may allow you to gain entry to (and exit from) other countries. Depending on the country to which you're traveling, a visa may be required as well. Entry requirements vary from one country to another. The U.S. State Department issues travel warnings specific to certain countries, and offers tips and publications relevant to travel abroad generally. Well in advance of your departure, you should also familiarize yourself with international travel health issues, and health recommendations specific to your destination.

Central America Study Abroad
Tips and Advice from Program Alumni


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Office of International Education
1209 Centennial Hall
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
1725 State Street
La Crosse, WI 54601 USA

Telephone: 608-785-8016 Fax: 608-785-8923 E-Mail: