International Education in San Jose
Costa Rica and its capital city San Jose have long had a reputation for being progressive. It has a stable democracy and forward-thinking social policies, places environmental protection among its highest priorities, and has an excellent and free public education system.
So why should you consider sending your child to an international school in San Jose? There are two big reasons: language and curriculum. Being a Spanish-speaking nation, Costa Rica’s public schools obviously teach through Spanish. This can pose a problem for expat children with no grasp on the local language.
San Jose’s international schools teach mostly teach through English and Spanish, or Spanish and the language of the international school’s primary curriculum (e.g. French, German). The International Baccalaureate and American curricula remain the most popular. Both are taught in international schools all over the world, so it’s much easier to keep your child’s education consistent when they move to a new country. Plenty of international schools in San Jose also offer a dual curriculum with the IB or American curricula and the national Costa Rican one.
The public school calendar in Costa Rica runs from February until November or December, because the country’s summer season is from November to January. International schools may choose to follow this calendar, or stick to the northern hemisphere calendar of September to June. The choice is up to each individual international school.
Another thing that varies from school to school is the admissions process. Demand for international school places can be high, and waiting lists are not uncommon for the most sought-after schools. You will usually be asked to provide passports, proof of vaccinations, previous school reports, and to complete admissions forms. Depending on the school your child may also need to sit an entrance exam or attend an interview. Regardless, it’s best to apply as early as possible.
The international schools in San Jose aren’t located in the centre of the city, but rather spread throughout the outskirts and neighbouring towns in the Central Valley. These include Santa Ana, San Antonio, La Guacima, and Granadilla among others.
You’ll find all of the usual features you’d expect from international schools around the world in San Jose. That includes native English-speaking teachers, small class sizes, additional language classes, and usually a school bus service. School sizes can range from a few hundred students to over a thousand.
One difference between international schools in San Jose and elsewhere is extracurricular activities. Although every school is different, the extracurricular program in many of the city’s schools is mostly focused on sports. Some may offer art classes and other options, but sports are usually the primary option. Luckily, most schools have excellent sports facilities.
Below, we have compiled our top 10 international schools in San Jose. However, there are another 10 schools to choose from in the city. You can find the best international school for your child by personalising your results. Just fill in your search criteria, and we will calculate a personal score for every international school in San Jose based on your requirements.