Costa Rica is the first destination in Latin America, with a total of 8,333 U.S. citizens studying in the country.
- A.M. Costa Rica illustrative photo -

Published Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Costa Rica in the top 10 countries
preferred by U.S. Citizens
to study abroad

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

According to the 2019 survey of International Exchange Activity in the United States, known as Open Doors, Costa Rica is number 10 of the top 25 countries that Americans choose to study abroad.

This position places Costa Rica as the first destination in Latin America, with a total of 8,333 U.S. citizens studying in the country, above Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Argentina and Chile.

In addition, the study shows that in 2019 a total of 1,240 Costa Ricans chose to pursue university studies in the United States, a figure that represents an increase of 7.2% compared to 2018, when 1,157 Costa Ricans were studying in the U.S. This increase was the highest among Latin American countries with at least 500 students in U.S. universities.

In Costa Rica, the U.S. Embassy has been promoting programs for Ticos students to get scholarships in U.S. universities.

According to data from the embassy, the scholarship programs in which more Costa Rican students have been able to continue their studies in the U.S. are:

• 31 students participated in the International Visitors program.

• 10 students represented Costa Rica in the Youth Program Ambassadors, especially for schoolboys, leaders in their communities.

• 5 students obtained a scholarship from the Global Undergraduate Scholarship Program.

• 4 students are still studying their professional career with a Fulbright scholarship.

• 3 students received a Fulbright Laspau scholarship.

• 3 students were part of the Study of the United States Seminar, SUSI.

• 1 student was a recipient of the Hubert H. Humphrey Scholarship.

Open Doors survey reveals that, for the fifth year in a row, the U.S. received more than one million international students. During the academic year 2019-2020, 1,075,496 students were received, which represents 5.5 percent of all students pursuing higher education.

According to the Embassy in Costa Rica, the U.S. remained the main destination for new international students.

"The increasing number of applications to study in the United States is reinforced by the continued commitment of the government and the American higher education community to demonstrate that the doors of the United States are open to welcoming students from around the world," the embassy said in its statement.

The data reflected in the Open Doors survey in 2019 were not affected by the global health crisis caused by covid-19 because this study was conducted before the pandemic begins.

What have you heard of Costa Ricans looking for a scholarship in the United States?  We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to

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