Our Gap Year & Semester courses are far from the traditional study abroad program or travel experience. These courses are the perfect opportunity to get away and spend time for yourself, learn about the world around you, gain leadership and outdoor skills, and push the limits to discover your capabilities and passions.
Outdoor Leader Semester - Fall & Spring - 65 days - 10 credits
Discover your strengths, goals, and leadership style as you delve into the field of outdoor education through both technical & soft-skill training. Learn to set up belay systems, organize rescues, provide wilderness medical care, guide rafts down world-class rivers, lead groups through the Costa Rican rainforest, and scuba dive in Caribbean waters during this comprehensive skill development course. Earn seven internationally-recognized certifications and complete an in-depth study of OBCR’s educational model to make you a desirable instructor or guide for various organizations throughout the world.
Top graduates of this Outdoor Leader Semester program may be offered a paid summer internship as a Field Instructor Intern.
Coast to Coast Expedition Semester - Fall & Spring - 85 days - 12 credits
Coast to Coast Expedition is the perfect choice if you want a life-changing experience that will immerse you in a brand new culture, challenge you physically, and allow you to learn and grow as a leader through the rainforest, rivers, and reefs of Costa Rica and Panama. On this adventure you will grow your Spanish skills, whitewater raft, hike, scuba dive, surf, and more—all while gaining valuable life skills, expanding your self-confidence, and discovering the beauty of Latin America. You may earn up to 5 internationally-recognized certifications.
30-65 Day Residential Gap Semester - Spring & Fall - 10 credits
Enjoy the comforts of sleeping on a mattress every night with the experiential impact of diving into science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) topics in the tropics of Costa Rica and Panama. Your residential gap semester can last from 30 to 65 days. Each program topic is complemented by excursions to important natural and historical locations in Costa Rica and Panama.
I came to Outward Bound Costa Rica because my life had lost purpose, direction, freedom, and a sense of adventure. I now have a better idea of what I want for my future.- Elijah W. - April 10, 2022
I am more confident, happy, and stronger as a person. This course didn't help me grow so much as it helped me discover what I already had.- Emily K. - April 10, 2022
I chose Outward Bound Costa Rica because of the unique cultural experiences they offered, as well as the variety of adventure activities. The most meaningful part of my course was doing service work and playing with the kids. The service was fulfilling and working with the community around and having interactions was awesome. Through my OBCR experience, I learned that I am strong and capable of flourishing on my own away from home and I have a huge passion for travel.- Isabelle I. - December 19, 2019
It's such a unique opportunity to authentically experience such a beautiful country, it was the challenge and thrill of a lifetime. I learned that I'm capable of so much more than I had imagined and my love for the outdoor education grew even more.- Heather C. - January 17, 2019
You are capable of a lot more than you think. I've noticed that I've grown as a person, a leader, and as an adult. This experience is fun, exciting, thrilling, tough, a great learning experience, and something you'll remember for the rest of your life.- Ian C. - December 12, 2017
I am much more confident and more at peace with myself than I ever was. Before this, I was flunking out of college, I had no goals or purpose and I was angry with myself for being a failure after being judged and harped on by the rest of my family. Being here taught me to always be kind to myself and to just live in the moment. It also showed me that I was not alone. It gave me so much courage to speak what I feel and to trust others more.- Anonymous - April 10, 2022
It has exceeded my expectations. All of the teaching has been much more in depth than i tohught it would be and each course has gone into much more detail than I thought. The WFR has been most beneficial because it gave me the confidence to go out into the wilderness and if something goes wrong I can depend on myself to help. I've learned a TON about backcountry safety, swift water, and ropes. I've also learned how I work with different teams with different levels of understanding and personalities.- Connor H. - January 17, 2019
It was wet and sometimes cold but all in all I would do it again. I learned to laugh again. I learned to just let go and be free for a while. That it was ok to smile and that even if things were bad, they could be so much worse. So I learned to be myself truly and embrace the fullness of where I was in that very moment. My favourite parts were being able to experience the culture in the homestays. This gave me the chance to truly see the country for what it is and all the values the inhabitants hold.- Joanna J. - January 4, 2019
I cannot say enough great things about this program. Outward Bound Costa Rica has truly changed my life in so many ways and I can honestly say I wouldn't be the person I am today it wasn't for this organization. Outward Bound Costa Rica has extremely knowledgable and friendly instructors who go out of their way to make students feel comfortable and welcomed. They are amazing at using outdoor recreation activities to teach you so much about life and yourself. I would absolutely recommend this course to someone who is looking for a purpose in life, needing to spark passion, hoping to learn about themselves and the world around them, or just looking to have an adventure-filled trip.- Bailey P. - December 4, 2015