As a general rule, no changes in the assigned housing are permitted once the housing has been established, approved, and confirmed. Only in some cases and special circumstances will changes be allowed. A penalty may be established for breaking the agreement—in addition to any other fees originated by a change. Changes would include: from family to apartment or by leaving housing assigned by the MLSA office. No housing arrangements will be made for participants bringing children with them​.

"...the food is amazing; she keeps the house clean; and her husband and children are wonderful."

Georgia Ennis, Whitmore Lake, MI


House sizes vary but each participant is guaranteed to have their own room. Housing is always close to the university or near good transportation to the university and groups of students are kept in the same areas.  All families and their residences are screened and evaluated every year by the Director of Families and the students that stayed with them.  All families go through orientation yearly to ensure they are in constant understanding of their role and responsibilities.   

Housing requests can be accommodated.  If you'd like to be placed in the same house as another participant, please just advise us and we can usually arrange it.  A Housing & Medical form is used so each student can list preferences, medical conditions, and special needs. The Director of Families will make all efforts to accommodate individual needs and preferences.  The families are under contract to fulfill certain responsibilities and just like the families, MLSA students agree to respect and abide by all the specific policies, rules, regulations, instructions, written or unwritten, imposed to every resident living in the premises; a signed release and agreement form will be required of all participants.


Families provide two meals per day. Breakfast and dinner are served on weekdays.  Lunch can be eaten on campus in one of the "sodas" or small cafeterias or very close to campus in one of the many cafes and restaurants. 

Families will provide laundry services to the students.

Students who arrive on the scheduled arrival date within the arrival time window will be provided airport pickup.  The participants are bused as a group to the Universidad de Costa Rica campus, where the host families will be waiting to take them home.  

Students who travel in Costa Rica prior to the arrival date need to go to their assigned host family on the scheduled arrival date on their own. You can arrive at the family residence the morning of the schedule date of arrival, and you should leave before 7:00 p.m. on the scheduled date of departure. Please do not plan to arrive at your family before the listed date, or stay after the listed date. No exceptions will be made.

If you need to arrive earlier or stay later than the designated dates, we recommend lodging at Tairona Inn ( or - mention MLSA) or Hotel Ave del Paraiso, both of which are very close to the UCR campus.


"My madre tica treated me like a son.  Any individual would be extremely lucky to have someone as wonderful as her.  I cannot speak highly enough of her.  She made me feel as if this was my country."

David Driscoll, Memphis, TN​