Study Abroad in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Providing unique learning experiences for North American university students since 1969

SSA student Ava Mendhelson, from @mendel_productions, produced the following video on the theme of gentrification in Puerto Rico. Aside from being a fascinating topic, it’s a wonderful overview of life in PR.

Puerto Rico Study Abroad: Overview

Originally claimed for Spain in 1493 by Christopher Columbus, Puerto Rico remained under Spanish control until it was ceded to the United States in the Spanish-American War of 1898. In 1952 the island became a commonwealth of the United States and remains so to this day. The city of San Juan is the largest capital in the Caribbean and is considered the cultural heart of Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico Study Abroad: Cultural Information

Originally claimed for Spain in 1493 by Christopher Columbus, Puerto Rico remained under Spanish control until it was ceded to the United States in the Spanish-American War of 1898. In 1952 the island became a commonwealth of the United States and remains so to this day. The city of San Juan is the largest capital in the Caribbean and is considered the cultural heart of Puerto Rico.


Mofongo is a mashed fried green plantain or yautia (a locally grown tuber root vegetable) either stuffed with a variety of fillings (including steak, seafood, chicken, pork or vegetables) or served as a side to a main course. Asopao is a hearty soup made with chicken, rice, sofrito (a zesty seasoning popular in Latin cuisine) and vegetables. Lech贸n is roast suckling pig, and is considered to be one of the best dishes of Puerto Rican food!

Life Outside the Classroom

There is always something new and exciting to do in Puerto Rico. South Fortaleza Street in Old San Juan, nicknamed Sofo, is one of the premier places to go for students who want to sample the island's rich cuisine. There is also El Yunque, the only subtropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest Service, which is known for its breath taking beauty. Puerto Rico also has over 300 pristine beaches, some of which are considered among the most beautiful in the world. There is a wide variety of museums, shops, and theaters as well as an active nightlife, with many clubs and concerts providing entertainment. Salsa is very popular on the island, and you can easily find clubs and cafes devoted entirely to this style of dance. With outdoor activities such as hiking and horseback riding, kayaking, scuba diving, golf, zip lines and hang gliding students will never want for something to do. Spanish Studies wants you to have fun while studying abroad; however, you are expected to meet all of your academic responsibilities. Check out See Puerto Rico, a website that lists music, theater, and other events currently happening on the island.

Integrated Studies Programs

Advanced students enroll in one or more regular courses in Spanish at the host university to complement the Spanish Studies Program curriculum. Sit side-byside with local students. We provide you with all the benefits of direct enrollment, including access to campus resources and integration into the university community. On-site resident directors assist each student individually with course selection and registration, and select a tutor for academic support.

International Studies in English Programs

Take coursework through the local university, in English, with local and聽international students. Most courses are in English, while some courses are offered聽in Spanish for those with more advanced skills. Take a Spanish language course and聽electives in English, benefit from cultural activities, study tours, and support from our聽resident director. A variety of courses include humanities, business, science and more.

Short Term Programs

If you can鈥檛 get away for a full semester, short-term programs are the best option. Courses offered at Beginning and Advanced levels of Spanish, in most disciplines: general Spanish language, Spanish for the professions, literature and history, business and economics, education and health sciences, social sciences, and more. We offer Summer Terms.

Start Studying Abroad in Puerto Rico

Here’s what you need to do to take the next steps:

Start an application

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Connect with your campus study abroad office

Share your plans and confirm you're on track to meet all required steps to go abroad.

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Excursions in Puerto Rico

To enhance your cultural experience in San Juan, Spanish Studies Abroad organizes various excursions, study visits and other activities throughout your semester or summer. These activities are coordinated to enhance your class studies.

San-juan-puerto-ric-SJU -January Term 2019-Drew University-waterfall
El Yunque, Rainforest in Puerto Rico

Study visits include:

  • Ponce
  • El Yunque, Tropical Rain Forest
  • Bioluminscent Bay in Fajardo

In addition,聽Universidad del Sagrado Coraz贸n聽international students program offers opportunities to explore your surroundings and offers field trips planned in or around the curriculum.

Ponce, Puerto Rico

Visit our local Facebook page for San Juan, Puerto Rico

Get an idea of typical activities that students are getting up to!


Students will live on campus in single-sex dorms with Puerto Rican roommates. All dorms are double rooms, and come equipped with refrigerators, shared bathrooms and cooking facilities. Twenty-four hours security ensures the absolute safety of the students. Along with a main cafeteria and several snack bars, students will be able to take full advantage of the rich and delicious culinary culture in the town’s many restaurants and eateries.

University in Puerto Rico

The聽Universidad del Sagrado Coraz贸n is the oldest private educational institution in Puerto Rico. Three of its buildings, the Main Administration Building, the Portico, and Chapel, have also been listed in the National Register of Historic Sites. Located on 32 acres in the heart of San Juan, the university has both a distinctive campus and an urban environment.聽

The smaller size of the USC campus creates an atmosphere in which students are able to build support systems and friendships within the tight knit campus community. As a selective, liberal arts institution, USC鈥檚 main focus is to educate individuals through an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary educational experience. In the classroom and on campus, students will have the opportunity to interact with their peers and to experience the culture of the university.



The health and security of students is paramount and USC is active in ensuring the welfare of its students. The dorms have 24-hour security to ensure the students safety. The Programa de Apoyo (PAE) provides with both academic and personal help, and there is also a 24-hour nurse on campus as well as psychological help available in both English and Spanish. Shuttles provide safe and reliable transport for the students, taking them from their dorms into town, where they are able to explore and experience island life.

Other features of USC include:

  • Olympic-sized swimming pool
  • Library
  • Language Lab
  • Volunteer office
  • Exercise rooms
  • Mac lab, along with several other computer rooms

Meet your Resident Director

alexandra vega

As Resident Director, I am your go-to person in San Juan. I will help you navigate the Universidad del Sagrado Coraz贸n, point you in the right direction as you develop your intellectual interests, and be there when you need me.
I hope to welcome you and make your visit a rewarding experience, a journey through which you will learn the language while you discover the wonders of Puerto Rico, of the city of San Juan, and of its inhabitants.

Alexandra Vega

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