Contact Details

UWC Costa Rica
Head: Mr Mauricio Viales
Santa Ana downtown,
from the north-east corner of the local church,
400 m north
San José, 10901
Costa Rica
+506 22 82 56 09

UWC Costa Rica at a Glance

$12 m

Grieg Foundation committed USD $12 million over the first five years of the colleges operation to support 100 Greig Foundation scholars, each year


UWC Costa Rica scholars that have received needs-based Davis UWC scholarships to study in the USA universities between 2008 and 2016


A global body of students aged 16 – 19 years from over 60 countries, are educated annually at UWC Costa Rica with about 70% receiving needs-based scholarships


A global alumni network from 105 countries since 2008

“At UWC Costa Rica, I discovered my love for Film and Photography. Besides my involvement with the Mamma Mia musical production, I take part in a program called La Carpio Service where children from an under- privileged part of Santa Ana come to the UWC Costa Rica Campus for literacy and numeracy lessons as well as mentorship from us.”

Shiko Njoroge, (Kenya, UWC Costa Rica 2015-2017)


Situated in Santa Ana in the valley west of Escazú, UWC Costa Rica evolved out of the pre-existing SOS Hermann Gmeiner International College, Costa Rica (HGIC), a development of the SOS Children’s Villages association, built for students from SOS Children’s Villages across the region. In 2006, HGIC became UWC Costa Rica, committed to continue its mission of supporting children from SOS Villages in Latin America alongside students from around the world.  In celebration of its location, over 30% of students at UWC Costa Rica come from Latin America and the Caribbean.

The founding of UWC Costa Rica was made possible thanks to the enormous generosity of Per Grieg, Sr and the Grieg Foundation and a partnership with SoS Children’s Villages. The foundation committed $12 million over the first five years of the colleges operation to support 100 Greig Foundation scholars, each year. The Grieg Foundation, based in Norway, receives its income from the Grieg Group of shipping and related companies. It is an important and generous supporter of the SoS Chidren’s Villages Organization, (including having supported some SoS students in other UWCs and Per Grieg, Sr a Norwegian philanthropist and founder of the Grieg Foundation was a pivotal figure in the founding of the SoS International College in Costa Rica.

With a strong commitment to the environment, UWC Costa Rica seeks to become a

carbon neutral campus. The college aims to inspire other organisations to join as leaders in the country’s goal of becoming the first carbon neutral country by 2021. The initiative is reinforced both through the academic programme and student led initiatives on recycling and sustainability.

Three Unique Features

  • Agents of Change Programme – A two-year experiential learning adventure in which students become aware of their capacity for positive change, form their own project teams and partner with local communities or organizations while getting trained step by step in designing, implementing and evaluating a project from a social entrepreneurship approach.
  • Wellness Programme – A multidisciplinary, multi-year, intergenerational school-wide initiative aimed at fostering a culture of social and emotional wellness for all community members.
  • SOS Children’s Villages support – Every year, UWC Costa Rica offers 5 full scholarships to SOS Village students from around the world. So far, more than 50 SOS Village students have graduated from UWC Costa Rica.

Geographic Setting

Costa Rica is in an inspiring location. The campus is set in a lush valley surrounded by mountains on the outskirts of the capital. It boasts a modern history of regional diplomacy and environmental protection.  Twenty minutes away from San José, Costa Rica’s capital, and ten minutes away from a state-of-the-art hospital, UWC Costa Rica’s campus is nestled within the friendly neighborhood of Santa Ana: an extremely safe and caring community that has taken the College under its wing.

Campus and Facilities

The UWC Costa Rica campus is located in a 12.35-acre land surrounded by mountains and nature in the valley of Santa Ana. The campus is surrounded by scenic mountains and a plethora of flora and fauna that make the perfect setting for a campus life that is safe, exciting, and diverse. Iguanas, armadillos, toucans, and other types of birds are part of the daily life in campus.

UWC Costa Rica has eight residence halls, all named after famous Costa Rican beaches. The residential area has 8 student residences with a total capacity of 192 students, 12 houses designated for the residence coordinators and other staff members, the infirmary, and a gymnasium. Each residence accommodates 24 students and includes with 8 rooms, two bathrooms, a common area and a fully equipped kitchen per residence hall. There are 18 classrooms including 3 science labs and 1 computer lab, a library with more than 13,000 books and a cafeteria. Other facilities include an amphitheater with an 807 square feet stage, a social center, basketball and soccer playing fields.

In the Classroom

UWC Costa Rica is proud to be the only UWC offering the full International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) in both Spanish and English. All students are expected to be able to communicate effectively in both English and Spanish when graduating from UWC Costa Rica. Students who already have a good command of both languages may study one or more other subjects in either Spanish or English and thus qualify for a bilingual diploma.

Alongside Standard Level courses, UWC Costa Rica offers Cultural and Social Anthropology, Theatre Arts, Film, Visual Arts, Environmental Systems & Societies, and French.

UWC Costa Rica an educational institution is focused on people through its experiential learning program. This program develops six competencies in our students: Conflict Transformation, Sustainability, Diversity, Healthy Lifestyle, Leadership and Social Responsibility.

Outside the Classroom

UWC Costa Rica offers more than 50 different activities students can engage in. Additionally, all students must take part in the Agents of Change Programme, established to provide students with the skills to successfully implement collaborative development programmes.

Short Courses

UWC Costa Rica hosts the Leading with Heart camp which helps adolescents develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes associated with effective and socially responsible leadership.


Students apply to through their UWC national committee. For more information, visit:

Meet some of the staff members here.

Meet the Head of School here.