Study Abroad in San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan, Puerto Rico

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.

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Cultural Information

Population: 3,690,923

Currency: US Dollar

Capital: San Juan


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.

Lechón 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.


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.

Study visits include:

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

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

Housing Information


Students will live in residencias at the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón campus in single-sex dorms with USC roommates.

Students will find in the residences:

  • Areas, facilities and an environment that allows student interaction
  • Double occupancy rooms, equipped with beds, air conditioning, desks with chairs, closet, fridge and telephone to receive calls
  • Shared bathrooms and cooking facilities
  • Kitchens equipped with freezer, stove and microwave oven
  • Computer center with Internet access
  • Access to the gym, pool and basketball, tennis & beach volleyball courts
  • Laundry
  • Visits and activities room
  • Games room
  • Areas of study
  • Rooms with cable TV on each floor

In addition, the residences offer security 24 hours, extended hours, free parking, Social worker, psychologist, tutorials, and nurse located on the first floor of the residence and a family atmosphere.

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.

Universidad del Sagrado Corazón

The Universidad del Sagrado Corazón 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. 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’s 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.


Originally founded in 1880 as an elementary and secondary boarding school for girls by the Catholic religious Order of the Society of the Sacred Heart, in 1935 they established the College of the Sacred Heart, a four-year liberal arts college for women. Since 1950, the Institution has been accredited by the Middle State Association of Colleges and Schools and locally by the Puerto Rico Council on Higher Education. In 1972, it became coeducational, serving 797 students with 12 undergraduate majors and in 1976, was officially authorized to use the name Universidad del Sagrado Corazón. By 1986, the Institution served 8,274 students with 30 majors and 3 masters programs. During the period of l986-88 a new vision was defined to promote a more personalized education rightsizing the undergraduate enrollment to 4,753 by 1992, which has remained constant since then.


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

Choose your Program:

  • Integrated Studies Program

    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 Program

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

  • Short Term Program

    If you can’t get away for a full semester, short-term programs are the best option. Courses offered at all 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 January, May, and/or Summer Terms.