Meet your on-site staff in Costa Rica!

Lisa Pinheiro, On-site Program Coordinator (OPC) and CISabroad Costa Rica Site Director!
Costa Rica Lisa Pinhiero Onsite Staff


Lisa Pinheiro is the CISabroad Site Director in Costa Rica and will serve as the On-Site Program Coordinator (OPC) for your program! She was born in Costa Rica and has lived in the United States on several occasions. She is an alumni of Veritas University, where she majored in photography, and is currently pursuing her degree in Tourism and Hotel Management. She is passionate about travel, and has over 10 years of experience leading study abroad groups all throughout Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama. In her free time, Lisa enjoys going to art exhibits, watching movies, dancing, and learning new languages. She speaks Spanish, English and Portuguese, and is currently learning French.

What’s an OPC?  As part of your customized faculty-led program abroad, you will be led and supported by a CISabroad On-Site Program Coordinator (OPC). OPCs are experienced and well-trained staff members, there to ensure the schedule goes according to plan, and when something unexpected does occur, that there is a Plan B and the program goes on without disruption. Each OPC attends an extensive training program that involves a range of modules – risk management, emergency response, safety, logistics, cultural awareness, communication, culture shock, budgeting, social media, La Vida Local and customer service.

What do they do?  During the program, the OPC is responsible for:

  • Managing the day-to-day logistics of the assigned customized program (confirming all transportation and visits, always having a back-up plan for the unexpected)
  • Providing in-country support to both the faculty and students, ranging from dealing with issues of culture shock, interpersonal conflict, health emergencies, etc.
  • Creating a program environment that is safe and culturally engaging.  Through our La Vida Local curriculum, the OPC will offer ideas and suggestions for activities in each city that will enhance the students’ cultural experience.

Obviously we hope that everything goes 100% according to plan, but when a student gets sick or a faculty member is injured (it has happened!) the OPC will step in to provide the additional support necessary in these situations to ensure the program continues as smoothly as possible, liaising with both the home office and the insurance company as necessary.

The OPC is not a registered tour guide nor expected to provide tours of sites visited during the program. If the program is one that requires specific guided tours of various sites, these will be provided separately. The OPC normally provides a general neighborhood walking tour to help the group identify the nearest bank/ATM, pharmacy, laundry-mat, grocery store and more.