Hong Kong students can spend a year studying in Costa Rica, thanks to a programme organised by AFS Intercultural Exchanges. The non-profit-making group will enable students to live with a Costa Rican family and attend a high school or university there. An AFS spokesman said that successful applicants would be able to enjoy two national passions - a white fudge called cajeta and, at weekends, football. This Central American country, with a population of just over three million, still has a strong Spanish influence. The Costa Rican branch of AFS was established in 1955 and has volunteers in 29 towns. Visitors initially take part in a one-day orientation camp outside San Jose. To qualify for the school scheme, students should be aged between 15 and 17 years, 11 months on the day of departure. They should not have had more than two failing grades during the previous academic year. For the university programme, candidates should be about 19-years-old and be eligible for a degree course. They must have completed Form Five education and have an HKCEE certificate. They too should have no more than two failing grades during the previous academic year. The programme costs $53,000. Financial aid is available on a first-come, first-served basis, according to the student's family financial status. The deadline for applications is April 30. Candidates will be interviewed by AFS volunteer selection teams. For further details, call AFS on 2802 0383.