The application period is open for our Summer and Fall 2014 programs

The application period for ICDS´ Summer and Fall 2016 programs will remain open until May 1st. Apply now and take advantage of this unique academic experience!

After completing ICDS ´preliminary application form, contact your University´s Study Abroad Office to follow up on any specific application requirements they have for study abroad.

In the interest of international education and taking advantage of the expertise and know-how of its faculty and administrative team, the International Center for Development Studies (ICDS) is pleased to offer the following academic opportunities during our Fall and Summer 2014 programs:

FALL SEMESTER PROGRAM: (Program dates: September – November)

Program Tracks:

  • Human Rights, Society and Development in Latin America
  • Environment, Sustainability and Development in Latin America
  • Development Studies in Latin America

SUMMER PROGRAMS: (Programs dates: within May – July)

  • Summer I: Spanish for Development Studies (intensive language program)
  • Summer II: Spanish and Health in Latin America
  • Learn more about ICDS Fall Semester and Summer programs at:
Housing scholarships available!$500 housing scholarships for Fall Semester 2014 and $250 housing scholarships for Summer 2014 programs are available! Get started by filling out your preliminary application on our website at 




New Development Studies Program!

ICDS is pleased to offer a new interdisciplinary program beginning Fall 2014 that will allow students to have access to a wider offering of courses while living and studying abroad.

ICDS will now offer ¨Development Studies in Latin America.¨ Students will take two core classes: ¨Community Engagement and Sustainable Human Development,¨ and  Spanish language. The Community Engagement course is a unique credit-bearing educational experience with a service-learning component that provides students with the opportunity to participate in community work, complemented with reflection spaces in the classroom, thus generating the possibility of making the proper connections between personal values and course contents: local development, social justice, intercultural understanding, sustainability, global citizenship and civic responsibility. The Spanish Language class consists of six (6) levels: Beginner (I&II), Intermediate (I&II), and Advanced (I&II).

Students will choose three electives out of the following classes:

Human Rights Classes:

  • Development in Latin America from a Gender Perspective
  • Human Rights in Latin America: A Developmental Approach
  • Politics and Democracy in Latin America

Environmental Classes:

  • Current Environmental Issues in Latin America
  • Rural and Urban Sustainable Development: Global and Local Perspectives
  • Sustainable Tourism and Local Development

Other Elective Options:

  • Latin America: A Mirror of Reality Through Film
  • Central American Literature (taught in Spanish)

Students will have a larger variety of course offerings to choose from to customize their study abroad experience more according to their interests, preferences, or academic requirements.

The program includes two (2) overnight field trips. One of these field trips is a four-day trip to Nicaragua! And each class has a day trip included (four (4) day trips in total).

To learn more about this new program track, please go to:



2014 Co-op and Internships Opportunities 

The International Center for Development Studies (ICDS) is a knowledge center that promotes experimental and service-learning in Costa Rica. Motivated students are encouraged to participate in a variety of fields pertaining to sustainable development in Latin America. As part of its study abroad programs, ICDS offers students:

· A service-learning based core course for its semester programs, “Community Engagement and Sustainable Human Development,” a credit-bearing educational experience that provides students with the opportunity to participate in community work, complemented with reflection spaces in the classroom, thus generating the possibility of making the proper connections between personal values and course contents: local development, social justice, intercultural understanding, sustainability, global citizenship and civic responsibility. The community work takes place in the context of local human development processes, mainly in urban Costa Rica.

· The opportunity to complement their studies by volunteering

· Internship possibilities for students who want to come before or stay longer after their academic program of choice, or who want to come to Costa Rica for a semester or summer to intern

Volunteer work and internships give ICDS’ students the opportunity to put into practice what they learn in the classroom and use their Spanish skills, be involved with leading practitioners in the field, and contribute to the efforts for sustainable human development in Costa Rica.

Placements in both research internships and work co-ops are determined based on students’ interest, language proficiency, and research skills and experience, as well as the host institution’s needs.

For more information about ICDS´ internship and co-op opportunities available during Fall 2014, please visit:



Housing Scholarships available for Fall & Summer 2014 programs!

Learn how you can get a $500 housing scholarship for Fall Semester 2014 and a $250 housing scholarship for Summer 2014 programs. Get started by filling out your preliminary application on our website at Only 5 scholarships are available, so do not miss out on this wonderful opportunity!



¨The Nicaraguan Experience¨

By Luis Sandoval – ICDS´ Program Counselor

As part of the ICDS program, I have had the opportunity to be part of two trips to our neighboring country to the north: Nicaragua.

In both experiences we had the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful colonial city of Granada, one of the oldest cities founded by Spaniards when they arrived to the American continent. The city is amazing in its architecture; in Costa Rica we have nothing like this. In Granada there are old, narrow roads for cars, oxcarts and horses, hundreds of adobe colonial houses, big houses turned into hotels, and old massive churches with so much history.

One of my favorite experiences in Nicaragua has been the opportunity to have Bosco as our local guide. Full of history about the country, anecdotes, and even sharing experiences regarding the years of the revolution in which he, as many other Nicaraguans, participated in, Bosco made our visit to Nicaragua a unique learning opportunity. There is nothing like traveling with a local to help you understand why you see what you see.

Besides the man-made beauty of Granada, we also enjoyed Masaya Volcano and its National Park trails, craters and its scenic views— a reminder of how nature operates without our help or interruption.

The Island of Ometepe, with its two volcanoes and a very small population, is another natural beauty. During our visit to Ometepe it was almost like a flashback to our Central American region some 40 years ago. The communities on the island live in peace with little development, unlike the tourist areas. We noticed within twenty minutes of being there that pigs and dogs walk freely anywhere. Bosco explained that being that this is such a small community, all animals have names and everybody knows who these animals belong to—they are simply members of the community. Also interesting, the crime rate has increased 100% in the last year: there was one dispute the previous year, and last year they had two neighboring disputes, and the community hopes the two policemen on the island can keep up.

Considering all the beauty, culture and history, my top favorite activities have been our service-learning experiences. In both activities we worked with community organizations: in Ometepe with a local public school and in Masaya with an artistic academy. They both were similar yet very distinct activities. In Ometepe we taught very basic English to children that lived happily and in poverty. It was a blast, and as students shared many moments with us— a very rewarding experience.  In Masaya the population was not in the same socio-economic situation, but the activity was still great and one in which our students had to pull all their creativity together to work with children who had a greater grasp of the English language. It was a challenging but positive surprise to all of us.

As a Costa Rican, I enjoy visiting Nicaragua. Taking into account the perspective of our students at all times makes me wonder and reflect even more on anything we do and experience over there. It is safe to say that going on my own would not be as fun and as impactful  of an experience in my life as it has been traveling with almost twenty other people full of questions. And the most amazing of all: seeing firsthand the joy expressed on many faces.



Costa Rican students participate in ICDS´ semester programs

ICDS has partnered with Universidad Latina, the largest private university in Costa Rica, where ICDS students can take their classes among fellow Costa Ricans.

The participation of Costa Rican (¨tico¨) students in ICDS´ courses is making a big impact in terms of creating a multicultural experience for students, which is enhanced by homestays with local Costa Rican families, community work, and 60 hours of Spanish language instruction, in addition to field trips to the Atlantic coast and Granada, Nicaragua.



Nicaragua through the eyes of student Maryclaire Regan:

As part of ICDS´ semester programs, students have the opportunity to participate in several field trips and class excursions, thus enriching their experience throughout their time in the program. One of the field trips that students participate in is a visit to our neighboring country: Nicaragua! ICDS student Maryclaire Regan has shared a testimonial with us about her experience in Nicaragua as part of our Spring 2014 program.

“Our trip to Nicaragua has been my favorite ICDS activity so far. Granada was incredibly beautiful, but it was unusual to see the cultural wealth of the city contrasted with the obvious poverty of the people. It definitely gave me a new perspective on Costa Rica. The tour of the city and the visit to the volcano and its surrounding islands was amazing, and we had fun “teaching” English in the dance school even though most of the kids already had a decent grasp on the language. The trip to the hospital was also interesting and informative; we even got to participate in a religious ceremony with the midwives which was so cool to be part of as a Religion major. Overall it was an amazing experience and I would definitely recommend the trip to Granada to anyone who has the opportunity to go.

Maryclaire Regan, Emory University

Spring 2014

The ICDS experience through a parent´s perspective

Below you will find a testimonial from Kelli Bartlett, mother of ICDS Alumni Spencer Bartlett who participated in our program during the Fall of 2013. We hope this testimonial serves to give parents a deeper understanding of the unique opportunity that studying abroad with ICDS will give to their children as a quality academic experience and a life changing adventure.

            March 10, 2014

ICDS Costa Rica Staff,

As parents of a student who participated in the Fall 2013 ICDS Costa Rica Program, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for providing such a unique and memorable experience for our sons first semester of college.  Since our son is an International Business Major, the program for developing skills and interests made sense although my husband and I were initially apprehensive. Now looking back on that experience, it is one we will never forget. From the classroom, Service Learning Projects to the home stays and cultural excursions, each has touched him in a special way. In his own words, “It truly was life changing, an experience I will always be grateful for.”

Midway through the Fall semester, I had the opportunity to visit our son for the long weekend. It was a comfort as a parent, to first meet my sons host family and to immediately feel “at home” just seeing how they truly care. Thank you ICDS staff for carefully selecting such loving and safe host families for our kids. I was also impressed with how well our sons Spanish improved by the time I visited! As it turned out, it happened to be another busy weekend for the students exploring different parts of Costa Rica. We visited a dairy farm, strawberry farm, volcano, rain forest and Artisan market – ALL in one weekend! Thank you for also allowing me to go along with the students to the Community Service Project as well. It was that Service Project that touched my heart the most, and to imagine that our students experienced this weekly!  How fortunate for myself; a parent, to be able to see firsthand all that the students were involved in. Thank you for allowing me to ride along and get to know my sons group, students, NEU advisors and many of the ICDS staff!  To see such a diverse group of wonderful students share the same common goals, caring and learning about the world around them truly is a valuable Life lesson. With gratitude.

Kelli Bartlett

March 10, 2014. Texas



NEW ICDS Student Ambassadors Program

 ICDS is glad to announce its new Student Ambassadors Program!

We would like to thank all the alumni that have already joined the program, and we would like to extend our most sincere invitation to all of ICDS´ alumni interested in sharing their experience in Costa Rica with other students to join our Ambassador Program.

If you would like to share with others about your rewarding experience in Costa Rica, your participation in ICDS´ programs, and help spread the word about ICDS, please join ICDS´ Student Ambassador Program by sending an e-mail to

Being a Student Ambassador requires two things:

  •  Talk to your friends, classmates, faculty and administration about the benefits of studying at ICDS in Costa Rica.  We might ask you to represent us at certain Study Abroad Fairs or Information Sessions on campus, when you are available, to answer potential student questions and share your study abroad experience with them.
  •  Allow us to list your name, university, and email address on our website under Student Services so that potential students can ask you about the program and/or living in Costa Rica. In addition, if needed, we would distribute your contact information to interested students as they contact us and professors to serve as a point of reference to direct students to.

We would love to hear from you! Please be in touch and let us know what current adventures you are living! We appreciate you considering this opportunity and hope that one day soon you will be able to return to Costa Rica for a visit.


Congratulations to ICDS Alumna Jill Adair on her new project in Honduras!

Congratulations to our former student Jill Adair on her new project in Honduras.  We wish her well in this new experience in Central America. We are proud and excited to know that her participation in ICDS´ Fall 2013 program helped strengthen her passion for sustainability and Central America. Thank you for sharing your testimonial with us!


While studying Environmental Sustainability in Costa Rica with ICDS, I became aware of environmental management and conservation strategies both locally throughout Latin America and world-wide. Studying with ICDS assured me that engaging communities in strategies to promote environmental and social change is necessary to create and maintain sustainability. After finding my new love for Latin America from ICDS, I have decided to return to Central America, specifically in Honduras, to assist a community—who would otherwise lack access to sanitary freshwater—develop a sustainable water system. I am excited to continue my work towards environmental conservation, and I am so thankful for ICDS, who exposed me to international environmental issues and helped me develop connections with unfamiliar cultures.

Jill Adair, Drexel University

March 2014