Development Studies in Latin America:
An Interdisciplinary Program

Spring & Fall Semester: Study Abroad in Costa Rica

Jointly with Universidad Latina de Costa Rica, ICDS offers the opportunity to build your own semester according to your interests. Acquire in-depth knowledge on sustainable human development through a variety of courses on sustainability, the environment, and human rights.

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  • Build your own semester program
  • Service-learning core course with two weekly sessions of community work
  • Special elective course with service-learning component in a rural setting (Only for Fall Semesters)
  • Language and cultural immersion
  • Fieldtrip to Nicaragua for comparison purposes


  • Minimum 2.75 GPA
  • Completion of basic level(s) of college Spanish or equivalent

Lodging Modality

  • Homestays with carefully selected local families

What’s Included

  • Arrival/departure assistance and transfers from and to airport
  • On-site orientation
  • Homestay placement
  • Community work placement
  • Weekend field study trips and day trips
  • Cultural activities
  • Wireless Internet access

Course Offering

Required courses

  • Community Engagement and Sustainable Human Development: A Service-learning Course
  • Spanish Language

Elective courses

  • Sustainability Practices and Food Security in Rural Costa Rica (Special elective course) *
  • Current Environmental Issues in Latin America
  • Rural and Urban Sustainable Development: Global and Local Perspectives
  • Sustainable Tourism and Local Development
  • Development in Latin America from a Gender Perspective
  • Human Rights in Latin America: A Critical Approach
  • Democracy in Central America: An Ongoing Question
  • Literatura Centroamericana (Taught In Spanish)

* Elective course taught in August, three weeks before the start of ICDS’ Fall semester program

Program Fees

Please check with your home university’s Study Abroad Office, or contact ICDS at

Program Dates

Term Dates Duration
Spring Session Mid January - Mid April 13 Weeks
Fall Session August - November* 13-16 Weeks*

*If special selective course is taken, the program starts in early August.

I was able to carry out community work at a human rights organization in San José during my time with ICDS. I was able to work with less fortunate children and teach them about basic human rights. This hands-on interactive experience was life changing for me. It was so rewarding and eye-opening to see the children’s perspective of the world and to learn from them!

- Rachel Fine-Fall Semester 2013

Interested in the Development
Studies in Latin America Program?

Go to Preliminary Application Form

Affiliated Universities and Colleges