Parents: Safety, Homestay, Health Insurance, Cultural Adjustment, FAQ

Safety    (link to safety information)

Homestay (link to homestay information)

Health insurance

International students at ICDS are required to have their own health insurance with international coverage when coming to Costa Rica. Students in all of ICDS´s programs have access to both physical and mental health care.  For specific medical needs and at the students’ request, ICDS will make the necessary arrangements so that they may consult a physician in the area required at a private clinic. When needed, ICDS will help students obtain doctor’s appointments at Costa Rican private hospitals and will give assistance in case of problems to communicate with the doctor in Spanish. In all cases, the student will be responsible to cover her/his medical expenses, saving the bills to get reimbursements through her/his home country insurance upon her/his return. In cases of extreme medical emergencies, the home university may authorize ICDS to cover the expenses and pass the bill to them later. A list of local medical centers will be given to students.



Cultural Adjustment

All students studying abroad will experience some degree of cultural shock. It is important for parents to be aware of the unsettling nature of the first days after arrival overseas and then again during the initial period after return to the home country. It is during these potentially “crisis” times that your support is most likely needed. The key to diminishing the negative effects of culture shock is for your daughter or son to recognize the process, give themselves time to adapt, and seek support. At ICDS we are aware of these emotions and our Program Counselor is a professional psychologist and counselor. He collaborates with the process of student integration into ULatina’s student life, as well as provides support during their adaptation to the new culture, the family, and the community through social and cultural activities. This provides international students with an additional opportunity for a more complete cultural immersion, which will in turn aid in their objective to improve Spanish language proficiency. For further support to minimize culture shock and maximize cultural immersion, ICDS’s Student Program Counselor organizes periodic cultural immersion sessions and private counseling sessions, when requested by individual students.


Parent FAQs

Will my daughter or son receive academic credit while abroad? Can my daughter or son study abroad and still graduate on time?

For students from ICDS affiliated  universities, all of our credits are recognized and hence, they will be able to graduate on time.

How much will it cost for my daughter or son to study abroad? Will financial aid still apply overseas?

Please feel free to speak with your daughter’s or son’s university about this issue.

How should I ensure that my daughter or son has money overseas?

In Costa Rica credit cards such as Visa and Master Card are received almost everywhere. Students can withdraw money from ATMs, which are abundant in San José.

What is ICDS’s Study Abroad refund policy?

There is a non-refundable deposit of $500 required upon acceptance to the program, and applicable to the tuition payment.  In the case of cancellations within the month  prior to the beginning of the program, a $1,000 cancellation fee will be applied.
In cases of a student withdrawal from the program during the first month of the program’s duration and for reasons that can be demonstrated and which are beyond ICDS’s and the student’s control, ICDS will refund 50% of the moneys not yet spent. There will be no refund after the first month of the program.

How safe is it for my daughter or son to study in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is not especially unsafe, but neither is it completely secure. General safety precautions are enough for living in Costa Rica. The student will be given personal safety tips and recommendations during Orientation and throughout the program. Students´ well being is ICDS’ priority.

Will my daughter or son have health insurance while in Costa Rica?

International students at ICDS are required to have their own health insurance with international coverage when coming to Costa Rica.

How often should I communicate with my daughter or son while they are in Costa Rica?

Your daughter or son will have access to computers and internet almost every day, so it should not be a problem to communicate. If you wish to call, on acceptance to the program, the student will be provided with a phone number and address of their host family. You may also reach them at the ICDS office, and at their own cell phone.

Can I visit my daughter or son while they are abroad?

Living and studying in Costa Rica is a unique and rewarding opportunity, so it is very likely that your daughter or son will want to share this experience with friends and family. However, visitors’ trips should be scheduled around the program calendar and class schedule. Classes, assignments, and other evaluations can NOT be made up because of absences incurred while entertaining visitors. You should try to schedule such visits for before or after the program or during scheduled program vacations (long weekends, Holy Week, etc).


How do I contact someone at ICDS?

Bernardita Rodriguez – Program Administrator
Jorge Nowalski – Academic Director and Chairman

Contact ICDS
International Center for Development Studies
P.O. Box  1412-1000
San José
Costa Rica

Tel: (506)2256-4625
Vonage: (617) 938-3725
Fax: (506)2256-8925

Our normal hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
For emergencies after office hours, students will be given an emergency contact at Orientation.

For more information, please refer to our Student’s Services, our Program Info, our FAQ and visit Costa Rica to learn more about this country.