Student Services

Arrival and Departure Assistance

ICDS Student Services

ICDS study abroad field trip


Students are required to provide ICDS, in advance, with complete information about their arrival in San Jose, so that ICDS may arrange for an ICDS staff member to meet them at the airport. ICDS staff, easily identified by a sign with the ICDS logo on it, will meet students outside the baggage claim area of the airport, and they will accompany the student to their host family’s house. Host families will assist students in the process of becoming acquainted with the new surroundings, the new culture, and the language, too. ICDS will also arrange transfers to the airport for the students’ departure at the end of the program.


For the semester and quarter programs, the ICDS on site orientation consists of a two-day session held at Escuela Juan XIII, a conference center in Tres Rios, in the mountains northeast of San Jose. The format of this session is an  interactive workshop that functions as a “buffer” to help diminish the effect of the culture shock that students may experience when immersed in a cultural context which is very different from their own. The session is conducted by a professional psychologist with ample experience in the area of multicultural education, and ICDS staff. Its main objective is to provide students with insights and strategies to better manage the process of integration to a new cultural context, while allowing group interaction and integration.

Practical information about security, living arrangements, and advising for the adaptation process is also provided, with an emphasis on safety in and around the San José area. Further, information regarding emergency plans and procedures is covered during orientation. 

ICDS also provides an academic orientation, in which students are introduced to the campus and facilities of the ULatina as well as to ICDS’ academic policies and expectations for the courses.

ICDS Counselor

 ICDS’s Program Counselor is a professional psychologist who also  acts as a social/cultural activity coordinator and collaborates with ICDS in the process of helping with the  integration of students to 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 particularly designed for this purpose. As further support to minimize culture shock and maximize cultural immersion, ICDS’s Counselor organizes periodic cultural immersion meetings and private counseling sessions, when requested by individual students.


Homestays are one of the most important parts of a student’s experience, facilitating immersion in and adaptation to the new culture and language, and helping students to integrate into the local society.

Students are expected to follow regulations set by both ICDS and the local family, in keeping with ICDS’ guidelines and policies. Problems or concern about host families should be brought to the immediate attention of ICDS staff and the homestay coordinator.

Take a look at our Homestay video to learn and get insight about what it is like living in a homestay! We want you to feel at home!

Special Needs Students (illness, disabilities, visual impairments etc)

When notified ahead of time, ICDS will make all the necessary arrangements to accommodate special needs students, providing an appropriate host family (one that knows about the student’s special requirements and is willing to fulfill them), and facilitating the student’s academic experience in ways within ICDS’s reach.

Student Visas

ICDS and ULatina assist students throughout the process of ensuring their legal status during their participation in ICDS’s programs. Students are responsible for following ICDS’ instructions regarding obtaining visas, submitting passports, birth certificates, police history records, passport-sized photos, fingerprints, apostilled documents, an affidavit of financial support, and any other document required by the Costa Rican Immigration Office when requested to do so by ICDS or ULatina.

Student IDs

ULatina and the Office for International Cooperation will assist students in obtaining ULatina student IDs. These IDs serve not only as the student´s identification while on campus, but may be needed as ID to show that he/she is an international student in Costa Rica (i.e. at national parks, or if asked by the police).


Students may use ICDS’s postal address to have their family and friends send letters or small packages to them. The address is as follows:

Student’s Name
C/O Centro Internacional para el Estudio del Desarrollo (ICDS)
P.O. Box 1412-1000
San José, Costa Rica

This address is appropriate for small packages or letters sent via regular US Postal Service Mail. It is very important to put the student’s name c/o ICDS, please do not put an ICDS staff member’s name or only write “ICDS.”

For larger packages or for items sent via DHL, UPS, FedEx, etc, please use ICDS’s physical location, not the PO Box. The street address of ICDS is:

Student’s Name

200 m. norte y 200 m. este de Jiménez & Tanzi, casa blanca esquinera, mano derecha
Lourdes de Montes de Oca
San José, Costa Rica
Tel. (506) 2253-5763/(506) 2253-1021

*ICDS will not be responsible for any payments due or for costs incurred for damages to packages sent to any of its international students at ICDS’s address. It is very important to put the student’s name c/o ICDS, please do not put an ICDS staff member’s name or only write “ICDS.”

Health Services

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 programs have access to both physical and mental health care while in Costa Rica

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.

First Aid/Field site safety

ICDS makes sure beforehand that the places where students are going to go on program field trips are suitable and safe. The sites visited should have some means of communication (phone, radio) so that the group could be contacted in case of any emergency, and they should be equipped with emergency medical aids (medicines, thermometers, blood pressure gauges, stretchers, etc.).

Computers and Printing

Students have access to the computer labs at the ULatina for internet access, use of lab computers, and printing. Students may have to pay a fee to print from the ULatina, and should check with the International Office regarding printing procedures.

Students who bring their own laptops can have them set up by the ULatina computing staff in order to be able to access wireless internet on the ULatina campus.

Also, internet cafes are numerous and inexpensive in Costa Rica. Many offer international calling services in addition to printing, fax, and other services.

More information regarding student services in PDF document: ICDS STUDENT SERVICES