“ICDS made it clear from day one that they intended for us to become as cultured as possible; during our orientation session we were given lessons on Costa Rican etiquette, ranging from day to day communication to colloquial language. The quality of the education I was getting became instantly noticeable when I would interact with other fellow Americans that were visiting Costa Rica; some of them simply could not comprehend why the bus drivers would get mad and start yelling when they stood in the doorway of the bus. Thanks to the very productive orientation session, such everyday norms were apparent to me since day one (if you don’t know what I’m referring to, come to San Jose and witness this for yourself).
Every trip that we took with the program was organized and culturally relevant. Naturally, traveling long distances in a foreign country can be very nerve-racking; however, ICDS made sure that our travel accommodations were comfortable, safe and efficient. With our trip to Nicaragua, the program was somehow able to set up a visit to a health clinic and have us speak to one of the head physicians of the community health centers in the area! Such an information session proved to be insightful and further supplemented our learning of the Latin American health systems.
Personally, what I thought was most beneficial was the program´s focus on healthcare and the learning of the Spanish language. While I am in the process of applying to medical schools, I am starting to realize that so many components of the program will look impressive on my application. For one, the medical Spanish class, aside from being one of the best Spanish classes I’ve taken, introduced me to a vocabulary that I will indubitably use in any healthcare related job that I might hold in the future. Having us live with a Costa Rican family also ensured that we would practice our Spanish daily. Furthermore, the Costa Rican health care system is aimed at improving the welfare of all members of the society, a notion that all the teachers try to get across in their lectures. Clearly, such an ideal is important to have for anyone trying to enter the healthcare workforce.”
Ultimately, Costa Rica is a wonderful and welcoming country. Combined with ICDS’ great trips, advice and school curriculum , I would recommend this program to anyone looking for potential study abroad destinations!¨ Piotr Jurgielewicz, Drexel University student, part of ICDS´ Winter Quarter 2014 ¨Nursing and Health Care in Latin America¨ program