What people say about ICADS
I just wanted to take a moment to write to all of you and tell you what a great impact ICADS has had on my life.
As I write to you now, nearly ten years later, I sit in a room filled with Boruca masks and tiny Nicaraguan paintings (as well as crafts from other journeys). My time at ICADS changed the course of my life. I was a photography student at Hampshire College, enjoying enough Spanish classes on the side that my exasperated adviser said, "Just go somewhere and learn Spanish so that you can come back and concentrate." A couple of my classmates recommended ICADS. Timid about traveling anywhere I perceived to be too "third-world", I thought Costa Rica sounded safe enough.
I studied with ICADS in the spring of 2004, staying with a family in Curridabat for the language portion and in El Chile, Matagalpa, Nicaragua for the internship, working with Tejidos Indígenas. These experiences not only nurtured my love of languages, they also fueled my interest in social justice, as anyone who has heard my "banana rant" can tell you.
I actually think of ICADS quite often. I think of ICADS each time I eat a banana or cook rice and beans. I think of ICADS when a sudden rainstorm blows through on a hot day. I think of ICADS whenever I see someone ironing their jeans or crossing a busy street. I was thinking of ICADS when I joined the Peace Corps, telling my recruiter, "After two months in Nicaragua I was just beginning to learn all of my co-workers' names. Time moves much slower there. I realized that I needed more time in one place in order to make any kind of difference." I arrived in Paraguay fluent in Spanish and prepared to live and work in rural areas. Not many trainees already know how to water a dirt floor to keep the dust down. It did take me some time, however, to shake the tiquísmos from my vocabulary. I was also thinking of the small and caring language classes at ICADS many times during the last year as I studied to receive my master's degree in TESL. When planning lessons for my students, I remember what was effective for me. Also, of course, I made so many deeply embarrassing language and cultural mistakes in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, I am forever humbled and can really empathize with my students as they struggle in this culture.
Now, as I begin my work as a language professional, people ask me how I got interested in languages, cultures, and travel. I tell them, "Well, when I was in college I studied at a small school in Costa Rica..." Thank you for everything.
«I feel that my ICADS experience was a unique character-building opportunity that has equipped me with the open-mindedness and interest in foreign cultures that I will need for future opportunities. I still stay in touch with fellow students and I loved representing ICADS at my school's study abroad fair. ICADS is an amazing program that bolstered my undergraduate education and personal development. I am honored to call ICADS somewhere I have studied, and its faculty friends of mine.»
«The spirited nature of ICADS and its community has enabled me, for the first time in my life, to gain a sense of duty I have for others. Every day I spent there remains imprinted in my memory; ICADS has motivated me to do something with myself and have a purpose beyond me. My professor, Karina, had mentioned to my class of three that we, "shouldn't feel guilty about the things we see in Rio Azul." Rio Azul is a community of about 400 children and single women escaping domestic violence. ICADS is more than an academic avenue, it's a rounding experience. They took my class to the community and had us meet the people there; a saying I heard which has stayed with me throughout the years is, "Help starts at home." I now am in the process of shipping clothing and toys to the community while filing a 501(c)3 for non-profit status. ICADS remains a sort of emotional home for me. When the phone number I used to contact the Costa Rican founded and based NGO La Casa San Lazaro there expired, ICADS personally took time out of their day to obtain the new number for me, someone over 3,000 miles away.
On top of the commitment to education, friendship, and peace, ICADS has provided me with role models and the only true professors to teach a language in a way that clicks with me and that I could grasp. I have studied five languages and I am on my way to a sixth, so I have seen many professors not nearly as qualified or adept as those at ICADS. The words of veneration I have for ICADS are too abstract for me to place into any language, because I have a feeling I would not be able to do it the justice ICADS deserves.
I am honored to call ICADS somewhere I have studied, and its faculty friends of mine.»
«My experience at ICADS was great. I came down to Costa Rica with a set of goals for myself established. By putting myself in the mindset that I needed to talk as much as possible in Spanish, integrate more with my family and the locals than with other extranjeros. I feel that I learned a tremendous amount in 4 weeks. The classes at ICADS can be used as a base, or a supplement, to 4 weeks of independent learning. Participating in ICADS in this way greatly increased the productivity of this experience for me. I found the staff at ICADS approachable and helpful. The opportunity to volunteer at a local school was a great additional aspect of the program – the volunteering sold me on the program and it was a great experience. I thought the entire experience through ICADS was great. You can learn so much in 4 weeks – but if you can stay longer, do so! Thanks to the ICADS staff!»
«If you want to become bilingual and bicultural ICADS is the program for you. They provide you with quality structure and support. They cater to every Spanish speaking ability and provide numerous adventuresome, eye-opening experiences. Learning should be a fun experience. ICADS will do that and more- a lifetime change.»
«I would definitely recommend this program even though I want to keep it for myself. I would say that the experience, not only changed my life for the short time I was here but, it will continually change me and I honestly couldn't ask for more.»
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