About Us

Study Programs

Living in Costa Rica

Financial & Credit Information


Contact Us




COVID-19, Costa Rica, Study Abroad and ICADS

By: Diane Román

April 24, 2020

San José city empty in Holy Week. Photo from The Tico Times


I guess we all had plans for this 2020, but none of them included a global pandemic. Everything changed drastically due to COVID-19 in a few days, and real life has never been closer to fiction: cities are completely empty, international trade has stopped, economies are staggering, and most healthcare systems have collapsed.

Costa Rica is not an exception; however, the crisis has impacted the country differently than other Latin or even Central American countries where contrasts in the region are more evident lately. Costa Rica has a public and universal healthcare system, and has invested a lot in public education since 1948, year when army was abolished. That decision helped strengthen public institutions such as Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social, CCSS (healthcare institution) and University of Costa Rica (the country’s most important university). Both of them have been crucial in handling the coronavirus crisis.

On one hand, la Caja, as ticos call it, not only offers healthcare to every person with COVID-19 (suspect or confirmed) independently of their income, migration status, or any other condition. On the other hand, the Clodomiro Picado Institute from the UCR is working on three plasma-based strategies to treat COVID-19, which makes the country a pioneer at the regional level in creating a treatment against this virus, according to The Tico Times.

Besides that, president Carlos Alvarado announced yesterday that the country prepares to develop its own coronavirus tests. Costa Rica has the lowest mortality rate in Latin America with 0.6% and this week added the fewest number of known COVID-19 cases in more than a month with just 2 new cases last Monday. Today the country registers 687 cases, and 196 people have recovered.


Study Abroad and ICADS


Of course, we feel privileged to be in Costa Rica during these hard times, but it also makes us reflect on how our job at ICADS has changed. Our office is closed, we are all working from home, summer programs were cancelled, and our Spring semester has continued virtually.

However, times of crisis are also opportunities to explore new areas that otherwise we wouldn’t consider, especially in the study abroad sector where the word “online” was almost a contradiction. Now, it represents possibilities, adaptation, and survival.

At ICADS, we’re working on new study abroad online programs that allow students to get to know Latin American and Costa Rican contexts, but most importantly encourages them to reflect. These days, the concepts of social and planetary justice are more important than ever. We need to redirect our paths to more respectful relationships with the environment, and understand that every single decision we make (as people, societies or countries) is political and will impact others.

At ICADS we’re committed to cross-cultural education abroad. We are adapting by engaging the opportunities we have before us in order to continue to work in accordance with our mission.

December 12, 2022

ICADS Partner Spotlight: Celebrating 30 years with Pitzer College

ICADS and Pitzer College celebrate and reflect on 30 years of working together in Study Abroad!

August 17, 2022

Alumni Newsletter

A few weeks ago, ICADS received an email from an alumnus from 1993, which was only a few years into the existence of the program. Hearing a little about this once student's experience and how ICADS changed the trajectory of their life rang familiar to us here, and we hope to celebrate that legacy and the mission that enables it.

March 18, 2021

A Year in Review: Change and Adaptation in 2020

As we approach one year since the COVID-19 pandemic began, we reflect on a year of change and adaptation, and we look forward to a new chapter in 2021!