About Us

Study Programs

Living in Costa Rica

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Although both semester programs are run at the same time and participate together in the five week “Block 1,” these two programs are separate and distinct. In the Field Program, students and faculty travel and work together for four weeks after Block I. During the last four weeks of the program, students live and work independently. When not on the road or living together in field stations, the students live in individual home-stays.

In the Social Justice and Development Internship Program, after the first five weeks, each student engages in a separate and independent eight-week internship in Costa Rica. In all countries, students live with local home-stay families.

In both programs, intensive Spanish training is part of the curriculum and the use of the language is constantly emphasized.

Spanish students are able to do volunteer work in the metropolitan area provided that they have sufficient Spanish upon arrival and that they are planning on participating for a minimum of one month. Students who choose this option are unable to attend the scheduled activities on the days when they work, but they will surely find the experience just as rewarding! Students who do not choose this option will have the opportunity to do one group community service activity per week (regardless of their Spanish level) as a part of the normal schedule of activities.

Most students simply register online, then send in their deposit. Once we receive your registration form and deposit, we will send you a receipt and a preparation guide booklet. Once these are sent, your enrollment is confirmed. At that point, it is essential that you send us your flight information so that we can arrange for someone to pick you up at the airport!

Two weeks before your arrival, we will have completed all the homestay placements (pending receipt of the deposit and family preferences), and we will email you with your host family information. Should you have any questions, feel free to text or call us on WhatsApp (+506 8908-3594) and we will be happy to give you more information about your future Costa Rican family.

For the Spanish Language Intensives, credits must be arranged and should be pre-approved by your home university. Credits cannot be transferred through Hampshire College, as with the semester-long programs. For both the Semester Internship and the Field Program credits can be arranged, if necessary, by ICADS with Hampshire College for a credit transfer fee of $300. We recommend that you consult your registrar’s office before participating in the program to determine if it is necessary to receive credits from Hampshire. Many schools accept ICADS credits directly. We are more than happy to send you all course information if your university requests it, as well as a list of schools that directly accepts ICADS credits.

The main staple in Costa Rica is rice and beans. If you are vegetarian, it is usually pretty easy to eat here. Most of our families are also accustomed to cooking vegetarian food. If you have any other special needs, please let us know. ICADS has over 65 homestay families, thus finding a family compatible with any student’s needs is not difficult. Our homestay coordinator is a psychologist who makes magical placements and handles any problems along the way!

Many travelers assume they will be covered for illnesses and injuries while abroad. The truth is, your domestic coverage may not travel with you. Emergency medical evacuation, repatriation and 24 hour emergency assistance services are typically not part of a domestic insurance policy. While we are all hopeful the unexpected will not happen to you, we want you to be fully protected from the unexpected.

Emergency Medical Evacuation, Repatriation and 24 hour Emergency Assistance Services (for help with medical and legal issues via a collect call from anywhere) are highly recommended for all ICADS participants. The average cost for air evacuation runs around $8,000 (and in some situations can run up as high as $50,000). It will be your responsibility to pay for it on the spot, unless you can show proof of insurance or flash your platinum Visa. So, we recommend that you have either this type of insurance, the money on hand or the Visa.

In addition to emergency medical evacuation, repatriation and 24 hour emergency assistance services coverage, we also recommend you consider supplemental medical insurance to “supplement” your domestic medical insurance. High quality “comprehensive” travel insurance protection is available for reasonable rates from a number of companies. If you have travel insurance while studying at ICADS, please make sure to provide ICADS with a copy of your policy as well as the collect call phone number for your 24-hour international emergency assistance provider. Check with your insurance provider to find out what options they offer.

You can absolutely receive letters at ICADS. Our PO Box is APDO 300-2050, San Pedro, San José, Costa Rica. Please note that letters can take around 2 weeks or more to arrive from the US. Also, things are sometimes lost in the mail, so we recommend not sending anything of value. As a reminder, deposit checks should be sent to P.O. Box 25331, SJO-826, Miami, FL 33102-5331

We strongly discourage sending any packages through the mail. Most packages are held and detained at customs, and to get them you need to go to the customs office and pay an import tax based on the value of the item. ICADS is not responsible for any costs associated with packages that are held at customs.

It depends on each student because everyone's expenses are different. Do take into account that students are supposed to buy their lunch every day (students typically go to a nearby supermarket and buy food for several days). The amount also varies if you are planning to go to explore on weekends (going to the beach, etc.)

The following is a list of some things and their approximate costs, to help you begin to estimate your budget:

  • Lunch $8 - 12
  • Bus Fare to Central San Jose from ICADS $1.00 or less, Taxi to Central San Jose from ICADS $5 - 10
  • One Way Bus Ticket to the Beach $7 – 15
  • Hostel $12 – 24/night
  • Hotel $20 and up
  • Drink $2 – 5

However, if you want an approximate amount, $300-$500 would be a good number.