Your Gap Semester is a time to explore, to get to know yourself and the world. But we suspect you want something more than just adventure, which is plentiful in Costa Rica. Study with us and make the most of your gap semester!

ICADS Program Outline (13 Weeks Total)

Throughout the semester, students will be living with one or more welcoming Spanish-speaking host families that will engage with them and provide them with their boarding needs. 


  • 5 Weeks
  • Rigorous academic schedule paired with the challenges of cultural immersion and language learning
  • This block and seminar are core and essential prep for engaging thoughtfully with Costa Rica and the rest of the semester

Latin American Perspectives on Justice and Sustainable Development: ECON/SOC 412

8:15-12pm, M-F | 3-4 credits

Lectures and activities each morning pertaining to the course topics of development, ecology, sociology, & economy. Course work, readings, and assignments are in English. 

  • Multidisciplinary approach to the sociological and economic issues of Latin America and Costa Rica within our ever globalizing world. 
  • A constantly evolving reading anthology, expert guest speakers, fieldwork, and local field trips are the tools used in exploring topical issues.
  • Interaction and engagement with culture through living with local host families and Spanish with Costa Rican professors 
  • Deep engagement with the cultural reality and different perspectives; some assignments involve conversations with locals or semiformal social interviews 
  • Process groups, reflective written assignments, discussions and office hours are all spaces for the students to grapple with their experiences.
  • 1 week is dedicated to a trip to the Caribbean province of Costa Rica

Spanish Course: SPA

12:45-4:15pm, M-F | 3-4 credits

  • Students are broken into small groups with peers at their same Spanish level for an intimate and conversational course. 
  • Course taken is determined by Spanish level.

Block 2 (8 Weeks):

Internship on Social Justice and Development: IND/RES 451

4-6 hours daily, M-F | 9-12 credits

  • Based on educational needs, interests, and Spanish proficiency, students are placed in an individualized internship to gain experience in urban or rural areas in a field of their interest. Only one student is placed at each internship site.
  • With previous communication, an internship may be arranged in an area of special credit interest/need of a student.

Examples of potential internship areas:

  • Indigenous communities 
  • Non-profit organizations working with women and children who are victims of violence (stricter requirements when working with juveniles)
  • Small farmers organization to promote sustainable agricultural practices 
  • NGOs in topics related to community development, human rights, education, recreation, environmental sustainability, etc.
  • Public or private medical sector (stricter requirements)
  • Businesses with marketing or tech needs 
  • Coffee or Cacao Agroforestry Projects

Students are expected to intern Mon-Friday, 4-6 hours a day, with a flexible schedule depending on the site’s needs. 

Students are expected to complete readings, bi-weekly reflections, and check-ins

At the conclusion of the internship, students return to ICADS to complete written work and oral presentations, while processing their experiences as a group together with their faculty advisors (including a reentry workshop).

Application Deadlines:

 Fall Semester May 1
 Spring Semester November 1

Financial Information:

Gap Semester Tuition and Fees (Spring and Fall 2024)

 Final payment$14,250 
 TOTAL COST$14,750 
  • Fall Semester 2024
    • Sep 02 2024 to Nov 27 2024
  • Spring Semester 2025
    • Feb 03 2025 to May 9 2025
  • Fall Semester 2025
    • Sep 01 2025 to Dec 5 2025
14 weeks
& Credit
Deposit: $500 (applied to total) Tuition & Fees: $14,750