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Living in Costa Rica

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Block 1  (5 Weeks):

Study in San Jose and the Central Valley. Students live in San Jose with Costa Rican families and study Spanish for four hours daily. In mornings sessions, students learn about different topics pertinent to the Central American context such as globalization, health care systems, environmental issues, and history, among others. A constantly evolving reading anthology, expert guest speakers, fieldwork, and local field trips are the tools used in getting at these topical issues. During a 1 week trip, time is spent exploring the current economic and political conditions of Central America and their indigenous communities, as well as the renewable energy efforts happening in Costa Rica. Students prepare for their field internships during this first month by planning their particular internships in consultation with faculty advisors.

Block 2  (8 Weeks):

After the first block in which staff closely evaluate students’ specific 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. ICADS offers over 65 structured internships and research opportunities in Costa Rica in the areas of environment, education, health, development, and wildlife conservation, and women’s studies. Internship placements are determined based on a number of factors, including student interests, previous experience, formal education, and level of Spanish competency. Internships with stricter requirements include those in the medical field.

Internship projects include, but are not limited to, the following: 

    • Working with indigenous communities. 
    • Working with women and children who are victims of violence at a non-profit organizations.
    • Working with a small farmer’s organization to promote sustainable agricultural practices.
    • Working with different NGO's in topics related to community development, human rights, education, recreation, etc. 

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

Application deadlines:

 Fall Semester  May 1
 Spring Semester  November 1



ICADS recommends 15 credits for the Social Justice and Internship Program, broken down as:

  • 3 Credits SPA Spanish
  • 3 Credits ECON/SOC 421 Latin American Perspectives on Justice and Sustainable Development
  • 9 Credits IND/RES Directed Internship

Keep in mind that the final number of credits granted is up to the university. Be sure to check with your university if you have questions about credits.


Financial Information:

Social Justice & Development Internship Tuition and Fees (Spring and Fall 2023)

 Deposit $500 
 Final payment $13,450 
 TOTAL COST $13,950 


Social Justice & Development Internship Tuition and Fees (Spring & Fall 2024)

 Deposit $500 
 Final payment $14,250 
 TOTAL COST $14,750 


Start Dates

Fall Semester 2023
Sep 04 2023 to Nov 29 2023

Spring Semester 2024
Jan 29 2024 to Apr 24 2024


13 weeks

Financial & Credit

Deposit: $500 (applied to total)

Tuition & Fees: $13,950 (Fall 2023)

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