• Costa Rica
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Program Details

Host Family
Weekly Hours


Starting Price
Price Details
Program fees include airport pick-up, three weeks of intensive Spanish instruction, class materials, room and partial board (breakfast and dinner), laundry service, round-trip transportation to internship sites, consultations and on-site visits, monitoring of the internship, a donation to the organization or community for supervision of the intern and group field trips.
Jan 19, 2017
Aug 28, 2013
5 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

This challenging hands-on internship program has it all: intensive Spanish preparation prior to the internship placement; professional cross-cultural facilitators to accompany interns through the experience and supervise the internship; and quality placements with partner institutions like NGO's, governmental institutions, and community groups.

ICADS' internship program offers over 65 placements in areas of areas of environment, education, health, development, wildlife conservation, and women’s studies, among others.

Students move from observing to participating and have the opportunity to go beyond cultural interaction and observation to cultural immersion and participation in a community.

Are you ready to get your hands dirty and to learn from pioneers in fields of development in Costa Rica and Central America? Come join ICADS' Summer Internship and Cultural Training Program!

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Program Highlights

  • Awesome internship placements in a variety of fields, ranging from local healthcare clinics, to schools, to conservation organizations, to human rights work, to work with migrants, children, or the elderly.... the list goes on and on!
  • Program coordinators who are true "cultural brokers," people who will accompany you through the cultural adjustment process and help you analyze the dynamics that you observe and participate in through your work in the community.
  • Intensive three week preparation prior to beginning your internship. You'll take Spanish classes, learn about the unique Costa Rican cultural context, and explore how to have thoughtful, intentional interaction and participation in your internship site an
  • Warm and inclusive host families who will welcome you into their family and make you part of their lives. Many of our students form relationships with their host family that last long beyond the end of the program!
  • You'll have the opportunity to put into practice many of the skills you've honed in a classroom! At ICADS you'll put the theory into practice!

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Program Reviews

5.00 Rating
based on 2 reviews
  • 5 rating 100%
  • 4 rating 0%
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  • 1 rating 0%
  • Growth 5
  • Support 5
  • Fun 4.5
  • Housing 5
  • Safety 4.5
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

One of the best 10 weeks of my life

I think the beauty of the internship program at ICADS is that it leaves the cultural training wheels on just long enough that, when you're basically on your own, you succeed more than you ever thought you could. However, like riding a bike, the training wheels stage isn't nearly as fun as it looks. Culture shock, at least for me, was a real thing, which made my first couple of weeks less pleasant. At times, I even wanted to go home. I think this had to do with the bugs in my bathroom, knowing no one when I arrived, and having trouble, at first, building relationships because of language difficulties. ICADS helped with this though, through really flexible and interesting language classes, excursions into San Jose and San Pedro to get our bearings, and even skits that clued us in on ways that Costa Ricans greet each other, which might be the most important tool for building relationships here!

Things got a lot better during the internship. I worked in a medical clinic north of San Jose, to which I commuted every day. It was an amazing experience. I rotated among different departments in the Clinic every week, like nutrition, the emergency room, the pharmacy, etc. The employees of the Clinic were really good to me! On my first day, I forgot my packed lunch, so the nurse I was shadowing that day took me to her sisters house for lunch. They fed me and introduced me to her sister's son, who was around my age, my first Costa Rican friend. Near the end of the internship, a group even threw me a surprise birthday party. I learned a lot and made some really great friendships. The things I learned was less hands on though. My role was basically to observe and help only with tasks that I knew how to do.

What would you improve about this program?
I would have liked to experience the less affluent parts of Costa Rica, especially around San Jose. I lived in a very nice part near San Pedro, which I am thankful for, of course. However, I know less fortunate parts exist, even if they are a little hidden from the foreigner. My one regret is that I did not experience these parts and meet the people that live in them. I wish ICADS would have provided an opportunity for this.
52 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

A Very Worthwhile Program

The Spanish classes were easy, but very helpful in brushing up on the basics before being sent off into an internship where you're obligated to speak Spanish all the time. The language barrier was at times frustrating, but being able to finally have a real conversation in a foreign language and working using only that language is a triumph that builds your confidence in your Spanish skills and in your ability to reach out and try new things. My internship was incredible; my bosses were very understanding of my limitations and strengths, so I always had a job to do that was both important and doable.

51 people found this review helpful.

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