Do Not Miss This Opportunity

Academics: 4
Support: 5
Fun: 5
Housing: 2
Safety: 4

I lived with a really kind, funny, and supportive Costa Rican family in San Jose, Costa Rica. They did not speak English, and were very accustomed to communicating with students who are struggling or beginners at Spanish, which was helpful for me even though I am not a beginning speaker. For the first five weeks I walked to the ICADS program center to take intensive 4-hour Spanish classes with a class size of four or five students. This was my favorite part of the program. Our Nicaragua trip in the middle of these five weeks took me out of my comfort zone, but it really prepared me for the issues I'd be working with for the rest of my time in the program. For the next eight weeks I tutored in English at a children's soup kitchen in an impoverished neighborhood in Costa Rica. Here I had a loose structure to work with; kids of all different ages and levels in English came in at random times for unpredictable lengths of time, and I had to ascertain what their tutoring needs were and how I could fill them during the time allotted, sometimes with twenty kids who needed help, sometimes zero. This was the most rewarding part of the program, and I made lifelong friendships with the soup kitchen staff and all the smart, kind, funny kids at the soup kitchen. The big drawback to the program, which I've heard other participants speak of as well, is that during the internship there is a feeling of isolation. All your ICADS friends are scattered all over Costa Rica and Nicaragua. I especially felt isolated because I had a hard time connecting to my fellow ICADS students. However, these feelings did not stop this program from being one of the most important academic experiences of my life, and I suspect that this isolation from other English speakers forced me to form deeper connections with my host family and the children I was working with. I am so glad I did this program, and I would recommend it to anyone. This was a huge building block in my personal and academic growth. Thank you, ICADS.

Would you recommend this program?
Yes, I would