ICADS: Field Program in Costa Rica
100% Rating
(5 Reviews)

ICADS: Field Program in Costa Rica

It's ICADS 30th Anniversary!

The Field Program explores the connections between the social sciences and the natural sciences in community's strategies for well-being or "sustainable development."

This program offers the unique opportunity to meet and learn from a variety of pioneers in different movements and groups working towards sustainable development in Costa Rica.

Students do hands-on research in a variety of bio-regions. They design and carry out a culminating independent research project.

The program has a limited, intentionally small group size, to allow for greater professor attention and feedback for each student.

North America » Costa Rica
Program Type
Subject Areas
Conservation and Preservation
Cultural Studies
Earth Sciences
Global Studies
Hispanic Studies
Latin American Studies
Natural Sciences
Social Sciences
Sustainable Development
Degree Level
Host Family
Some Activities
Some Meals
Online Application
Official Transcripts
Letters of Recommendation
Starting Price
Price Details
These fees cover airport pick-up, classes, books, room and partial board (breakfast and dinner), all room and board during Block II and III, laundry service, computer and lab fees, a weeklong group trip to Nicaragua, and all course travel (excluding visa related fees).

See our website for scholarship information.

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

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Program Reviews (5)

Default avatar
22 years old
United States
Eckerd College



ICADS was an incredible experience. I got to travel and see more of Costa Rica and its people than I could have with any other program. Their dedication to hands-on learning is evident and David, Gabo and Kat are some really incredible people! There was very little time for self-care such as alone time, exercise and diet but it was all worth it for everything that we were able to be a part of. This experience changed me completely. Thanks so much!!

How can this program be improved?

We really just needed some more time to ourselves to care for our bodies/minds and to experience some of CR on our own.

Default avatar
22 years old
Ann Arbor, Mi
University of Michigan

My Favorite Form of Study


The ICADS field camp program was definitely my favorite time period spent studying in my life. It combined my passion for adventure and individual exploration with practical skills and education that one might achieve in a traditional educational setting. During the first month of study we spent a good amount of time in classrooms receiving lectures and engaging in discussion about the history of Costa Rica to give context to the new world we were living in. These along with the Spanish classes were much appreciated as they were applicable in my life outside of school and it a mostly if not completely relevant to my experience in San Jose and throughout Costa Rica. You will take a few field trips with class to demonstrate specific examples of your learning and it is fun to take some weekend excursions with your classmates to experience more of Costa Rica. I found the work load to be less than that which I usually have at my university. During the second portion of the course your class gets a bit smaller but you embark on longer field trips to study different parts of Costa Rica and their development as well as environmental regulations. You get many opportunities to do outdoor environmental activities for class and outside of class as well as bond with your field program classmates. Finally the last portion of the class is great for personal growth. As you embark on an individual journey to live with a host family in a much more rural area and work on your individual project. This tests your self-reliance, communication skills, and patience to achieve your project goals. It also allows you to organize your life how you want in order to finish your project and do more learning and adventuring just for fun. I loved this program and it was definitely the highlight of my college career.

Default avatar
22 years old
Ann Arbor, Michigan
University of Michigan

Becoming a more independent and passionate person in the world's most beautiful country


My three month experience in Costa Rica with the Field Program of ICADS was the most adventurous, challenging, and thought-provoking period of my life thus far. And I humbly thank the motivating and supportive professors and staff at ICADs for giving me such a diverse and authentic experience through their teaching and their ability to step back and let the experience of Costa Rican living teach us on its own. The three weeks I spent independently following my passion for research as part of the final segment of ICADS' programming took me completely out of my comfort zone, but with the tailored guidance and preparation provided by ICADS, the experience was able to be extremely eye-opening and empowering while also being safe and effective in its goals of making us better researchers. I would absolutely recommend ICADS' field program or intern program (since I studied with many intern students as well) to anybody who loves learning and living unconventionally while gaining critical skills in the interdisciplinary fields of sustainable development and social justice. Most of all, I look to ICADS as the place where i became a true global citizen, and I believe any and all can benefit from such an experience.

Default avatar
24 years old
Portland, Oregon
Pitzer College

Field Program is Awesome!


The Field Program is awesome!! I would highly recommend it! There is a lot of moving around and traveling the country, which is a great experience! It is four weeks of constant travel in a Prado with two professors and the students. You will participate in various sociological and biological experiences that vary from super exciting and awesome to terribly boring. The majority of the time is very fun and exciting! But it is important to remember that this program requires a lot of flexibility and willingness to try new things. Overall this is a great program and I would recommend it without hesitation.

How can this program be improved?

The professors need to be versed in basic car functions, such as changing flat tires, oil, etc. They also need to have an adequate first aid kit and medical emergency plan for every location they go to.

Default avatar
24 years old
Ann Arbor, MI
University of Michigan

Great Experience!


ICADS is a unique study abroad experience that combines both the typical classroom setting with hands-on/field experience. The first 5 weeks of the program I took a 4 hour Spanish class every morning and a 4 hour social studies class in the afternoon (with an hour lunch and breaks). For the social studies class, there were often guest speakers or trips to local community organizations. We also took a week long trip to Nicaragua. The next 5 weeks, the field students took their learning to practice. Every week we traveled to a different region of Costa Rica and conducted a variety of activities including: measuring wild life in a river, exploring the impacts of eco-tourism, bird watching, learning about different agricultural systems, and much more! This part of the program was an awesome opportunity to see almost all of Costa Rica while still being engaged in academic thinking. During the last 5 weeks or so of the program students had to propose and conduct and individual research project. I looked at oral health practices in a rural community located in the Talamanca mountains. In all, I really loved the fact that I got to live with more than one host family (as it gave me the ability to meet more locals); I got to learn both inside and outside of a classroom setting (a lot of travel was integrated into the program); and I was able to tailor the program to my academic interests (there is a lot of freedom in what you can do for the individual research project). It was great!

How can this program be improved?

I would like to have received more information about good/safe night-life places to go to and how to make more local friends. I really lucked out that my primary host family had 3 girls all about the same age as me to help me in this area and I know not all students had this great resource.

About The Provider


Offering a variety of study abroad programs in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, ranging from semester-long, month-long, and summer programs, ICADS has over 30 years of experience providing quality, hands-on immersion programs to connect students with Central Americans. We focus on economic development, politics, environmental studies,