Multiple Locations +2
  • Nicaragua
  • Costa Rica
Fall, Spring
Subject Areas
Agriculture Anthropology Arts Biology Conservation and Preservation Cultural Studies Ecology Economics Education Global Studies Health Sciences Hispanic Studies History Latin American Studies Life Sciences Marine Biology Medicine Natural Sciences Nursing Peace Studies Physical Therapy Political Science Psychology Service Learning Social Sciences Sociology Sustainable Development Tourism Women's Studies +19

Program Details

Program Type
Degree Level
Host Family


Starting Price
Price Details
Includes airport pick-up, classes, books, internship placement and supervision, donation to internship organization, room and partial board (breakfast and dinner), laundry service, round-trip transportation from San José to internship sites in Costa Rica or Nicaragua, field trip expenses and a weeklong group trip to Nicaragua (excluding visa related fees).

See website for scholarship opportunities!
Oct 10, 2018
Aug 21, 2014
7 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Costa Rica is perhaps best known for its ecological diversity and the abolition of its army. In lieu of a military, it has an "army" of teachers and healthcare workers, positioning Costa Rica uniquely in the region in terms of human development. In addition to internships in education and the public health sector, ICADS' internship program offers over 65 placements in areas of areas of environment, development, wildlife conservation, agriculture, and women’s studies, among others.

This for-credit program prepares students for their 8 week internship by first providing a 5 week block of classes to both help ground students in the context and issues facing this region while also improving their Spanish communication abilities through small (no more than 4 students per class) intensive Spanish classes.

Gain hands-on experience and knowledge; move beyond the theory into the practice, and put your views of development and justice to the test in ICADS' internship program.

Program Reviews

5.00 Rating
based on 5 reviews
  • 5 rating 100%
  • 4 rating 0%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Academics 4.4
  • Support 4.6
  • Fun 5
  • Housing 3.8
  • Safety 4.4
Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Shaped the rest of my life choices

Living with a host family is something I believe is critical to long-term study abroad experiences. There is truly no other way to learn about the culture as in-depth as having a host family and essentially becoming a member of that family.

The ICADS program finds incredible host families in San Jose (for the first month or so of the program) and outside the metro when students do field work or an internship. I am so glad I found this program. I still keep in contact with my host family and was so moved by my internship experience, assisting with health education on the border of Nicaragua.

My Spanish skills improved so much while in Costa Rica thanks to the intense classwork and immersion program that has been so well thought out. I wish I could go back again and again!

57 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Life changing

This was great experience for me. The first month was in San Jose, where you take classes in Spanish, local history and politics during the week with educational and or recreational trips on weekends. I had a lot of fun during this period and you really get to know the 15 or so other students participating. The teachers and administrators are awesome as well.

After the first month, you go on your own for your Internship. They have loads of options in varying fields all over the country and in Nicaragua as well. I chose to work in Cobano a small village on the Nicoya Peninsula. ICADS set me up with an awesome family for my home stay. The parents were cool. I would often have late night drinking sessions with the patriarch while watching football. (Viva Saprissa!). And their children were adorable, I spent many afternoons hanging out with them around town or at the rivers or beaches near by.

My internship was actually more like two related internships. In the mornings I assisted at the CEN (Centro de Educación y Nutrición). Essentially a day care, I helped wrangle a bunch of unruly 3-5 year olds and made sure they ate all of their lunch. It was tons of fun, although not particularly challenging.
The other was more aligned with my interest in education. I worked as an English teacher at a neighboring villages elementary school. It was about a 30 minute walk along a deserted dirt road, but I wasn't complaining. It is through beautiful country side and I would often see troops of howler monkeys swinging through trees. It was hot, but as often as not a Tico would offer me a ride in a car, back of a truck, or once over the rear wheel of an ATV that already had four other people on it. I really enjoyed teaching the 4th 5th and 6th graders English. They were keen students and did well even though they were starting from zero. I also raised funds to add an English section to the library. My experience there was very rewarding. As an added bonus of living with no English speakers for miles, my Spanish level quadrupled.

ICADS is an amazing program that I would recomend highly. Great for internships in so many areas.

What would you improve about this program?
The course work during the first month was more rigorous than I expected. The classes on Costa Rican history and politics were interesting, but I would have preferred to focus on learning Spanish.
57 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

eye opening

I lived with a family in a small fishing village for most of my experience with ICADS. It was amazing. I learned from the local people how to build, fish, milk cows and tend to olive ridley turtles.

What would you improve about this program?
One of the classes I took on sustainable development before my experience living on the farm seemed a bit one sided. The class pushed non-capitalist ideas and gave strong arguments to further their point, but they did not do a great job explaining why capitalism is a good thing and how to use our current system to change things.
56 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Internship Program Review

The Internship Program is great! As long as you are in an internship that you enjoy and are busy with it will be a great program. There is a lot of down time so is important to stay busy. It is mainly important that the internship you are participating in is what you want because it would be a very dull experience otherwise.

What would you improve about this program?
I would try to make the assignments more reasonable and not as lengthy. They were a bit extensive
54 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Do Not Miss This Opportunity

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.

What would you improve about this program?
I would put the Nicaragua trip after the first five weeks; it came really early and I felt really freaked out being with a new host family when I hadn't really gotten used to my first one, and spending most of the days running around to new places with the ICADS students, who I hadn't really become comfortable with yet, either.
52 people found this review helpful.

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