• Costa Rica
    • San José
Subject Areas
Anthropology Biochemistry Biology Chemistry Cultural Studies Field Studies Food Science and Nutrition Health Sciences Hispanic Studies Latin American Studies Medicine Natural Sciences Nursing Psychology Public Health Public Policy Social Work Sociology Sports Science Sustainable Development +10

Program Details

Program Type
Degree Level
Host Family


What's Included
Accommodation Activities Airport Transfers Classes Meals Transportation Wifi
What's Not Included
Airfare Travel Insurance
Oct 25, 2019
Oct 15, 2019
7 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

ICDS, Hospital Clínica Bíblica, and Universidad Latina de Costa Rica work jointly to bring students a dynamic study abroad experience in Latin American and Caribbean health issues. Students learn about Costa Rica's unique health care model, the way global public health issues unfold in the region, and the language to work and interact with Spanish-speaking patients. Additionally, students gain hands-on experience via clinical rotations at Hospital Clínica Bíblica (for advanced Spanish speakers) and community work in social welfare services (for beginner and intermediate level Spanish speakers). All courses, with the exception of Spanish, are taught in English by ICDS' bilingual faculty.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Field trips and excursions around Costa Rica
  • Hands-on clinical rotations and/or community work in social welfare services
  • Spanish classes designed for medical professionals and the health care industry
  • An international field trip to neighboring country, Panama
  • Homestays with local host families that include meals, laundry, and WiFi

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Program Reviews

8.6 Rating
based on 5 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 40%
  • 7-8 rating 60%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Academics 8.4
  • Support 8
  • Fun 9.2
  • Housing 8
  • Safety 7.8
Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Lifechanging Winter

I had the time of my life in Costa Rica and I wish everyone could have a study abroad experience like I did. The Spanish classes were one of the most helpful things about the program because I was able to learn and practice my regular Spanish, but it also challenged me with specific medical vocabulary and how to talk to patients. I definitely left Costa Rica a much better Spanish speaker than when I arrived. I liked the rotations and community service that we did. I appreciate it more now that I'm back in the United States and I'm working more in hospitals here. Learning about how different the health care system is there has definitely changed how I think about things in my current rotations. I travelled around Costa Rica with the program a couple weekends and with other students on our own trips other weekends. I loved the all the beaches on the Pacific Coast and Monteverde, but coming from a city, I appreciated being based more downtown for classes with more things to do and places to go. I didn't have any issues with safety like others, but I'm used to the city and more people around. I had great homestay parents too. I felt like part of the family throughout my whole stay. If there was ever anything I didn't know or needed help with, my homestay family or someone from ICDS was there to help.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Bring lots of sunscreen and good walking shoes! San Jose was colder at night than I expected, but the sun in the middle of the day was intense.
21 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica, Study Abroad

My experience in Costa Rica through the ICDS program was a life-changing journey. The classes were useful and relatable, and the trips we took were breath-taking. I refined my Spanish and was encouraged to speak Spanish everywhere possible. The food was AMAZING, and everyone within the program and the country was talkative and friendly. Prior to the program, I was deciding whether I should have applied to Costa Rica or a Spain program, but I decided on Costa Rica because of my interest in underrepresentation in third-world countries, as well as the nature, and both of those interests were sufficed. I would recommend studying abroad to everyone interested in traveling, but I recommend the ICDS Costa Rica program to anyone interested in an immersive, picturesque experience.

What would you improve about this program?
I would ask about the safety of some neighborhoods. We were not properly informed about the safety of some areas.
20 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
No, I don't recommend this program

Be Wary of This Program!

To start off, I would recommend the program itself, but not this staff. The staff for the ICDS program were not very helpful and were abrasive or harsh with students at times. They are also highly unorganized. I am not the only one in my program (out of nineteen students) who has felt like this. After talking to many of my fellow students, a lot of us felt uncomfortable with the staff because they would be harsh or critical of questions we would ask them. The "counselor" would become heated at times which I find as unprofessional. The staff would be critical if a student makes ANY sort of mistake. We are human. We are prone to error. There was not one moment where I felt completely comfortable with the staff. When having trouble with my host family situation a few days after the program ended, the staff offered no help whatsoever and wanted to have "clean hands" away from the situation. This is very stressful for a student abroad since we are alone. The staff wants to maintain a good face but is deteriorating from the inside. Although the program itself was fun, you cannot depend on the ICDS staff. Please be wary.

What would you improve about this program?
The professional aspect of the staff. There was nothing professional about them when problems arose.
18 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program


I studied abroad through ICDS for 3 months in Costa Rica and it was one, if not, the best experience abroad I have had. The people and vibes are always very laid back and supportive. I got to experience first-hand how Costa Ricans employ solidarity in their country which was eye-opening especially for someone who lives in the US. The land is amazing and very attractive and easily accessible! The staff and admin from ICDS were very resourceful in helping us prepare and schedule traveling, as well as, getting accustomed to the culture. Additionally, ICDS worked hard to help us explore different locations such as Nicaragua!! I also got to make new friends and connections because of the many diverse students that ICDS recruits. Being in Costa Rica reminded me that, after school, there is a whole world waiting for me to explore it. I definitely plan on going back to Costa

What would you improve about this program?
Allow participants to have more class interactions with Costa Ricans.
20 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

A Time to Truly Blossom!

Prior to this program, I had traveled extensively, however, it was always with family. This was the first time I traveled alone for a large portion of time. I noticed that going abroad on my own allowed me to personally grow. When I returned home, I became so much more independent, responsible, RELAXED (which is a huge success given how stressed I was before), and appreciative of everything, especially family and friends.
Just that experience of personal development made the trip worth it for me. However, the sights I saw, adventures I experienced, and the information I learned about Costa Rica made it that much more incredible. I mean, come on, I saw sloths, ziplined across a huge cloud reserve, and Gallo pinto everyday (some people get tired of rice and beans but not me!). And the homestay was another way to fully integrate into the culture and get to know some nice locals.
I have to be honest, I was itching to get as the time to finish got closer. But it was an absolute wonderful experience, and I recommend that everyone study abroad somewhere at least once!
Thanks ICDS for the great experience!

What would you improve about this program?
A bit more organization on the part of the stuff.
18 people found this review helpful.
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