About us

What we do

Since 1999 the International Center for Development Studies (ICDS), based in Costa Rica, provides students with the opportunity to study abroad and participate in academic programs with a focus on sustainability and social justice while experiencing a new culture and language. Experiential learning is a key element of ICDS’ programs, providing context and tools for a better understanding of the challenges that Latin American countries face to achieve sustainable development. Community work, field trips, and living with local families are main features of ICDS’ programs. These offer students a well-rounded experience.

ICDS also provides universities and colleges abroad with the possibility of developing customized programs –at undergraduate and graduate level– run jointly with ICDS. These may include faculty-led and special short-term programs focusing on topics within ICDS’ areas of expertise and intended for participating students and faculty to learn about diverse aspects of the country’s sustainable development process, while experiencing Costa Rica’s language and culture.

Why we do it

With its ample experience in international education and its faculty’s expertise in sustainable development, ICDS aims to empower students as responsible global citizens, helping them develop awareness and capacities to value and adapt to new cultures, as well as to respect diversity. Costa Rica’s historical advocacy for human rights and sustainability makes it an excellent stage for ICDS to reinforce the students’ commitment to make the world a better place.

How we do it

ICDS’ study abroad programs are enhanced by its qualified, interdisciplinary faculty, who are also practitioners involved in the areas they teach. To further enrich the students’ experience ICDS incorporates experiential learning as its teaching methodology. Through the different study abroad programs, students are given the opportunity to engage in community work. At the same time, ICDS’ service-learning courses provide reflection spaces to help them go beyond the understanding of development problems and analyze and propose solutions and positive changes. Several local and international field trips are essential components of ICDS’ programs. They contribute to the understanding of sustainable development issues. Another key feature of ICDS’ study abroad programs is student lodging in homestays, which provides further exposure to Costa Rican culture and an opportunity to improve their Spanish skills in a safe and friendly environment.

In short, the International Center for Development Studies is a space where a group of professionals from diverse backgrounds join forces to expand students’ horizons and foster responsible global citizenship.


Institutional Partners

International Universities