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.
Helen is an environmental sociologist living and teaching in Costa Rica. She develops courses in Sustainable Development Studies and Environmental Policy, and lectures for the Central American Institute of Development Studies (ICADS) and Universidad Veritas. She participates in many creative sustainability projects, presently working with the .V BioCentre, and the BioMol Shark Team. She is a forest guardian, recuperating and protecting 13.4 ha of tropical forest at the San Miguel Forest Reserve.
Born in Costa Rica, Yanina studied Chemistry and then received a Master’s in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley. She was active in the regional environmental movement, as communications officer of the IUCN (World Conservation Union). She also worked at the Costa Rican Embassy in France and UNESCO, where she was instrumental for the inclusion of Cocos Island in the World Heritage List. She lives in Punta Leona, works as consultant and translator, and teaches environmental issues at ICDS.
Danielle Jean-Pierre studied Business Administration at the University of Costa Rica (UCR) and holds a master degree in Public Policy from the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO), Ecuador. She has extensive experience in supporting micro-entrepreneurship projects and economic empowerment of impoverished populations in Costa Rica. She also has experience in coordinating international study abroad programs.
Mr. Nowalski has a Ph.D. in Labor Issues and Social Security from The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Besides directing ICDS and ALIARSE, Dr. Nowalski has also been a consultant for international organizations such as, ILO, UNDP, OAS, Inter-American Development Bank, and the World Bank. Dr. Jorge Nowalski is author and coauthor, as well as editor of books and articles on topics such as trade and poverty, labor issues, social security, trade unions, human development, human security, corporate social responsibility, and public-private partnerships for development.
Liannette is a certified as a Peace Corps Language Proficiency Interviewer (LPI). She has more than 15 years of experience teaching Spanish as a second language in diverse educational organizations like CONVERSA, Peace Corps Costa Rica, Veritas University and ICDS.
Prof. Castro is a political scientist, social educator and English language specialist with graduate degrees from Universidad de Costa Rica and Universidad de Guadalajara, México. Her work experience is both on the academic field as university lecturer and in community projects in the fields of human rights and governance (UN System, World Vision). She has also been an OAS appointed electoral observer (national and international in Guatemala and Panamá), and has both researched and worked on advocacy and empowerment actions within Costa Rican social movements.
Rodolfo is in charge of the two Health Care Areas administered by Clinica Bíblica Hospital in agreement with the Costa Rican Social Security (CCSS), giving Primary Health Care access to more than 90.000 inhabitants in San José.
At Clínica Bíblica Hospital, Kenneth plays an active role in several international certification projects and processes. He works in the development of expansion and improvement projects for the Hospital, as well as new services and electronic medical records. He is in charge of a program that ensures a good experience for the patient and good relationships between patients and medical staff.
Andrés Madriz is a health economist from the London School of Economics with significant experience in international health policy and public sector reform with emphasis in developing countries such as Mexico, The Bahamas, Kosovo, and Kazakhstan. Over the past 7 years, he has worked with The World Bank and Sanigest International on a wide range of projects that focus on health financing and universal health coverage.
Jorge Nowalski, President and Academic Director of the International Center for Development Studies (ICDS), holds a Ph.D. in Labor Issues and Social Security from The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
With an MBA from the University of South Alabama and many years of experience in international education, she is in charge of ICDS’ administrative aspects.
With a B.A. in English Literature from Universidad de Costa Rica, she facilitates the communication with international partners and is in charge of ICDS’ admission process.
Alejandra holds a “Licenciatura” degree in Political Sciences from Universidad de Costa Rica and is in charge of ICDS’ community work opportunities, including internships and co-ops.
A psychology professional who facilitates the adaptation and integration process of the students to the culture, their host families, and the community where they do their experiential learning.
With years of experience in screening and selecting local families to host ICDS’ program participants, Nuria places students in suitable homestays and follows up on the family-student relationship throughout the program.
Nico holds a graduate degree in advertising and marketing communications from the Universidad Latina. He is in charge of the communication and marketing initiatives of ICDS.
Viviana supports ICDS’ Administration. She coordinates and arranges logistics for the non-academic services provided by ICDS.