Why are ICDS programs in Costa Rica your best option for a lifetime experience?
The combination of robust academic courses with intensive Spanish complemented with community work, homestays, field trips and cultural activities provides you with a unique opportunity for experiential learning and civic engagement. All of these in a safe environment!

What does a semester program look like with ICDS?
ICDS’ semester programs are offered during Spring (Jan-April) and Fall (August-November). The courses are scheduled to meet twice a week. Community work is carried out twice a week also, and Spanish classes are taught in the afternoons.

Do I need to be fluent in Spanish?
Not necessarily. ICDS prefers for students to have had at least a year of Spanish at college level. This could be helpful in Costa Rica. All students are required to take a Spanish class along with the topical courses offered. Six levels of Spanish are available and a placement test will be given at the beginning of the term in order to determine the student’s level.

What is the weekly class schedule like?
This will depend on the program. However, in general, your day will usually start at 8:00 a.m. and finish at 5:00 p.m. Depending on the program, at least Friday afternoon may be off.

How will I obtain credit for the courses taken?
ICDS and its partner, Universidad Latina de Costa Rica, will issue an official grade certification one month after completion of the program, which will be sent to the student´s home university. Credit transfer depends on each school’s requirements. Schools holding institutional agreements with ICDS grant credit directly when they receive the official transcript. Other schools require their students to submit the course syllabus for approval previous to the beginning of the program.

How do I apply?
You should check the general requirements we have for our different programs and fill out our application form. You will find these in our Apply section.

What are the payment policies?
Full payment is due prior to the start of the program on the date indicated by ICDS. Students attending as part of an agreement with their home universities will handle it directly with their universities. There is a $500 cancelation fee if, after getting accepted into a program, you cancel anytime up to one month before the beginning of the program. The fee for cancellations taking place within the month before the program’s start is $1,000 plus any program expenses already incurred on your behalf. There will be no refund after the first month of the program.

When will I get my family placement information?
ICDS will e-mail each student his/her host family information two weeks before the beginning of the program.

Will I have internet access?
Yes! Wireless Internet access is guaranteed in your homestay, ICDS office and in our partners’ buildings and campuses.

Who will pick me up at the airport?
When ICDS receives the student´s arrival information, arrangements will be made for an ICDS staff member to meet the students at the airport and for private transportation to their host family’s home.

What will the weather be like in San José?
The climate in Costa Rica is tropical, with two seasons per year –the dry season from December -April, and the rainy season from May- November. The average temperature in San José is approximately 75° F (24°C) all year round. The dry season is characterized by clear skies, sunny days, and breezy weather; however San José can get fairly chilly in the evenings in December and January. The rainy season is characterized by warm and humid mornings, and often stormy afternoons and evenings.

What should I pack?
Before your arrival we will send you tips and weather information to pack accordingly. However some basic items are: tennis shoes, flip flops, swimsuit, rain jacket, pants (jeans), a few nicer outfits, sunscreen and repellent, backpack, hiking boots, umbrella, and your medication.

What kind of immunizations is required for students going to Costa Rica?
No immunizations are required to enter Costa Rica. However, we recommend that you get the seasonal flu shot before leaving the US, as both spring and fall semesters run during the country’s rainy season (May through November).

Does ICDS offer health services or insurance?
International students at ICDS are required to have their own health insurance with international coverage when coming to Costa Rica. Students in all of ICDS programs have access to both physical and mental health care while in Costa Rica. Students will be responsible to cover her/his medical expenses, saving the bills to get reimbursements from their insurance company upon their return.