Your Gap Year or Semester with the Institute for Central American Development Studies is a time to explore, to get to know yourself and the world. But we suspect you want something more than just adventure, which is plentiful in Costa Rica.
Study in San Jose and the Central Valley. Students live in San Jose with Costa Rican families, and study Spanish for four hours daily in the morning. In the afternoon students learn about different topics pertinent to the Central American context such as globalization, health care systems, environmental issues, and history, among others. A constantly evolving reading anthology, expert guest speakers and local field trips are the tools used in getting at these topical issues. One week in Block I is spent in Nicaragua where students are able to see first hand the current economic and political conditions in Nicaragua, and are challenged to compare and contrast its reality with neighboring Costa Rica. Students prepare for their internship experience during this first month by choosing the organization in which they will work and by planning their particular work in consultation with faculty advisors who are experts in the culture of the Costa Rica and in the students’ areas of interest.
In Block II, participants in this program take on an independent internship in the Central Valley to dive into the local culture and contribute to the mission of an organization working on social or environmental goals. During this time, Spanish professors answer your questions about the language and challenge you to get that extra edge you need in your communicative skills in Spanish.
Upon completion of the eight-week internship, students spend a week at ICADS completing written work and oral presentations, while processing their experiences as a group and together with their faculty advisors (including a reentry workshop).