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Programs : Brochure

  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2020 10/01/2019
01/08/2020 04/03/2020
Fall 2020 03/02/2020
09/09/2020 12/06/2020

** Some programs accept students on a rolling admission basis. Students may be notified prior to this date of acceptance into the program.

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Program Description:
Hosted by:  International Center for Development Studies (ICDS) Costa Rica

Academic Focus:
Latin American Studies, Environmental Studies, Spanish, and International Studies. This program is open to all majors, but may be particularly suitable to students with academic interests in the majors listed above.

Eligibility Requirements:
Minimum 3.0 GPA; good academic standing. One semester of college level Spanish (SPAN 101) or one year of high school Spanish (or its equivalent).

Program Information:
The International Center for Development Studies (ICDS) is a non-profit organization aiming at promoting international education. It is affiliated with Universidad Latina, the largest private Costa Rican university (and one linked to the Laureate International Universities network), which makes its facilities available to foreign students enrolled in the ICDS study abroad program. Students take their classes at Universidad Latina with local Costa Rican classmates and have access to the other student resources on campus. 

The ICDS Costa Rica program offers fall and spring semester programs which include classes from an array of disciplines and topic areas related to sustainable human development, such as human rights, society and development, the environment, social justice and, of course, Spanish language.

Sustainable Development and Social Justice in Latin America
ICDS's Fall and Spring semester programs give students a variety of course offerings to customize their study abroad experience in accordance with their interests, preferences, or academic requirements. Students will take two mandated courses: Spanish language and "Community Engagement and Sustainable Human Development: A Service-Learning Course," the latter consisting of community work complemented with reflection spaces in the classroom. This program allows students to choose three elective courses, allowing them to focus on human rights/social justice, environment/sustainability, or a combination of the two.

The Human Rights/Social Justice elective courses offered give students the possibility to acquire in-depth knowledge on human rights and their relationship with human development while living and studying in Costa Rica. Gender issues, social cohesion, and the dichotomy of exclusion and inclusion are also examined, adopting a developmental approach. In addition, the effort to strengthen democracy, as well as the impact on development of Latin America’s relationship with the outside world is analyzed. By means of applied theory, policy discussion, and field trips students enhance their understanding of Latin American reality and the challenges that the countries of the region face to secure sustainability and equality in their development processes.

The Environment/Sustainability courses offered explore the challenges that Latin American countries face to secure the sustainability of their development. The concept of sustainability adopted for this program is multidimensional, and the relationships of the non-environmental dimensions (i.e., economic, social, political and cultural) to the environment are analyzed. The spatial aspect of development is also studied, as well as the impact of tourism on conservation and local development. The use of case studies, policy discussion and field trips enable students to assess the efforts carried out by different stakeholders in the quest for sustainability and development in Latin America.

Service-Learning options: ICDS has a network of organizations that students may engage and participate in service-learning during the semester (opportunities ranging from teaching English to working with the elderly, children, and persons with disabilities). These connections are some of the most rewarding experiences our students have while they are in Costa Rica, and it helps them improve their language and immerse themselves in the culture. Students also have the option to stay on after the academic program is over and do an internship with the organization they have been volunteering with. Some ICDS partner organizations include ALIARSE (which focuses on private-public partnerships as a development tool) and Costa Rica Multilingüe (an organization that is dedicated to teaching English to Costa Ricans so that they are able to get jobs in the tourism sector, which makes up 95% of Costa Rica’s economy).

Students are required to enroll in 5 courses (for 3 credits each) for a total of 15 credit hours. Students must enroll in one Spanish language course. The majority of courses are taught in English to maintain their high academic level, but there is an elective course taught in Spanish for students with an advanced Spanish level, and students can opt to do their coursework in Spanish if desired. Course elective options depend on the courses in which the students enroll. If fewer than six students sign up for any one elective course, it will not be offered that semester, and students will be given the option to take another course.  For a description of courses, please visit the ICDS website.

Credit and Grade Translation - ICDS Costa Rica

Emory College Study Abroad maintains a list of blanket approved courses. This list specifies how courses taken abroad will transfer back to Emory. PLEASE NOTE: Students may obtain additional approvals for courses that are not currently on this blanket approved list: Blanket Approval List.

Living Arrangements:  Homestays with carefully-selected Costa Rican families are an integral part of ICDS’s programs, and all students are required to live with an assigned host family.

Costs: A full description of the program costs and billing procedures is available in the budget sheets. Please click here for Budget Sheets. Fall   Spring

Financial Aid/Scholarships:
Students are eligible to carry existing financial aid and scholarships on Emory-approved study abroad programs. Students may also be eligible to apply for the following scholarships: Diversity Abroad (scholarship for under-represented students), NSEP Boren Scholarship, and Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship. For more information, please click here.

Kate Dawson, Study Abroad Assistant Director,

This program is currently not accepting applications.