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Drexel in Costa Rica: International Center for Development Studies (ICDS)
San Jose, Costa Rica
Program Terms: F/W/SP/SU,
Homepage: Click to visit
Program Dates &
Click here to view
Budget Sheets F/W/SP/SU,
Fact Sheet:
 Minimum Language Requirement:
SPAN 103
 Language of Instruction:
English, Spanish
 Minimum Cumulative GPA:
 Class Eligibility:
Junior, Pre-Junior, Senior
 Other Eligibility Requirements:
See Brochure for details
 Eligible Majors:
All Majors, International Area Studies, International Area Studies Minors, Spanish Minor
 Type of Program:
Free Standing
 Housing Options:
 Program Advisor:
Erica Sebastian
 Supplemental Application:
Program Description:
The Program

The ICDS Costa Rica program is a wonderful opportunity to live, study and even co-op in Costa Rica. Students spend one or more terms in San Jose, through a special arrangement with the International Center for Development Studies (ICDS). Through the program, students acquire in-depth knowledge and hands-on experience on the multidimensionality of human development and the current challenges faced by the region. For more information please visit

For more information about Costa Rica and ICDS, check out this YouTube video all about the program or Read first hand about this program from a Drexel student's blog!

Program Options and Dates

Students may choose to participate in any of the following program options, depending on their interests, co-op cycle, and whether they prefer a study only or a study + co-op in Costa Rica option.

    Fall study only: early Sept - late Nov (12 weeks) Students may need to leave summer term early.
    Winter study only (ICDS's Spring Semester): mid Jan- mid April (12 weeks)
    Spring study only: mid March - early June (10 weeks)
    Winter study + Spring/Summer Co-op: mid Jan - mid Sept (9 months)
    Fall/Winter study + Spring/Summer Co-op: early Sept - mid Sept of the following year (12 months)

Students should prepare to make adjustments and be flexible in fitting this program into their Drexel schedule. Due to the need for cycle adjustments, students should begin planning 12-18 months in advance.


Drexel students take courses on a variety of topics depending on their area of interest. All students take a Community Engagement course and a Spanish language course based on their language level. Courses are held at ULatina and the majority are taught in English. The courses are structured around lecture, student projects and participation, and presentations by field professionals. Faculty members are primarily Latin American scholars with international experience and education. The ICDS program also includes field trips and activities to enhance the learning experience. Students will receive Drexel credit and grades for the courses taken on the ICDS program.

Fall and Winter Study Programs: Development Studies in Latin America
Students take 5 courses for 20 Drexel credits. (Each course is worth 4 credits)

Students take 2 required core courses:

    Community Engagement & Local Development: A Service Learnng Course
    Spanish Language

Students also choose 3 of the following elective courses:

    Development in Latin America from a Gender Perspective
    Human Rights in Latin America: A Developmental Approach
    Politics and Democracy in Latin America
    Current Environmental Issues in Latin America
    Rural & Urban Sustainable Development
    Sustainable Tourism & Local Development
    Central American Literature (taught in Spanish)
    Latin America: A Mirror of Reality Through Film (taught in Spanish)

Spring Quarter Program: Language, Culture, and Development in Latin America
Students take 3 courses for 15 Drexel credits.

Students take all 3 of the following courses:

    Culture, Diversity, and Development in Central America (4.5 credits)
    Latin America: A Mirror of Reality Through Film (4.5 credits)
    Spanish Language (6 credits)

Click Here to view Drexel course equivalents for all ICDS courses

The language requirement for this program is Spanish 103, or the equivalent. To advance their language skills more quickly before studying abroad, students should consider taking more language courses during their freshman summer vacation term or on campus during their co-op terms. For more information please contact Modern Languages Department at 215-895-5816.

The Experience

San José is a cosmopolitan city with many cultural and recreational activities. It is located in Costa Rica's Central Plateau, surrounded by beautiful mountains and volcanoes, and within driving distance to the Pacific coast and Atlantic coasts. The urban transportation system is quite efficient, and you can take a bus to just about anywhere in the country.

Upon arrival, students receive a 2 day orientation, which provides students with insights and strategies to better manage the process of integration to a new cultural context, while allowing group interaction and integration. The program also includes field trips into other parts of Costa Rica to enhance your experience of the culture.

Drexel students will be housed with a host family in Costa Rica. ICDS's experienced home stay coordinator is in charge of the selection of host families and the placement of students with an appropriate one, as well as of the follow-up on the student-family relationship to solve any problems that may arise.


US citizens on ICDS's fall only, winter only, or spring only programs will not be required to obtain a visa. Students remaining in Costa Rica for more than 3 months and/or students who are not US citizens may be required to obtain a visa. Students may contact the Embassy of Costa Rica for more information.

Scholarship Information

This is a Drexel sponsored program, thus all of your financial aid travels with you. If you are interested in seeking additional funding, you should considering applying for study abroad Scholarship & Funding Opportunities.  Remember that scholarship deadlines may be much earlier than study abroad deadlines, so plan accordingly.

Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Winter 2015 10/01/2014** Rolling Admission TBA TBA
Winter/Spring/Summer 2015 10/01/2014** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Students will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.
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