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  • Locations: San Jose, Costa Rica
  • Program Terms: Vacation Summer, Winter
  • Restrictions: Drexel applicants only
  • Dates / Deadlines
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Click here for a definition of this term Language of Instruction: English, Spanish Click here for a definition of this term Minimum Cumulative GPA: 3.0
Click here for a definition of this term Class Eligibility: Freshman, Junior, Pre-Junior, Senior, Sophomore Type of Program: Free Standing
Click here for a definition of this term Program Advisor: Ashley Trump Academic Focus: Formal and Natural Sciences, Health, Pre-med, and Nursing, Humanities and Social Sciences, Language Focused, No or Minimal Language Requirement
Program Description:
Program Overview | Eligibility | Academics | Program Calendar | Housing | Visa | Cost & Financial Aid | More Information

Drexel in Costa Rica: Healthcare in Latin America

Volcano in Paos Picture

Program Overview

Drexel has partnered with the International Center for Development Studies (ICDS) to offer 2 study abroad options for students in Nursing and Health Professions, Pre-Med, and Global Health: a 6-week summer vacation program for freshmen and an 10-week winter term program for sophomores, pre-juniors, and juniors. Both options give students the opportunity to explore health care in a developing country while furthering their Spanish language skills and gaining an understanding of the life and culture of Costa Rica. Students will acquire the necessary language proficiency to work and interact with Spanish speaking patients and their families, as well as with colleagues in a Spanish-speaking environment. Having Spanish skills plus knowledge of Latin American health issues will better prepare any student for working with the large Hispanic population in the United States.


  • 3.0 minimum GPA
  • SPAN 101 (for the winter term option), no language prerequisite for Freshmen (for the summer term option)



ICDS Summer 2021- Freshman Summer

* Takes place during summer vacation term
* 6-week program
* 2 courses for 9 pre-approved transfer credits (students pay ICDS directly for tuition and fees)
* On-site orientation, cultural activities, weekend excursions
* Community work in clinical rotation or social welfare services
* NO language prerequisite


 Drexel in Costa Rica: ICDS Healthcare Winter 2021

* Takes place during winter academic term
* 10-week program
* 4 DU courses for 16 credits (students are registered at Drexel and pay regular Drexel tuition)
* On-site orientation, cultural activities, weekend excursions
* Community work in clinical rotation or social welfare services
* Students must take Spanish 101, or take a placement exam and place into Spanish 102 or higher.
Costa Rica - ULatina
Community Volunteer Opportunities: A unique part of the ICDS programs is volunteering in a local facility or community organization related to your field.  The volunteering continues the learning process beyond the classroom, by gaining first hand insight, exposure, and experience in working with local populations. Spanish language skills are also strengthened through the volunteering.
Students will participate in 1 of 2 experiential learning placements. Both options take place twice per week for 3 - 4 hours.
--(Upper level Spanish required): Clinical rotation conducted at Hospital Clínica Bíblica (HCB), Costa Rica’s largest and most prestigious private hospital. Limited spots available.
--(Beginner/Intermediate Spanish): Community work in social welfare services.
Co-op Option: This option is only available to students who study abroad at ICDS. Students who achieve high intermediate Spanish language are eligible to pursue a co-op in Costa Rica. ICDS will facilitate the placement of Drexel students in co-op positions relevant to their field. Students may choose to fulfill a co-op in Costa Rica for 6 months, or 3 months in Costa Rica and 3 months in the US. Co-op’ing in Costa Rica gives students international work experience, allows them to use Spanish in real life situations, and give students deeper understanding of Latin American health care, culture, and communities.
Students who study abroad during winter term of their junior year may opt to remain in Costa Rica for co-op, thereby having an extended immersion experience. Students who participate during sophomore or pre-junior year may return during junior year to complete their 3rd co-op in Costa Rica.
Spanish Minor: Any Nursing and Health Professions students who are considering a minor in Spanish should take advantage of this program and discuss with the Modern Languages Department how the Medical Spanish coursework taken in Costa Rica can help toward the completion of their minor.


Program Calendar

Winter 2021 Term Dates 
Program Start Date January 6, 2021
Program End Date March 21, 2021

Summer 2021 Vacation Term Dates
Program Start Date Late June
Program End Date Mid August


Drexel students will be housed with a local host family in Costa Rica. Homestays are one of the most important parts of a student’s experience, facilitating immersion in and adaptation to the new culture and language, and helping students to integrate into local society. Host family relationships in Costa Rica tend to be intimate and supportive. At the same time, they respect students´ private time and personal space. In order to assure students will have a great experience with their host families, ICDS has a Homestay Coordinator with a great deal of experience in the selection of host families and the placement of students with an appropriate host family, as well as of the follow-up on the student-family relationship to solve any problems that may arise.

Homestays with ICDS: Feel at home! from ICDS on Vimeo.


It is necessary to have a valid passport (at least six months before expiration date) to travel to Costa Rica. NO ENTRY VISA IS NEEDED for American and Canadian students --as well as for those of a few other nationalities-- only a valid passport and proof of a return ticket. In the cases when student visas are needed, ICDS and the International Office of Universidad Latina de Costa Rica provide students with step by step assistance to obtain the required document. For students who choose study+co-op, a visa will be required.

Cost and Financial Aid

Program Fee Winter 2021: $2,915

The program fee includes:

  • Homestay for the duration of the program, including 2 meals per day provided by host family
  • Airport pick-up upon arrival
  • Orientation
  • Group activities and excursions 

Estimated Program Costs

Review the Estimated Study Abroad Costs page for a list of approximated program expenses.

Tuition & Financial Aid

This is a Drexel-sponsored program, thus your Drexel tuition and financial aid remain the same during the term abroad. Students may also want to submit a revised budget to Drexel Central to see if additional funding may be available.

Students who receive Federal Work Study should consider applying for the Study Abroad Online Blogger work study position (only available to students after acceptance).

Those interested in seeking additional funding should review Scholarship & Funding Opportunities. Remember that scholarship deadlines may be much earlier than study abroad deadlines, so plan accordingly.

For more information on these and many other scholarship opportunities, visit our Scholarships page.

More Information

Check out the ICDS website here.

ICDS Health Program Testimonial from ICDS on Vimeo.

Photo credits: students Paige Foschi and Anita Ching


Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Winter 2021 09/15/2020 10/01/2020 01/06/2021 03/21/2021