Block 1 (5 Weeks):
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 or Panama where students are able to see first hand the current economic and political conditions in Nicaragua or Panama, and are challenged to compare and contrast its reality with neighboring Costa Rica. Students prepare for their field internships during this first month by choosing the country in which they will work and by planning their particular internships in consultation with faculty advisors who are experts in the culture of the country chosen and in the students’ areas of interest.
Block 2 (8 Weeks):
After the first block in which staff closely evaluate students’ specific educational needs, interests, and Spanish proficiency, students are placed in an individualized internship to gain experience in urban or rural areas in a field of their interest. Only one student is placed at each internship site. ICADS offers over 65 structured internships and research opportunities in Costa Rica in the areas of environment, education, health, development, and wildlife conservation, and women’s studies. Internship placements are determined based on a number of factors, including student interests, previous experience, formal education, and level of Spanish competency. Internships with stricter requirements include those in the medical field.
Internship projects include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Working with indigenous communities.
- Working with women and children who are victims of violence at a non-profit organizations.
- Working with a small farmer’s organization to promote sustainable agricultural practices.
- Working with different NGO's in topics related to community development, human rights, education, recreation, etc.
Upon completion of the 7-week internship, students return to ICADS to complete written work and oral presentations, while processing their experiences as a group and together with their faculty advisors (including a reentry workshop).
ICADS recommends 15 credits for the Social Justice and Internship Program, broken down as:
- 3 Credits Spanish
- 3 Credits ECON/SOC 421 Latin American Perspectives on Justice and Sustainable Development
- 9 Credits Directed Internship
Keep in mind that the final number of credits granted is up to the university. Be sure to check with your university if you have questions about credits.