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Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Minimum Language Requirement: SPAN 101 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: Junior, Pre-Junior, Senior, Sophomore
Type of Program: Free Standing Click here for a definition of this term Program Advisor: Ashley Trump
Academic Focus: All Academic Focuses, Business and Entrepreneurship, 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: International Center for Development Studies

Costa Rica Aerial

Program Overview

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 José with the International Center for Development Studies (ICDS). Through the program, students acquire in-depth knowledge and hands-on experience on the multidimensionality of sustainable human development and the current challenges faced by the region. 

Read first-hand about life on the ICDS program in Costa Rica on a Drexel student's blog!

Watch the ICDS program video; and watch a video about the community work experience in ICDS´ field trip to Pacuare

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 and Atlantic coasts. The urban transportation system is quite efficient and you can take a bus to just about anywhere in the country.

Activities: 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 (one international for fall and winter programs) into other parts of Costa Rica to enhance your experience of the culture.


  • 3.0 minimum GPA
  • Prior study of Spanish language
  • Sophomore status or higher


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 Universidad Latina de Costa Rica and the majority are taught in English, though students may opt to complete their coursework in Spanish if desired. Starting Fall 2016, there will be elective courses in fall and winter terms that are taught in Spanish for students with an advanced Spanish.  Local Costa Rican students will also be part of the programs, providing even more contact and immersion into Costa Rican culture. 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 cultural activities to enhance the learning experience.

The language pre-requisite for this program is Spanish 101, or the equivalent. To advance their language skills more quickly before studying abroad, students should consider taking more language courses on campus during their co-op terms. For more information please contact Modern Languages Department at 215-895-5816.

Course Availability


Students take 5 courses for 20 Drexel credits. (Each course is worth 4 credits)

Students take 2 required core courses:
   Community Engagement & Sustainable Human Development: A Service Learning Course
   Spanish Language

Students also choose 3 of the following elective courses: 
Subj Code Crse Numb Course Title Credit Hrs
ENSS T380 Environmental Issues in Latin America 4
FMST I299 Latin America: Reality through Film 4
GST T380 Human Rights Latin America: Development 4
GST T380 Rural & Urban Sustainable Development 4
GST T380 ST: Development  & Gender in Latin America 4
GST T380 Sustainable Tourism & Local Development 4
GST T380/360 Community Engagement & Local Development 4
SPAN T180/T280/T380* Spanish Language Instruction 4
PSCI 377 Politics of Latin America 4
SPAN T480 Central American Literature 4

*Depending on results of placement test.
**If fewer than 6 students sign up for any elective course, it will not be offered that term and students will have the option to choose another course.

Students take 4 courses for 19.5 Drexel credits

Required courses
Subj Code Crse Numb Course Title Credit Hrs
GST T380 Sustainable Tourism & Local Development 4.5
GST T380 Community Engagement & Local Development 4.5
SPAN T180 Spanish Language Instruction 6.0
GST T280 Culture and Development in Latin America 4.5
Spanish courses at basic, intermediate, and advanced levels.

Course Equivalencies
All courses on the ICDS program have been pre-approved for Drexel credits and equivalents.

Students will receive Drexel credit and grades for the courses taken on the ICDS program.

Program Calendar

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 Term Dates (2019)
Program Start Date  August 21
Program End Date November 16
*Students may need to leave summer term early.

Winter Term Dates (2020)
Program Start Date January 8
Program End Date April 4

Spring Term Dates (2020) 
Program Start Date March 26
Program End Date June 13

Winter study + Spring/Summer Coop Dates and Itinerary
Program Start Date Mid January
Program End Date Mid April

Fall/Winter + Spring/Summer Coop Dates and Itinerary
Program Start Date Early September
Program End Date Mid September of the following year

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 will be housed with a host family in Costa Rica. ICDS's experienced homestay 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. Check out the ICDS program video on homestays.


US citizens on ICDS's fall only, winter only, or spring only programs will not be required to obtain a visa, as the program is less than 90 days. 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.

Cost and Financial Aid

Program fee fall 2019 and winter 2020: $3255
Program fee spring 2020: $2755
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 Journalist 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.

More Information

 Check out the ICDS website here

Student participant Sharee DeVose created this video about her experience in Costa Rica:

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
F/W/SP/SU 2020-2021 02/15/2020
03/15/2020 TBA TBA
Fall 2020 06/01/2020 06/15/2020 09/09/2020 12/06/2020
Winter/Spring/Summer 2021 08/01/2020 09/01/2020 TBA TBA
Spring 2021 09/01/2020 10/01/2020 TBA TBA
Winter 2021 09/15/2020 10/15/2020 TBA TBA

Indicates that deadline has passed