API in San Jose, Costa Rica: Development Studies In Latin America

San Jose

Students choosing to study at the International Center for Development Studies (ICDS) complete their coursework in both English and Spanish with other American study abroad students on the campus of the Universidad Latina, Costa Rica’s largest private university. The campus is located northeast of downtown in an area of San José known as Lourdes de Montes de Oca. With its modern facilities, advanced equipment, and experienced and efficient staff, the Universidad Latina provides the perfect learning environment for the ICDS programs. Students have full access to all facilities at the Universidad Latina, including libraries, bookstores, coffee shops and a food court. Intimate class sizes provide students with ample opportunities to participate and explore areas of particular interest to them, and students who desire greater interaction with local students can seek friends from among the general Universidad Latina student population.

Social justice, sustainability, gender issues, social cohesion, the dichotomy of exclusion and inclusion, as well as the relationship between Latin America and the United States, are just some of the many themes of development explored in this program. The analysis of case studies and hands-on engagement with the local community are features of this program.

The program features two core courses that all students will complete. “Community Engagement and Sustainable Human Development” is a service-learning course in which students participate in community-based volunteer work followed by guided reflection sessions to properly contextualize their experiences. Additionally, students will complete a Spanish language course to further develop their language skills. Though all courses other than the language class are taught in English, students can choose to progressively incorporate Spanish into their coursework. Students may elect to complete readings in Spanish and submit all papers and other projects in Spanish as well. As of the fall of 2016, coursework in Spanish will also be available if a minimum number of participants are interested in this option. These features give this program a bilingual character which, combined with living with local families and numerous field trips to sites throughout the country and to Nicaragua, provide students with an excellent opportunity for linguistic and cultural immersion.

Teaching for the standard, semester program takes place at the Universidad Latina in Lourdes de Montes de Oca (San José), both a business and residential area to the northeast of downtown San José. Universidad Latina de Costa Rica is the country’s largest private higher institution of learning. With a student body of 16,000, the university features a very modern infrastructure, including libraries, bookstores, copy shops, coffee shops and a food court.

Academic Field Trips:

  • To illustrate and better understand the subject of study, students benefit from several field trips where they can observe such varied activities as nature tourism, applied biological research, wildlife management and other examples of sustainable human development at work.
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