Block I: SEMESTER COURSES (4 weeks)
During the initial four-week block all students take intensive Spanish as well as three required seminars. Students prepare for their field internships during this first month by choosing the country in which they will work and planning their particular internship in consultation with faculty advisors who are experts in the culture of the country chosen and in the students' area of interest.
Language instruction is given in grammar, conversation, and culture and is provided at the Institute by experienced native instructors. Students are divided into small classes by ability (four students maximum). Instructors rotate weekly among the classes to give students exposure to varieties of speech. Classes meet twenty hours per week and focus on oral comprehension, conversation practice, and grammar review (3 credits).
Students attend three required seminars which include, but are not limited to, the following: History, Culture and Modern Life in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, Ecological and Environmental Issues in the Central American Region, The Effects of Globalization on Central American Economies (2 credits each). Course selection is based on the stated interests by the majority of students in their admission applications for each term.
Block II: STRUCTURED INTERNSHIPS (8 weeks)
After the initial course work period, students pursue research agendas and/or applied fieldwork. The individualized internship provides students a rare opportunity to gain experience in the urban or rural areas working on individual or group projects with national and international scholars and professionals. Only one student is placed at each internship site. Students are expected to carry out a full time work and study schedule during this period.
ICADS offers over 85 structured internships and research opportunities in two countries in the areas of women's studies, environment, education, primary healthcare, public health, development, and wildlife conservation. The Institute makes a special effort to carefully match each student with a supervisor and project that reflects his/her specific educational needs and interests.
Block III: WRITTEN WORK AND ORAL PRESENTATIONS (2 weeks)
Upon completion of the eight-week internship, students have the opportunity to participate in a special four-day excursion to Nicaragua. After the trip, students return to ICADS to complete written work and oral presentations (fieldwork and research paper, 6 credits).
Recommended credit is fifteen semester credit hours or the equivalent for each Fall or Spring semester. Consult your off-campus study office for your university's specific credit and grading policy for this program. Both the number and distribution of credits should be determined in advance. ICADS is affiliated with Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. Credit transfers may be arranged with Hampshire College, but must be made by ICADS. Hampshire charges a credit transfer fee of $200. Usually this credit transfer is not necessary as ICADS credits are widely accepted by many of the best colleges and universities in the U.S.
Undergraduates and students in transition between high school and college with at least one year of college Spanish (two years bly recommended), or three years of high school Spanish are eligible to participate. Preference will be given to those with two or more years of language studies and to students who have a demonstrated interest in the issues addressed by the program (for example, participation in community service activities, solidarity groups, environmental organizations, etc.).
Students should budget $400-$600 per month for local and weekend travel, lunches, visa-related fees, and other personal expenses.
Each student will live with either a Costa Rican or Nicaraguan family. Family placements are supervised by housing coordinators in each country. As an integral part of the program, the home stay experience facilitates language learning and active participation in the culture and society of the host country.
Students must budget for their own round-trip transportation to San José. ICADS will refer students to an affiliated travel agency that can assist them in making travel arrangements at the lowest possible cost.