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Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Program Type: Semester / Year Abroad Click here for a definition of this term Program Structure: Center based for U.S. Students
Click here for a definition of this term What Financial Aid Applies?: All Current Aid, GI Bill Language of Instruction: English, Spanish
Click here for a definition of this term Language Study Requirement: Yes Internship: Yes
Housing: Homestay Click here for a definition of this term Prereq. Language Study: 2 semesters of college-level Spanish or equivalent
Meal Plan: Plan Available Click here for a definition of this term Recommended for Chapman Majors: Environmental Science & Policy, Spanish
Click here for a definition of this term Recommended for Chapman Minors: Latinx & Latin American Studies
Program Description:

Semester Internship and Research Program
(Costa Rica and Nicaragua)


ICADS offers a 14-week program each semester: Spring (February-May) and Fall (September-December). See specific dates listed for each term. Each program includes a classroom and a field internship component. During each semester, students have the option of doing an internship in either Costa Rica or Nicaragua. In accordance with the program's emphasis on language as the key to in-depth understanding of the culture, the language courses are taught entirely in Spanish. In all other courses, Spanish is used as the language of instruction to the fullest extent possible and students may elect to write their papers in either Spanish or English.


Program Overview

Program Dates/Duration: 14 weeks

Block I: 4 weeks - Semester Courses
Block II: 8 weeks - Structured Internship
Block III: 2 weeks - Written Work and Oral Presentations

Credits: Recommended credit is fifteen semester credit hours.

Personal Expenses: $400-$600 per month
Living Arrangements: Homestay with a Costa Rican family.


Program Description

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.

Spanish Course
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).

Specialized Courses
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.


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.


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).

Academic Credit 
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.).

Personal Expenses 
Students should budget $400-$600 per month for local and weekend travel, lunches, visa-related fees, and other personal expenses.

Living Arrangements
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.


Academic Information

Chapman University maintains a record of the courses that previous study abroad students have taken, and the equivalent Chapman credit that was granted for each course. To view the course equivalencies for this program, click “Sample Pre-Approved Courses” at the top of each program brochure page. Please note that Sample Pre-Approved Courses are courses that have been previously requested by a Chapman student for credit. It is not a comprehensive list of all courses available at the institution.

You may view the entire course catalog for this program by following these instructions:

  • Go to the ICADS programs website
  • Hover over the “Social Justice and Development Internship” box and click on “Learn More”
  • Click on the “Credit” heading

Students are encouraged to request additional or revised equivalencies during the pre-departure process, which will be evaluated by the appropriate academic units on campus.

Credit and Grading Transfer

Credits are articulated based on U.S. credit equivalencies and credit hours earned.

Credits from ICADS will transfer as follows:

Credit at ICADS Credit at Chapman University
3 credits 3 credits

Students must enroll in the equivalent of 12-18 Chapman credits.
Grade at ICADS Grade at Chapman University
Courses are graded according to the US grading conversion scale.

All courses must be taken for a letter grade. Classes taken as ‘Pass/Fail’ will not be accepted, with the exception of internships. Internships must be approved by the Center for Global Education.