API at the International Center for Development Studies (ICDS) in San Jose
Development Studies in Latin America: This program offers students the opportunity to acquire in-depth knowledge of human rights, analyze challenges to environmental sustainability, and understand human development in greater complexity. 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 components 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. This gives this program a bilingual character which, combined with living with local families and numerous field trips to sites throughout the country, provides students with an excellent opportunity for linguistic and cultural immersion. Teaching 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. Health in Latin America Spring Semester: This program is ideal for those who want to pursue health studies in Latin America. The International Center for Development Studies (ICDS), in partnership with Hospital Clínica Bíblica, offers an eleven-week program to provide university students in the health fields an opportunity to improve their language proficiency and interact with Spanish-speaking patients and their families, while gaining a more in-depth understanding of healthcare in Latin America. Two of the courses offered will be taught under the care of Hospital Clínica Bíblica, Costa Rica’s largest and most prestigious private hospital with over 70 years of experience. Spanish and Health in Latin America Summer: The International Center for Development Studies (ICDS), in partnership with Hospital Clínica Bíblica, offers a six-week program for students who want to study abroad in the health field in Latin America. The program is designed to increase students’ language proficiency while giving them a broader understanding of the Costa Rican healthcare system. The program consists of two courses: Healthcare Systems in Latin America and Spanish for Health Sciences. Spanish and Community Engagement Summer: The Spanish and Community Engagement Program at ICDS offers students the opportunity to improve their Spanish language skills while gaining exposure to the Costa Rican society and culture. Students will complete 3 hours of class Monday through Thursday afternoons, following a morning spent engaging in community service. Some examples of community work available include volunteering with a sustainable farm, helping at-risk children at a local school or community center, working with marginalized seniors, classifying pre-Columbian artifacts at a local museum, and working with migrant communities. HIGHLIGHTS Located in the central valley of Costa Rica, San José is a vibrant urban center in the heart of a serene and beautiful nation. Three volcanoes surround the city, and quaint villages, farms and coffee plantations dot the hillsides. Though the metropolitan area is home to 36% of the nation’s population, one can easily explore the smaller central area of the city and discover its neighborhood markets and local restaurants. Cultural opportunities including theater, music, cinema and dance are also abundant in San José. Visit the Museo Nacional; the Museo de Oro Precolombino, with its sparkling collection of pre-Columbian gold; or the Museo de Jade, which boasts the world’s largest collection of jade.
Spanish Language and Culture Program Students will complete 1 of 3 tracks per term in this program (tracks are differentiated based on the student’s language level and academic goals). Students may also choose to add additional hours or combine two quarter terms for additional credit. TRACK 1 – INTENSIVE LANGUAGE This track is open to students at all levels who are interested in improving their Spanish language skills. Students will take 120 contact hours of Spanish language, and may add on additional hours (up to 180 contact hours total) for an additional fee. TRACK 2 – SPANISH LANGUAGE AND CULTURE This track is open to intermediate and advanced-level students (levels B1- B2) who are interested in improving their Spanish language skills while taking additional hours of culture and content courses. Students will take 120 hours of Spanish language, as well as an additional 65 hours of cultural electives (for 185 contact hours per term). TRACK 3 – HISPANIC STUDIES This track is open to advanced and superior-level students (level B2 and higher) who are interested in taking more in-depth Spanish cultural courses. Students may choose to take either 3 or 4 culture courses (to earn 135-180 contact hours per term).
Students are not required to take a Spanish language course at this level. Spanish Language, Business, and Humanities Program This program offers classes taught in English in both business and humanities, as well as Spanish language courses at all levels. Students who have completed more advanced Spanish courses can choose from a wide variety of classes focusing on Spanish culture and civilization that are taught in Spanish. A placement exam determines the language level of each student. The fall semester begins with an intensive two-week Spanish language course for 3 semester credits. The spring early start semester begins with an intensive four-week Spanish language course for 6 credits. Students are then required to take at least one Spanish language class during the semester. Depending on the term, students then choose four or five additional classes at 3 credits each for a total of 12-21 semester credits. Spain’s capital since 1561, Madrid is the contemporary capital of Spanish culture, finance, and industry. A large, international and cosmopolitan city, Madrid is a city of possibilities. It boasts incredible monuments and museums, including the Museo del Prado, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Museo de la Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando. Visitors cannot miss the Iglesia de San Isidro, once the cathedral of Madrid, or the Palacio Real. Madrid is also known for its fountains and elaborate parks, including the glorious Parque del Retiro. The energy of Madrid is in its street life and warm people. Taking a gap year in Madrid means experiencing more than a classroom – it means experiencing the history of Spain and its people. Aspire by API gives students the chance to live and learn in this fast-paced capital city.
API students will discover the wonders of Italy on this two-week art, language and culture program. Starting in Rome, students will visit many of Rome’s major sites, including St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums. Then, the group will travel to Tuscania to meet welcoming host families ready to prepare home-cooked Italian meals for students while they live in an idyllic medieval town to explore the creative arts of drawing and photography. Tuscania has been admired for centuries for its picturesque setting, fine culture and foods, and cobblestoned streets. Surrounded by medieval walls and guard towers, the town provides endless opportunities for authentic cultural immersion.
Students will spend mornings studying Italian language, photography* and sketching with the wonders and beauty of Italy as the backdrop for inspiration. In the afternoons and on weekends, students participate in experiential activities such as pottery workshops, cooking classes and urban treks, and will explore the pillars of Italian culture and history with visits to Florence and Venice.
Ages: 15-18 year olds only, completing grades 9-11
Language Level: No Italian language experience required
Housing: Local host families/hotels; Some meals and laundry are included; breakfast and dinner daily are included. Students are responsible for buying lunch.