Institute for Central American Development Studies (ICADS)

Program Availability: Fall and Spring Semesters

This program offers Hampshire students with Spanish language ability the opportunity to study in Costa Rica and Nicaragua for one semester. Students live with a Spanish-speaking family while they incorporate an internship or a more structured field course into their academic studies.

Photo of fence and mountain taken by Emily Coble 10F
(The image above was taken at Finca la Flor de Para'so, an organic farm and ICADS Internship Site.) Photo by Emily Coble 10F, Fall 2012 Program Participant

About the Institute for Central American Development Studies

The Institute for Central American Development Studies (ICADS) was created in 1986 to fill the information gap in foreign policy between North American citizens and their governments, promoting a deeper understanding of the Central American Region. ICADS, a non-profit foundation located in San José, Costa Rica, is a center for study, research, and analysis of Central American social and environmental issues. They focus on women's issues, economic development, environmental studies, public health, education, human rights, journalism, community activism, and wildlife conservation.

ICADS Program Center
The ICADS Program Center

Students can choose from two semester program options:

  1. The Field Program: Environment and Sustainable Development is a structured natural science/social science interdisciplinary course that takes place throughout Costa Rica.
  2. The Internship Program: Social Justice and Development consists of one month of intensive language at ICADS in Costa Rica; students can then choose from a wide selection of internships in Costa Rica or Nicaragua.

Term Dates

Fall Term: September-December
Spring Term: February-May 

Housing and Meals

Homestay with a local family. 

Photo of student and youth, taken by Emily Coble 10F

Learning with Local Youth" Photo by Emily Coble 10F, Fall 2012 Program Participant

Program Costs

Hampshire Exchange Fees and Financial Aid provides detailed information on the fee policy, withdrawal policy and how financial aid may apply.

  • Tuition Fees: Paid to Hampshire
  • Housing and Meals Fees: Paid in country
  • Other expenses: Students are responsible for passport and visa fees; international and local transportation including airfare; books and supplies; travel insurance; and personal expenses. A travel stipend will be awarded to offset airfare costs.


This program is available to Hampshire students who are in good academic and behavioral standing. Other students should apply directly to ICADS. Detailed information on Hampshire eligibility requirements and policies is available under the Eligibility Requirements in the Exchange, Field Study, and Short-term Field Course section of the Hampshire College Handbook.

Prerequisite: A minimum of two semesters of college-level Spanish courses strongly recommended prior to participation in either program.

How to Apply

  1. Meet with the GEO: Students are required to meet with the GEO program manager for this exchange program before submitting an application.  Call 413.559.5542 to make an appointment.
  2. Review Applying to a Hampshire Exchange Program: Includes deadlines, application instructions, requirements, and procedures.
  3. Apply now: Students apply online through HampGOES (Hampshire's Global Experience System).


Contact the GEO program manager:

Katie Irwin

Area Specialists

Brian Schultz
Associate Professor of Ecology and Entomology
School of Natural Science

Elizabeth (Betsy) Hartmann
Professor of Development Studies
School of Critical Social Inquiry


Stay In Touch
With The Global Education Office (GEO)
Snail Mail
Global Education Office
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002
Phone + Email
Fax: 413.559.6173