Sustainability Studies Minor in Costa Rica

image of san jose

Villanova University, College of Liberal Arts and Science, Sustainability Studies Minor in Costa Rica

A Unique Academic program

The Center for Development Studies in Costa Rica (ICDS) offers a unique study abroad opportunity for a semester term with the ¨Development Studies in Latin America: An Interdisciplinary Program.¨ It allows students to build their own program in accordance to their interests. Students can choose from their courses on human rights, the environment, or a combination of the two.             

Learn by doing with sessions of community work under the modality of service-learning as part of the program’s core course Community Engagement and Sustainable Human Development: A Service-learning Course! And spend a three-week hands-on experience on a farm dedicated to both, the  study of relevant concepts to better understand the farm’s  sustainability s and food security practices, and actual work at the farm in accordance with the farm’s needs (elective course)

The exciting curriculum offered in Costa Rica will enable students to meet their objective, while also integrating in to Costa Rican life, language, and culture. 

Learn more about service learning programs through this video and the following photo album.

Students will study at the International Center for Development Studies (ICDS) in  San Jose Costa Rica. In order to complete the Minor in Sustainability Studies, students must complete GEV 3001: Seminar in Sustainability Studies on campus at Villanova. Students will then complete the following four courses in Costa Rica: 

  • Community Engagement and Sustainable Human Development: A Service-  learning Course
  • Current Environmental Issues in Latin America
  • Rural and Urban Sustainable Development: Global and Local Perspectives
  • Sustainable Tourism and Local Development
In addition to the above courses, all students are enrolled in a Spanish Language course at their tested language level.  Beginning to Advanced Spanish language courses are offered, though language courses may not count towards a Spanish minor or major.  

In order to foster a cultural immersion experience, students are placed with local host families for the duration of the program.  ICDS selects and carefully matches students which these local hosts.  To learn more about a host family experience in Costa Rica, ICDS has produced a video.

On-campus Orientation

All students who study abroad for a semester are required to participation in an on campus pre-departure orientation. 

Support Services in Costa Rica

Orientation - once in country, ICDS will provide a two-day comprehensive orientation to help students adjust to their new surroundings and to provide important health and safety informaiton. 

Additional Videos from ICDS explaining the study abroad experience in Costa Rica

·         ICDS Service-Learning: Painting a Mura

·         ICDS Trip to Tortuguero

·         ICDS Student Testimonial 

Semester Schedule

The ICDS program runs on the following schedules: 

Fall semester: Early September - late November
Spring semester: Mid January - mid April

Specific program dates will be released after acceptance by ICDS. 

All interested students must apply and be accepted by ICDS for participation in the program.  

Application Instructions

ICDS Application deadlines 
Fall semester - March 30
Spring semester - October 15

All students must also meet the required OEA approval procedures for semester study abroad with deadlines on April 1 and October 15. Please register online for an information session and plan to meet individually with a study abroad advisor well in advance of above stated deadlines. 


Villanova University has the right to make cancellations, substitutions, or changes in case of emergency or changed conditions, or in the interest of the program.