This six-week program gives students and health care professionals the necessary language proficiency to work and interact with Spanish speaking patients, their families, as well as future colleagues. ICDS, in coordination with Hospital Clínica Bíblica and Universidad Latina de Costa Rica, offers students the opportunity to explore health care in a developing country while improving their Spanish speaking skills. Through courses taught at Hospital Clínica Bíblica and Universidad Latina, participants learn about the unique health care model in Costa Rica and the way global public health issues unfold in the region.

Clinical rotations at Hospital Biblica for advanced Spanish speakers or community work in social welfare services for lower to intermediate level Spanish speakers are eye-opening, experiential learning components of the Spanish and Health in Latin America program. Spanish classes before, during, and after these hands-on experiences are designed to provide students with an on-the-job Spanish skill set specifically for careers in the healthcare industry. 

Students’ understanding of the course themes are enhanced through the ongoing, dynamic experience of cultural immersion. ICDS provides several opportunities for students to meet, relax, and explore unique aspects of Costa Rican culture through planned group activities and field trips. These, combined with the on-site rotations and community work, give students ample opportunity to interact with locals, engage with the culture, and learn from one of Latin America’s most beautiful countries.


The ICDS homestay program allows students to live with a local family and learn the culture and values of daily life. Homestays are one of the most important parts of students' experience in experiential learning, facilitating immersion and adaptation to the new culture and language, and they helping students to integrate faster into local society. Daily immersion with host families provides program participants with a relaxed environment to practice Spanish, ask questions about their surroundings, and receive support from another network in addition to their classmates, faculty, and the ICDS staff. 

Homestay families provide students a private room furnished with all the basic elements for resting, studying, and living comfortably. These include bed and linens, a closet, a well-lit work space with desk and chair, a private or shared bathroom, two meals a day during the week (breakfast and dinner), 3 meals on weekends, weekly laundry service, and Wi-Fi. 

Program Website

Course Description

Students will enroll in two courses during the program:

Health Care in Latin America 

This course is intended to create a unique interdisciplinary professional experience for students interested in Latin American and Caribbean health issues. Within the field of public and private health, its particular focus is on public health assessment strategies. Through this course, students will be exposed to current challenges facing Latin America and the Caribbean to reach an understanding of the way global public health issues unfold in the region. The course will provide students with concepts and updated material that will prepare them to look into issues related to people, places, and politics to assess the delivery and quality of health care in Latin America.

Syllabus - Health Care in Latin America 

Spanish for Health Sciences 

This is a Spanish course for specific purposes, designed for health personnel. The objective is to provide the student with the necessary tools to acquire the linguistic competence that allows him to communicate with Spanish-speaking patients and their respective families. This course is offered at the beginner, intermediate and advanced level. 

Syllabus - Spanish for Health Sciences (Beginner Level)

Syllabus - Spanish for Health Sciences (Intermediate Level) 

Syllabus - Spanish for Health Sciences (Advanced Level)

ISEP STUDENT SERVICES OFFICER Kira Hakanson 703-504-9991 | Thanks for your interest in ISEP Study Abroad! I’m your Student Services Officer and main point of contact here at ISEP. As you search for programs, I'll be available to answer any questions you might have. Feel free to contact me at any point in your search process for help, tips or advice.

International Center for Development Studies

With over twenty years of experience in international education,  the International Center for Development Studies (ICDS), based in San José, Costa Rica, provides quality study abroad opportunities in the form...


(in English)

Fields of Study

  • Foreign Languages and Literatures

    Spanish Language and Literature

  • Health Sciences: Recommended!

    Medicine Public Health

Academic Requirements

  • U.S. GPA: 2.75 or higher
  • LPR Required
  • LPR Writing Score: C1 - Advanced Plus-Superior
  • LPR Reading Score: C1 - Advanced Plus-Superior
  • LPR Listening Score: C1 - Advanced Plus-Superior
  • LPR Speaking Score: C1 - Advanced Plus-Superior
LPR = ISEP Language Proficiency Report

Special Needs Support

  • Mental Health
  • Learning

Other Academic Conditions

A basic level of Spanish is recommended but not required. A B2 is required to participate in clinical rotations. 

Students will complete a written and oral exam to verify Spanish proficiency and placement in clinical rotations. 


Semester & Prices (based on your filters)

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International Center for Development Studies

San José, Costa Rica



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ISEP Application Fee US$100

ISEP Acceptance Fee US$395


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