• Spend two weeks in San José studying Spanish and serving in the local community, then travel to Finca La Flor in Cartago to spend two weeks studying Sustainability and Food Security while contributing to the community farm

• Earn 6 U.S. Credits and take beginning, intermediate, or advanced Spanish alongside a sustainability course taught in English

• Join the included excursions to national parks, and particpate in community work, visit Irazú volcano, and more! 


Excursions & Cultural Immersion

Participants begin the program with two weeks in San José, the capital city and main hub of culture and travel in Costa Rica. There, they will have orientation, take Spanish classes, and do community service in urban locations with ICDS’ community partners. Participants then spend two weeks immersing themselves in the culture of rural Costa Rica by living on site at the local Finca and working alongside community members as part of Finca La Flor’s involvement in community’s development and activities like yoga, cooking classes, latin dance workshops, and local field trips. Spend the weekends visitng national parks and experiencing Costa Rica's famous microclimates.!

Housing & Meals 

For the first three weeks students live with a local Spanish-speaking family in San José. After experiencing the cultural capital of San José, students will travel to Finca La Flor in Cartago for the Sustainability Practices and Food Security course, where students immerse themselves in the culture of rural Costa Rica by living on site at the local Finca. Two meals a day during the week (breakfast and dinner) and three meals on weekends are included during the homestay portion of the program. All meals are included at Finca La Flor. 

Explore Costa Rica 

Costa Rica has made a name for itself as a forward-thinking country with a reputation for social change.  Costa Rica is a small country with strong commitment to sustainable development, which is to be expected from a country that has 6.5% of the world’s biodiversity. The country is so committed to achieving carbon neutrality that almost all of Costa Rica’s electric power is produced by renewable energy sources, and 25% of the country’s territory is protected as National Parks or Reserves.

San José is the capital of Costa Rica and one of the most visited cities in all of Central America. It is a city of contrasts, with sprawling modern developments and centuries-old historic architecture, traditional values and progressive ideas. Live and study in one of the most vibrant and active districts of the city on the east side, San Pedro. Finca La Flor is located in the Cartago province, famous for its lush, fertile countryside and will be the backdrop to course offerings including recycling, forestry, medicinal plant gardening, permaculture, organic agriculture, forestry, clean energy and water management. 

See ISEP Direct budget and estimated expenses

Course Description

Students enroll in two courses during the program, earning a total of 6 U.S. credits. They will take one Spanish course during their time in San Jose, and the Sustainablity Practices & Food Security in Rural Costa Rica course while at Finca La Flor. 

Course Descriptions & Syllabi

Sustainability Practices & Food Security in Rural Costa Rica

This course takes place on Finca La Flor in the province of Cartago and consists of a hands-on opportunity to learn about food security, sustainable farming techniques, and ecology in Costa Rica. Participating students in this three-week course will be exposed to and have a chance to work in the following main areas at Finca La Flor:

Water management: As in any farm involving agriculture and animal husbandry, the demand for water is high. Although the farm has policies and has implemented techniques to regulate and reduce the consumption of potable water, water management in the farm has room for improvement.

Organic agriculture: Excessive use of agrochemicals in conventional agriculture in the area has caused serious damage and degradation of the land. Thus, the farm has said 'No' to using chemicals and uses organic agriculture instead to avoid air pollution and food contamination.

Spanish Language 

ICDS Spanish language courses are taught at three levels:

Basic  Intermediate Advanced 
Basic Spanish I Intermediate Spanish I Advanced Spanish Grammar & Composition 
Basic Spanish II Intermediate Spanish II Advanced Spanish for Oral Communication
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)

*This program is OK for Sophomores

Fields of Study

  • Agriculture

    International Agriculture

  • Foreign Languages and Literatures

    Spanish Language and Literature

  • Natural Resources/Conservation

    Sustainability Studies

  • Physical Sciences

    Hydrology and Water Resources Science

Academic Requirements

  • U.S. GPA: 2.75 or higher
    *accepts lower GPA with explanation

Special Needs Support

  • Mental Health
  • Learning

Other Academic Conditions

Students will complete a written and oral exam to verify Spanish proficiency before they are formally assigned a level for their Spanish language course. 

Passport: All students must have a valid passport to participate in this program. If you do not have a valid passport, we suggest you start the application process as soon as possible.

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

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