Meet the Staff: Our Couselor Luis Sandoval

Meet Luis Sandoval, ICDS Student Counselor. Luis Sandoval is a professional psychologist and counselor and has been involved in the international studies field since 2001. Luis works with ICDS in the process of integration of students, as well as provides support during students’ adaptation to the new culture, the family, and the community through social and cultural activities particularly designed for this purpose. Please keep reading to check out what he has been doing lateley.

1) What have you been working on lately? What do you teach? What is the value - added of your teaching (or course) for international students?

I have been, in collaboration with another professor, teaching the class Community Engagement and Human Sustainable Development. We have been giving the students the context and concepts involved in this topic as well as presenting experiences that exemplify what we develop in class. Half or the class is theoretical and the other half is applied. Students in our class are working 6 hours a week as a requirement in different organizations that have as their objective the wellbeing of the people they work with. Through the class, we work on giving them a framework to understand why and how the organizations do what they do and, at the same time, our students learn about the impact they have in these places and their populations. At the end of the semester the students have a very good idea about the topic in general and also about how to work within the context of a foreign culture. Through the process our students go deeper on their own mind sets and exercise their skills for adaptation, cultural differences reflections and of course community work, providing through their work many benefits to the different populations we and the NGO´s work with. 

2) How does study abroad contributes to responsible global citizenship?
It is an opportunity for people to observe and experience firsthand many situations that they have not been around to or situations they did not know that existed in the world. I believe it enlarges the perspective and the ability to perceive the world, the new world and the old world (i.e. what the students already new). 

3) For that purpose, what is the contribution of ICDS?

Costa Rica is very unique in the world. Culturally, it may resemble USA but, as a country, its particularities are very interesting. Costa Rica provides the opportunity for students to experience a safe society in which the collective value is probably one of the most important. The fact of being one of the few countries without an army since 1948, the Universal Coverage of the Health System, in addition to its economic and political stability and of course the "family driven" culture make Costa Rica an exceptional place to live, work, study, learn a language and be engaged in the process of development.

4) Why are ICDS programs an excellent complement to the home college education?

My thought on this is that ICDS has a group of excellent professionals who share the value of education and are committed to share their knowledge in order to open the views about many topics that back home colleges may not have the opportunity to address. I believe ICDS is a good step into a different dimension that the students will maximize when going back home and act in their environments. From what we have heard from previous students the ICDS and Costa Rica experience, changed or reinforced their views of their own lives, what they want to do with it and the impact they want to have.  People could be more critic but also more appreciative of their own life and environment back home.

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