Study abroad in Costa Rica is not only an amazing way to earn credits and expand your knowledge of tropical ecology, sustainability, STEM, and the Spanish language, but it could also be good for your health!
For the past two decades scientists have been studying the effects of shinrin-yoku – or “forest bathing” on our physical, emotional, and psychological wellbeing.
Forest bathing is a thing? Yes!
The practice of forest bathing was developed in Japan to help an increasingly overworked population combat stress. In its simplest form, forest bathing involves nothing more than spending time in the forest taking in its sights, smells, sounds, tastes, and textures. No special equipment needed. No workout gear required. No panting, exerting, or even sweating!
But studies show - this one small act - done on a regular basis, has the power to not only calm the mind, but improve overall health. Study participants regularly saw increased anti-cancer proteins and reduced blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormone production. They also experienced significantly lower levels of depression, fatigue, anxiety, and confusion.
Sign me up!
Where better to begin your forest bathing practice than Monteverde? The CIEE Global Institute is situated on a 150+ acre campus, 60% of which is covered in pre-montane rainforest – which means it is packed with trees, epiphytes, orchids, ferns, bromeliads, mosses, and lichens, not to mention a host of incredible wildlife.
A virtual utopia for forest bathers.
In between chemistry or biology labs, Spanish or conservation classes you can slip into the forest, unplug and cleanse away any stress or anxiety. Listen to the sound of birds singing and monkeys howling. Take in the dappled sunlight against the trees. Smell the richness of the earth. Drink in the fresh air and essential oils from the trees. Feel the bark of a tree or pet a mound of fuzzy moss. Then, congratulate yourself for choosing such a calm-inducing paradise in which to study abroad.