Monteverde, Costa Rica

January in Monteverde

Study Program



3 weeks



3 semester hours

4.5 quarter hours


Application Deadline

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Grab your hiking boots and get ready to spend January in the progressive mountain community of San Luis de Monteverde, where the region's breathtaking natural scenery will surround and astound you! Designed for students from all fields of study, this program is an ideal fit for those eager to develop healthy and sustainable lifestyle habits to protect the environment. 

When class is in session, your coursework will be delivered in English at CIEE Monteverde. 

Outside the classroom, you'll participate in immersive activities that complement classroom learning and increase intercultural understanding, including visiting natural protected areas like Rincon de la Vieja National Park, or the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, ziplining over one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world, enjoying the magic of waterfalls deep in the forest and more.

Unique Experiences


can bring more than new people to a community. As a student, you’ll explore the environmental, economic, and social impacts of this powerful force, and come away a more enlightened traveler in the process!


surrounded by friendly Costa Ricans who will teach you how to live a more sustainable lifestyle, while you gain new professional skills


where mosses and orchids dripping with mist decorate the boughs of gnarly trees and brightly colored birds dart through the fog for fruits. This resource is critical not only for the economy of Monteverde but also for the hundreds of plants and animals that call this wet world home.







  • cloud forest studetns take photo together
  • students abroad monteverde binoculars bridge

Your Destination

Located in the northwestern region of Costa Rica, Monteverde lies along the continental divide at the crest of the Cordillera de Tilarán mountain chain, which is blanketed by a cool, wet cloud forest extending down into the Atlantic lowlands. The cloud forest provides a striking contrast to the deciduous forest on the Pacific side.   

The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve was founded in 1972 to protect the entire ridge above Monteverde and down into the Peñas Blancas Valley. As a result of its unique history and geography, Monteverde is home to exotic flora, fauna, wildlife, and sustainability projects, including agriculture, energy production, water conservation, forest management, and biodiversity conservation. 

CIEE wants all our students to feel welcomed, supported, and empowered to succeed while studying abroad. Local CIEE staff have provided details about conditions and cultural attitudes that students with specific identities might encounter in Monteverde.

The Culture

cloud forest student group abroad


Excursions and activities may include:  

  • Hiking under the dripping boughs of the cloud forest to observe colorful plants and animals. Insiders will tell you how these protected areas both conserve biodiversity and contribute to the economy. 
  • Visiting local businesses involved with tourism to learn from residents about their opinions on the pros and cons of tourism development. 
  • Taking a day trip to a local, sustainable farm to enjoy a meal of 100% organically grown food direct from the fields.  
  • Exploring and experiencing the power of renewable energies – including solar, wind, and hydropower – operating at large and small scales to gain insight into how and why Costa Rica is an international leader in the carbon-neutral movement. 
  • Exploring indoor and outdoor areas that access forest trails and gardens for recreation, self-exploration, and co-curricular activities.

Program Blogs


Looking ahead to 2019

By Karen Masters at CIEE

A group of lucky students will start the New Year in Costa Rica, as participants in the CIEE January Term in Monteverde. Here are some of the special things that... keep reading

What People are Saying

  • "I've studied abroad many times and the support and personal care CIEE has provided me ranks it as my best experience abroad."

    Emily F., Western Kentucky University

  • "I thought the program was a great experience. I learned a lot from the teachers and TA's and had a great cultural experience!"

    Madison M., Dickinson College

  • "The process of applying to arriving on campus was simple. CIEE provided aid through the entire process making the transition more enjoyable!"

    Caela F., Ursinus College

  • "It gives you a different perspective which is a critical experience for a human being."

    Eloisa Noreen J., Gustavus Adolphus College



The January in Monteverde program is an intensive introduction to environmental issues facing many tropical, developing nations.  Emphasis is on how to protect the environment using different tools and strategies.  Courses are taught by qualified instructors of CIEE Monteverde. 

CIEE Monteverde is located in an area that includes forest and farms against a backdrop of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.  Facilities include classrooms, residence halls, and recreational areas in a natural setting.  There are wet and dry laboratories, an herbarium, plus organic gardens to support a wide array of STEM studies and research opportunities.  An extensive trail system through forest and fields, links classrooms to a botanical garden, animal stables, and coffee and vegetable production areas.



Additional Requirements

Please refer to the detailed Program Essential Eligibility Criteria.

Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.


All students take a 3-credit CIEE course.

Program Credit

Total credit: 3 U.S. semester/4.5 quarter credits

Course Credit

CIEE course: 3 U.S. semester/4.5 quarter credits; 45 contact hours

Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.

Academic Culture

The program is made up of three weeks of classes, designed to follow U.S. academic culture. Each course is a full semester in content, so the pace is accelerated, and the workload is demanding. The class environment typically features a combination of traditional lectures and discussions with co-curricular excursions and activities. Heavy emphasis is placed on student participation. Class attendance is strictly enforced for both classes and required co-curricular excursions that are scheduled on Saturdays. There is no time for weekend travel and students are strongly encouraged to spend evenings and Sundays taking part in extra-curricular activities to practice the language and learn about the local culture.

Class Format

Courses taught at CIEE Monteverde are for CIEE students only. Courses are taught Monday – Saturday and attendance is strictly enforced both for classes and required co-curricular excursions. Students should expect an average of two hours of preparation required for each hour in class. Instruction is supported and augmented online by our learning management system, Canvas. 


Assessment is based on the individual’s overall performance in the course, including quizzes, exams, essays, oral presentations, deliverables, plus participation in classes, including outings.  Students must check with their professors to find out exam and project presentation dates.  Under no circumstances will CIEE alter deadlines or exam dates for study abroad students who have made conflicting travel plans. The U.S. grading scale of A-F is used.

Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.

Language of Instruction


Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.


Course Information

Natural Resources, Conservation, and the Environment

Semester Credit

Communication, Journalism, and Media

Semester Credit

Note: This course listing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a contract between CIEE and any applicant, student, institution, or other party. The courses, as described, may be subject to change as a result of ongoing curricular revisions, assignment of lecturers and teaching staff, and program development. Courses may be canceled due to insufficient enrollment.
"(GI)" denotes courses that originated at CIEE's Global Institutes and that are offered at multiple CIEE sites.

Dates & Fees

Dates & Fees

You get more for every dollar when you study abroad with CIEE, because our high-quality programs include everything from excursions to insurance. There are no hidden charges, and no disappointing surprises when you arrive.


Application Due

Start Date

End Date

Fees & Housing

Program January 2025 3 weeks Start Date End Date Fees & Housing $3,850

To help you budget, keep in mind that students are responsible for the cost of international airfare, local transportation, books and supplies, visas, and personal expenses. In addition, your college or university may charge additional fees for study abroad, or may require you to receive a transcript via CIEE's School of Record, which carries an additional fee of $500. January 2020 programs in Latin America are not eligible for CIEE Scholarships and Grants.

Program Fees

CIEE offers the most student support of any provider in its program fee, including an airport greeting, full-time leadership and support, orientation, cultural activities, local excursions, pre-departure advising, and CIEE iNext travel protection with benefits.

Participation Confirmation = $300*

Educational Costs = $2,495**

Housing = $975***

Insurance = $80

Total Fees = $3,850

Estimated Costs

Students are responsible and manage costs related to travel, meals, books, and personal expenses. Below are estimates for consideration.

International Airfare = $700

Local Transportation = $40

Personal expenses = $135††

Total Costs = $875

Financial Aid

CIEE offers the most grants and scholarships of any study abroad organization, including $8 million/year in travel grants, merit-based scholarships, institutional and MSI grants, and Gilman Go Global Grants.

See Scholarships

*non-refundable fee

**direct cost of education charged uniformly to all students

***includes all meals. Housing fees listed are for financial aid purposes only and should not be considered a basis for calculation of refunds.

round-trip based on U.S. East Coast departure

††$100 emergency fund + cell phone expense + toiletries

What's Included



Pre-departure Advising

Advising before you depart to set goals and answer questions

Optional on-site airport meet-and-greet


Introduction to your program plus practical information about living in your host city

On-site Staff

Full-time program leadership and support in your city

Cultural and/or Co-curricular Activities

Excursions and/or Study Tours

Travel Protection

CIEE iNext travel protection

24/7 emergency on-site support


Our Staff

Pablo Allen

Center Director

Pablo is a native Costa Rican, born and raised in San José. He is an an evolutionary ecologist interested in sexual selection, animal weapons, and phenotypic plasticity. Since rejoining CIEE...

Jessica Arias

Academic Director

Jessica is a PhD candidate on Agricultural Science from the University of Costa Rica. She earned a BSc. in Ecotourism and a MSc. in Sustainable Development, with a concentration in Conservation...

Jose Carlos Calderon

Student Life Manager

"Moncho" earned his BSc in Biology at the University of Costa Rica with a specialization in bats. He has worked for CIEE Monteverde for over 10 years as Assistant Instructor...

Get Started Steps

Get Started

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Start an Application 
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Connect With Your Campus Study Abroad Office 
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Contact Us 
Send us an email if you still have questions or need information about applying to this program.

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