Monteverde, Costa Rica

High School Away

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Find your learning pod in the Costa Rican rainforest!

With COVID-19 disrupting plans for many high schools across the country, one thing is for sure: Fall 2020 won’t look like any other … Why not make it awesome?! 
CIEE High School Away gives you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live in the Monteverde cloud forest, while keeping up with all your high school courses and requirements! Call Costa Rica “home” for four weeks at a time, and bond with a small learning pod of like-minded U.S. high school students abroad, all while logging into your U.S. virtual classroom every day and working on your assignments. 

CIEE High School Away takes “distance learning” to a whole new level and puts you back in control of your fall experience. Make it a semester to remember for all for the right reasons! Come home refreshed, more independent and with new lifelong friends and memories.

Read more about travel requirements to Costa Rica.

The Take-Aways

  • Focus

    A unique setting for your distance learning, within a small, self-quarantined and self-motivated group of high school students.

  • Independence & Resilience

    Come home better prepared to make transitions, take control of new situations, and appreciate challenging experiences for what they are: opportunities to learn and grow.

  • Service Learning

    Lend a hand at our organic farm, harvest your own dinner or help our team develop educational material for students. Get a certificate for your service.

Location & Culture

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Your safe haven for distance learning
You have to see this site to believe it. Set right next to the world-famous Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve, CIEE’s new Global Institute is an amazing 150-acre campus complete with a working organic farm, open-air classroom and multiple science labs. Dorms are bungalow style and the sustainable dining hall serves fresh produce straight from the farm. Although you’d never need to leave this eco-friendly preserve, there’s much to explore on excursions and adventures planned to round out your experience.

Set more than 4,500 ft. above sea level, Monteverde (or “Green Mountain”) finds itself enveloped with fog and clouds year-round. The moisture trickles from tree branches down to the organisms below, helping to sustain an amazingly rich ecosystem. With 100 species of mammals, 400 species of birds, and 2,500 varieties of plants, it’s no wonder National Geographic called this “the jewel in the crown of cloud forests.”

Far below the mountains are small coastal towns offering pristine beaches, basic shops and restaurants, and tidal shores ripe for exploration.

Daily Life

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Daily Life

Your final daily schedule will be optimized for your group, based on individual school requirements. Expect 4 hours of solo study hours Monday through Friday, and daily group activities or excursions. All meals are shared in our cafeteria.

This program is set up to create a safe bubble in the jungle. You and your group will quarantine together on campus for the first two weeks. With acres of land to explore, a soccer field, a library, science labs, a coffee plantation, an organic farm and a nursery, there's plenty to explore, learn and keep busy while you quarantine and bond with your new "learning pod".

Read more on CIEE 's COVID-19 risk mitigation measures and student guidelines.

  • Housing

    Private room and bathroom on CIEE’s Monteverde campus for self-quarantine during week 1, then private or shared double room for the remainder of your stay.

  • Local Support

    24/7 live-in resident advisor and tutors available every school day

Program Blogs

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Program Blogs


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Sample Activities

  • Boat on Lake Arenal, set against a backdrop of the quintessential cone volcano
  • Visit the largest privately-protected reserve in Costa Rica to learn about tropical biodiversity
  • Engage and play soccer with local teens
  • Take a cooking class and learn authentic Tico recipes
  • Go on a biodiversity scavenger hunt, a night hike, and a city tour!

Please note this list of activities is based on past programs and subject to change at CIEE's discretion to both adapt to local circumstances and participant feedback. For Fall 2021, local health and safety guidelines may not allow for overnight excursions or day trips. Participants will be updated as the program start date comes closer.

What People are Saying

  • "I really like the structure we have here. You finish class and then go somewhere else to socialize, away from the work environment. It's good for your mental health, to not just be in one place."

    Vivian M.
  • "In the US I was making school my life, here I am making school part of my life." 

    Honey H.
  • "Lucy is having the most incredible time in Costa Rica. She loves everyone there and told me she thinks she is going to cry her eyes out at the airport on Friday. So that sounds like a very successful 4 weeks. My husband and I are so grateful that CIEE created this new program. It’s been a fantastic experience for Lucy!" 

    Lucy's Mom
  • "I love the freedom to roam around and explore. I have loved the excursions, especially the one over Thanksgiving break. Eating lunch by the waterfall, getting in the water, then drying out in the sunlight."

    High School Away alum

Dates & Fees

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Dates & Fees


  • Student in good standing with academic requirements for either a U.S. high school (GPA of 2.5 or higher) or Costa Rican high school (80% in all current classes).
  • Demonstrate maturity and self-motivation through the application process. While this program provides a supportive educational environment, participants are expected to keep up with their school requirements and remain responsible for their own grades and deadlines.
  • This program is hosted on our remote Monteverde campus in Costa Rica and involves wilderness activities such as hikes in the cloud forest. Applicants should be comfortable being around bugs and monkeys!

Ready to change your life?