Monteverde, Costa Rica

Tropical Biodiversity & Sustainability

Summer '21 applications are now open!
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Information for term Tropical Biodiversity & Sustainability

Application deadline, and cost information.

Application Deadline

December 4, 2020
weeks
days
hours

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Deadline: December 4, 2020
  • Dates: Jun 13 – Jul 3, 2021 (3 weeks)
$4,750

Application Deadline

December 4, 2020
weeks
days
hours

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Deadline: December 4, 2020
  • Dates: Jul 11 – 31, 2021 (3 weeks)
$4,750

Overview

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From cloud forest canopies to sustainable farms and fishing villages below, study vital ecosystems up-close and learn first-hand how policies and action make an impact.

Hike in tropical forests, trek through the high-altitude paramo, kayak through mangroves and snorkel in coral reefs, learning key species and their conservation challenges along the way. From San Jose, the most populated city in the country, to Corcovado, one of the most biodiverse places on Earth, you’ll travel to a range of unique ecosystems, each with its own set of complex issues — from urbanization to overfishing to ecotourism.

Explore how STEM permeates almost every aspect of life, in surprising and interesting ways around the campus, farm, and forest! In the field, laboratory, and even in the campus kitchen, you will apply the principles of physics and biology to explore the flow of energy through the food chain. Learn how farming practices can encourage and support wildlife, and how much forest you actually need to grow a cow. Discover why microbial communities are instrumental to the flow of energy, water, and nutrients in the campus food system. Using computer models and data collection, investigate and identify sources of carbon emissions on the farm, examine practices like tree-planting and soil conservation, and make assessments of the overall farm and campus carbon footprint. 

Next, you’ll put STEM into action and create your own research or engineering project under the mentor-ship of expert female STEM professionals. Conduct research in the laboratory or in the field on reforestation and carbon accounting, native plant and wildlife interactions, soil microbial communities, and biodiversity monitoring. Or, design and construct your own tiny house, engineer a rainwater harvesting system,  or devise an innovation that provides a creative solution for expanding renewable energy on campus.

After three weeks of life in the wild, you’ll return home with a wealth of knowledge and the skills and inspiration to tackle challenges in your community and incorporate sustainability into your own daily life.

The Take-Aways

  • Education

    How are biodiversity conservation and sustainability related? Study 6 tropical ecosystems to connect the dots. Learn how to measure and quantify biodiversity. Gain knowledge of conservation practices and the principles of sustainable development. Create a video showing your vision of a sustainable future!

  • Field Work

    Learn sustainable fishing and farming practices. Learn how to lessen environmental footprints on a personal and international level. Learn about key species, explore different ecosystems, collect and record data, and observe conservation in action.

  • Certification

    A Certificate of Learning in Biodiversity Conservation & Sustainability

Location & Culture

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Be on the forefront of sustainability in the greenest place on Earth.

Why do biologists from around the globe come to this tiny Central American country? Because it’s one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet. Covering just 0.03% of the world's surface, it’s teeming with over 10,000 different types of tropical plants and animals – representing roughly 5% of the total species worldwide.

Did you know? Costa Rica is a leader in sustainable living and nearly all of its energy is renewable. What’s more, it is the only country to set the goal to be carbon neutral by 2025. Over the past 25 years, Costa Rica has doubled its forest cover – while still building a healthy economy. The country continues to innovate with sustainable agriculture, energy production, reforestation efforts, biodiversity and ocean resources protection. Ecotourism is a major economic driver and a win-win for all involved.

This small country —roughly the size of West Virginia — has a wealth of geographical features, from rugged mountains and volcanoes to both dry and lush forests with different microclimates. Along the warm Pacific coastline, you will see some of the most spectacular sunsets in your life.

Daily Life

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Daily Life

"What better way to start our time in Monteverde than with a hike into the famous, beautiful cloud forest?"...

Learn more about daily life on a high school study abroad program by reading our blog posts above.

  • Housing

    Dorms, hotels, and biological stations

  • Local Support

    24/7 Support from your CIEE program leader and in-country CIEE staff members

Program Blogs

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Program Blogs

Activities

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Sample Activities

  • Snorkel and swim around Caño Island in Costa Rica’s South Pacific
  • Boat through mangroves and go fishing with the locals
  • Visit national parks and private reserves to experience conservation on a vast scale.
  • Do chores on sustainable farms and tour coffee, vegetable, and agroforestry farms.
  • Play soccer with local kids on Chira Island
  • Interview local officials and native entrepreneurs about innovative green initiatives.
  • Take a cooking class and learn authentic Tico recipes
  • Go on a biodiversity scavenger hunt, a night hike, and a city tour!
  • Carry out an investigation to quantify rain forest biodiversity


​​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. Our goal when revising itineraries is always to enhance your experience. Every activity is designed to provide you with a deep immersion in your topic, local culture and sights. Get ready for maximum fun!

Dates & Fees

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Dates & Fees

Eligibility

  • Program open to all current high school students: Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors. 
  • For scholarship eligibility requirements, please check our Scholarship page.
  • This program involves engaging in moderate to high intensity physical activities such as hiking, and extended observational time outdoors.

Application Fee

$25

Program scholarships and tuition include iNext Travel Insurance, but do not cover the cost of flights. More details about tuition inclusions can be found here.

Program

Application Due

Start Date

End Date

Costs

Summer Session I 2021 3 weeks Dec 4, 2020 Jun 13, 2021 Jul 3, 2021

$4,750

Summer Session II 2021 3 weeks Dec 4, 2020 Jul 11, 2021 Jul 31, 2021

$4,750

Looking for funding?

Ready to change your life?