monteverde rainforest girls hike
Monteverde, Costa Rica

Women for Environmental Action

Summer '25 Applications Open

STEM

Dates

-

3 weeks

Costs

$4,950

Application Deadline

Enroll Now

Request Information

Dates

-

3 weeks

Costs

$4,950

Application Deadline

Enroll Now

Request Information

Program Overview
Find inspiration and environmental solutions working with women in the rainforest, farm, and laboratory.   

Explore scientific- and technology-based approaches with inspiring women. Collaborate to develop an Action Plan in support of environmental sustainability—apply technical skills to design a mushroom shed or use biological data to create a natural pesticide. It’ll be easy to find inspiration when living on CIEE’s eco-campus at the edge of Costa Rica’s famous Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Spanning 150 acres with a fully functioning farm, labs, library, and nature trails, the campus is the perfect outdoor laboratory for scientific and experiential learning. What’s more, brilliant and passionate women professionals in various science fields will mentor you throughout.    

Along the way, have fun learning Spanish, lending a hand on the farm, preparing (and sampling!) Costa Rican dishes, engaging in folkloric dances with locals, and being constantly amazed with the wildlife around you.

Trips away from campus bring you even more of the natural beauty of Costa Rica, from the impressive El Tigre waterfalls to the Guanacaste region, to tour the wonders of the Pacific lowland forest.  

The Take-Aways

Real-World Experience

Conduct science research, survey local flora and fauna, and gain engineering, math, and tech skills. Participate in an Environmental Sustainability Challenge and come home with an Action Plan showing your recommendations.

Credentials for Your Future

Topics for your college essays, experience to inform your future career, an Action Plan that showcases your skills in STEM, and service learning hours documenting your engagement with the community.

Life Skills and New Friendships

Return with greater self-confidence, independence, and improved communication skills. Enjoy a broader worldview and friends of different backgrounds from across the U.S.

45

Hours of Expert Instruction

12

Hours of Service Learning

1

Life-Changing Experience

The Destination
  • ciee tuscon monteverde classroom campus
  • sunset in costa rica forest mountains
  • costa Rica_Monteverde_sloth.jpg

The Destination

Welcome to Costa Rica, to its rugged mountains, dramatic volcanoes, lush forests, and incredible biodiversity.  

Although Costa Rica covers only 0.03% of the planet’s surface, it contains over 5% of the world’s biodiversity. Its natural wealth, both in species and ecosystems, is the reason scientists from around the globe come to conduct research in this tiny Central American country. Cloud forests, one of the most unique and wondrous of all ecosystems, are found along Costa Rica’s northwestern mountaintops at Monteverde. It is here, the epicenter for biodiversity, sustainability, and scientific discovery, where you will live and research for three weeks. 

Costa Rica is also a world leader in environmental sustainability. It currently runs on 100% renewable electricity and is actively working toward a national goal of carbon neutrality. The Costa Rican who formulated the national decarbonization plan is Andrea Meza, former Minister of Environment and Energy and one of many women leaders with a STEM background. 

Cultural Awareness

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.

Weekly Learning Goals

Explore the basics of sustainability and biodiversity, compute ecological footprints, and deploy camera traps to interpret wildlife data. Learn about the UN Sustainable Development Goals and work in groups on an Action Plan to address a local challenge. 

Investigate nutrient cycles, participate in composting and tree planting, and explore different types of tropical habitats. Visit local women-run farms to learn sustainable practices and get inspiration from accomplished women guest speakers who work in STEM. 

Do a BioBlitz with a female STEM professional. Present your group’s Action Plan, including goals, deliverables, and next steps.

Daily Life

Daily Life

Monday–Friday 

Each day offers a balance between interactive instruction and cultural activities with time on your own, too. Morning classes and afternoon activities may swap places. 

  • Hearty breakfast at the dining hall 
  • Hands-on classes and mentoring from women scientists 
  • Hot lunch at the dining hall 
  • Outdoor activities, community service, or cultural workshops 
  • Dinner at the dining hall 

Weekends 

  • Overnight or day excursions to top natural attractions 
  • Quality time with friends 

Check out the blog posts to discover more about daily life and excursions on program.

Housing

Residencies on the CIEE Monteverde Campus, shared rooms with other Global Navigators

24/7 Support

1 Program Leader for every 12 students and support from local staff

Program Blogs

From CIEE

Student Post: Lucy S.

By Emma Butler at CIEE

Everything in Costa Rica has been so amazing! I couldn't believe how beautiful the country is and was completely amazed by it all as soon as we landed. I’ve loved... keep reading

From CIEE

Exploring CIEE's Monteverde Campus

By Emma Butler at CIEE

Students have had a busy first few days in Monteverde! They explored campus in groups in a scavenger hunt, discovering the different sustainable aspects such as solar water heaters, biodigesters... keep reading

From CIEE

Welcome to Monteverde!

By Emma Butler at CIEE

Students arrived in Costa Rica on Sunday and enjoyed a typical Costa Rican lunch at a restaurant with beautiful views. Following lunch, we took a three and a half hour... keep reading

Activities

Take a Tour of CIEE's Monteverde Campus

Monteverde_students tubing tour at Rio Celeste.jpg

Just Imagine All the Fun You’ll Have!

  • Tube over rapids down a gushing river in the Poderosa Adventure Park. Exhilarating and 100% carefree!
  • Go on a guided night walk in the forest. Shhh! You’ll hear chirping, singing, gurgling, and rustling all around you.  
  • Zipline above the tree canopy, ride horses up a mountain, and cross hanging bridges through the cloud forest—you just might see howler monkeys, macaws, sloths, and maybe even a puma! 
  • Follow a path through the lush forest to El Tigre waterfalls and swim, if you dare, in the cold water. 
  • Discover a climate-friendly cosmetics farm and handcraft soap with natural ingredients.     

Please note activities are based on past programs and subject to change at CIEE's discretion to adapt to local circumstances and participant feedback. Our goal when arranging activities is always to enhance your experience. 

What People Are Saying

  • “I loved meeting women who have careers in STEM like my teachers and those who were introduced to us in activities. The experience here and just the environment itself was an enriching experience which I hope to harvest and grow from.” 

    Diana C., Global Navigator Alum

  • “Our instructors were incredibly passionate and knowledgeable about the biodiversity, wildlife, and the ecology here in Monteverde! Throughout our entire trip, we focused on a pioneering woman in STEM who has greatly influenced the field today.” 

    Global Navigator Alum

  • “I love the trips to the local farms, outdoor activities, and the conversations I had with my roommate and tablemates. I found it fascinating and comforting that I was able to have deep, intellectual conversations with girls I didn’t know three weeks before.” 

    Akeena H., Global Navigator Alum

  • “I won’t forget hiking in the tropical rainforest in the rain and riding horses. I also appreciated pushing myself out of my comfort zone and doing so many things that I wouldn't have done otherwise.” 

    Amber C., Global Navigator Alum

Eligibility

Eligibility

  • Participants must be 14 years old and above.
  • Program open to current high school Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors.
  • Program not open to male-identifying students.
  • 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.

For more information, refer to the detailed Program Essential Eligibility Criteria.

Dates & Fees

Dates & Fees

Application Fee

$25 

Program scholarships and tuition include iNext Travel Insurance, but do not cover the cost of flights. Find additional details about what’s included with your tuition. 

More questions? Find answers, get application support, sign up for virtual presentations or contact us.

Program

Application Due

Start Date

End Date

Costs

Program Summer Session I 2025 3 weeks Start Date End Date Costs $4,950
Program Summer Session II 2025 3 weeks Start Date End Date Costs $4,950

What's Included

Interactive Classes

Housing

3 Meals/Day

(Dietary Needs Accommodated)

All Ground Transportation

(Once In-country)

Optional Flight Chaperone

(Flight Cost Not Included)

Pre-departure Advice and Orientation

Access to Local Phone and WIFI

All Cultural Activities and Excursions

Comprehensive Medical and Travel Protection

24/7 Emergency On-site Support

Our Staff

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...

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