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Programs : Brochure

This is the program brochure page.
Program Description


CIEE - Monteverde Hike
Photo courtesy of CIEE

   Quick Facts

  • Gain hands-on experience through an independent research project
  • Participate in several extensive field trips, including a trip to Panama to observe marine diversity in the coral reefs off the Bocas del Toro Islands
  • Get to know rural Costa Rica during a one-month homestay with a local family
  • Study Spanish at all levels with no more than five students per instructor
  • Prerequisites: 2 semesters of college-level biology; 1 additional semester of college-leve ecology or environmental science recommended; some college-level Spanish recommended


CIEE Monteverde
CIEE - Monteverde Cloudforest
CIEE - Monteverde Volcano
Photos courtesy of CIEE

Location Details

Welcome to the rain forest. Literally up in the clouds of the Costa Rican continental divide, Monteverde is a tropical mountain home to tens of thousands of species. Big cats like pumas live here, as do monkeys, 420 species of orchids, and the endangered three-wattled bellbird. Monteverde is a small, international community, nestled along the edge of the cloud forest in the Tilarán mountain range of northwest Costa Rica. It is perhaps best known for the famed Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve, which offers some 200,000-plus yearly visitors a portal to a lush haven for biodiversity.

Drawn to the area’s spectacular beauty and opportunities to see quetzals and monkeys, tourists now contribute the principal revenues, although coffee plantations and dairy farms still dot the landscape. The region, comprising of numerous small towns (Monteverde, Cerro Plano, Santa Elena) is home to about 5,000 people of diverse backgrounds. These include Costa Ricans, who can trace their local roots back for several generations, North American Quakers, who colonized the upper elevations alongside Costa Rican pioneers some 60 years ago, and many international artists and biologists. 

The CIEE Study Center in Monteverde is located at the edge of the forest in a small, friendly, bilingual community surrounded by a cloud forest. Monteverde is free of biting insects and green all year round. Monteverde’s Cloud Forest has been studied for more than 35 years by both visiting and Costa Rican biologists. This widens the biological research opportunities available and acquaints students with practical conservation issues, including those associated with agricultural development, eco-tourism, and grassroots conservation efforts in developing countries.

Visa Information

U.S. citizens may require a visa.* Limited information about the visa application process may be provided by the ASU Study Abroad Office and/or your host institution, but it is your sole responsibility to research, apply, and secure a visa. Failure to obtain a visa may result in your inability to participate and, ultimately, your withdrawal from the program, subject to the terms of the Study Abroad Withdrawal Policy

Consult this page for additional information regarding visas.  If you need assistance securing a U.S. Passport, visit the ASU U.S. Passport Acceptance Office in Tempe.

PLEASE NOTE: Visa requirements for non U.S. citizens may differ from those for U.S. citizens; students who are not U.S. citizens are advised to contact their International Coordinator and begin independently researching the visa requirements for their nationality as soon as possible.

*At the time of writing. This information is subject to change without notice; students should independently confirm this requirement with the relevant consulate/embassy.


Academic Program & Courses

The small, rigorous courses with a biological focus are offered for CIEE study abroad students only, and incorporate extensive travel, research, and field study. U.S. and Costa Rican biology professors teach and evaluate students in both the classroom and on field trips. Students should expect an academically intense experience (running from 8am to 6pm daily) and be willing to learn in a variety of settings, including classrooms, beaches, waterfalls, and treetops.

Classes are held with CIEE students only and are small and dynamic. There is no direct enrollment with local students. There is an emphasis on experiential learning. One day students will find themselves in the forest teaching other students. The next day might be a morning of bird watching followed by keying out plant samples.

Access a list of courses other ASU students have taken and view current course equivalencies.

Independent Research
Use your newly minted skills and knowledge to carry out an independent project in tropical ecology or conservation. Beginning with personal observations, you’ll formulate a hypothesis, design an appropriate test, and gather and analyze data. The project culminates in oral presentations and submitted written reports on your work.

Course Levels, Credit & Grades
Students earn 17 credits on this program. Curriculum is set for this program and all students take the same content courses and one Spanish language course at the appropriate level.

The CIEE Monteverde Study Center follows U.S. grading and credit standards. Attendance requirements are strict and grades will be impacted by missed classes.

  CIEE Study Center ASU
Course Levels CIEE 1000 & 2000 level courses Lower division
CIEE 3000 & 4000 level courses Upper division
Credit 3 credits* 3 credits*
*Courses offered may vary in credit amount. CIEE Study Center classes will convert to ASU credit on a 1:1 basis.
CIEE - Monteverde Center
CIEE - Monteverde Palm Desert
CIEE - Monteverde Solar Panels
CIEE Monteverde- Bug
Photos courtesy of CIEE


CIEE - Monteverde Host Family
CIEE Monteverde- Field Station
Photos courtesy of CIEE

Program Housing

Housing and all meals are included in the study abroad program fee. For two out of the four months on semester programs, students live in a biological station situated adjacent to the magnificent Monteverde Cloud Forest. Students attend all classes in this beautiful setting. Up to four people share a room (two bunk beds provided), with a private bath and hot shower. Meals are taken at the biological station and served family style. Vegetarians and vegans can easily be accommodated.

A 3-4 week homestay (depending on term) is also included in the program, during which participants live and eat their meals with local Costa Rican families throughout the Monteverde-Santa Elena regions. Homestays are assigned based on independent study research interests. All meals are included for the length of the homestay period.

During semester programs, students spend several extended periods, nearly one and a half months in all, traveling with their professors throughout Costa Rica, exploring the country’s various ecosystems.

Two teaching assistants live with students at the station and are available to help answer questions on academics and general guidance, and the other staff members plan activities and notify students of community events.

Special Considerations

Below you will find information that may help you in planning for your study abroad experience. Early discussions and planning can help to support you in having a positive experience abroad. We invite you to meet with the International Coordinator for this program to discuss any questions or concerns you may have.

Physical Considerations

Study abroad participants may find themselves walking or taking public transit abroad more frequently than they are accustomed at their home campus.

Disability Accommodations Abroad

Individuals with disabilities can and do study abroad, but may find accessibility and accommodation in one of more of this program’s locations very different from the United States. For example, in Costa Rica, building and transportation accessibility is limited. Many buildings remain inaccessible and while public buses may have wheelchair accessibility, functionality of these resources may be in disrepair.

In general, the Study Abroad Office cannot guarantee access to public transportation, buildings, or public sites on this program. Any student who anticipates needing any kind of special accommodation due to a disability should contact the ASU Study Abroad Office early in the planning process to investigate the availability of accommodations (including accessible facilities) on this specific program. Contact Student Accessibility and Inclusive Learning Services and your Disability Access Consultant to include them in the discussion; be sure to give your Disability Access Consultant permission to speak with the Study Abroad Office on your behalf. You can find additional information and resources on our Students with Disabilities page.

LGBTQIA Students Abroad

Students of diverse sexual orientations or gender identities will find that the social climate, laws, and norms of other cultures will often differ from the U.S. If you identify as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, or queer student - or if you are still exploring your identity - you may face unique challenges when traveling abroad. For example, in Costa Rica, LGBTQIA students may encounter discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity as public attitudes are generally conservative.

We encourage students who identify as members of the LGBTQIA community to visit the U.S. Department of State website for helpful information about laws and attitudes in this program’s locations, including pre-travel tips and advice on staying safe while abroad. You can find additional information and resources on our LGBTQIA Students page.

Gender Identity Abroad

When traveling abroad, you may find different gender roles and norms than you’re used to. It’s possible that you may be treated differently or be expected to treat others differently based on your (or their) gender identity. For example, in Costa Rica, some women travelers may experience harassment in the form of cat calling and other forms of objectification by local men. Students are encouraged to travel in groups and in mixed company whenever possible.

You can find additional information and resources on our Gender Identity Abroad page.

Racial and Ethnic Minorities Abroad

Students of different ethnic and racial backgrounds may encounter unique challenges transitioning from life here in the United States to life as a student living abroad, including but not limited to access to personal care products and services.

You can prepare yourself for the situations you may experience by researching the ethnic composition of your host country and exploring its history of racial and ethnic relations. We encourage students to start that research on our Racial and Ethnic Minority Students page.


Cost Information

Partnership program participants will NOT pay ASU tuition for the courses completed abroad. Instead, participants will pay a Program Fee as a condition of participation. Partnership program participants are also responsible for paying a non-refundable $50 Application Fee, in addition to the published Program Fee. All other costs associated with participation in the program are the responsibility of the individual student.

Be sure to reference the Fall Semester Cost Sheet or Spring Semester Cost Sheet for information on any additional estimated expenses.

The program may allow for time which can be spent in non-program activities. Participants may wish to travel, sightsee or participate in activities or events in which they have a personal interest. Please note that the participant is fully responsible for making arrangements and for all costs of transportation, lodging, food and additional expenses that may be associated with any non-Program activities.


Funding Your Study Abroad Program

Studying abroad is an investment in your future, which requires careful planning and management. However, the personal, academic, and professional rewards that you will gain from this experience will last a lifetime. You should carefully consider costs, budgets and financing when selecting and preparing for your experience abroad. If you have questions at any step of the process, we encourage you to reach out to your International Coordinator for guidance.

Steps to Financing Your Study Abroad Program

  1. Review the Considering Costs Table for a general overview and cost comparison of popular programs.
  2. Be sure to reference the Fall Semester Cost Sheet or Spring Semester Cost Sheet to find a breakdown of program expenses.
  3. Attend a Financing Your Study Abroad Workshop.
  4. Consider your Financial Aid options.
  5. Search and Apply for Scholarships and Grants.
  6. Exhaust your options by exploring Additional Funding Resources including our Community-Based Funding Guide.
  7. View our  Financing Your Study Abroad Program Handbook for more information, including Payment Information.

Unique Funding Opportunities for This Program



Dates & Deadlines
Dates & Deadlines
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring Semester 2021 10/15/2020
Rolling Admission 02/07/2021 05/18/2021
NOTE: Dates are subject to change. Do not purchase airfare until dates are confirmed by the Study Abroad Office and/or in any host institution acceptance materials.
Fall Semester 2021 04/01/2021 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA
NOTE: Dates are subject to change. Do not purchase airfare until dates are confirmed by the Study Abroad Office and/or in any host institution acceptance materials.
Spring Semester 2022 10/15/2021 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA
NOTE: Dates are subject to change. Do not purchase airfare until dates are confirmed by the Study Abroad Office and/or in any host institution acceptance materials.

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Students will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision tasks prior to the term's application deadline.

Indicates that deadline has passed