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Programs : Brochure

This is the program brochure page.
Program Description


CIEE - Monteverde Hike
Photo courtesy of CIEE

   Quick Facts

  • Participate in specially designed CIEE courses on sustainability and tropical conservation
  • Travel to remote and unique locations in Costa Rica and neighboring countries
  • Intern with local organizations, businesses, or farms dedicated to sustainable development
  • Live with a Costa Rican family and immerse yourself in the culture and language during a month-long stay
  • Explore the sustainability of alternative energy, food systems, agriculture, nature reserves, and tourism in Costa Rica
  • Take excursions to protected areas of endangered biological and cultural diversity to learn about their threats and what can be done to save them
  • Prerequisites: Major in environmental studies/science, sustainability; 2 college-level courses in the natural sciences, environmental studies, or agriculture; some college-level Spanish recommended


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. Although highly diverse, the local community leans toward values favoring family, environmentalism, and pacifism. However, recent opportunities for economic development at the expense of nature, quality of life, and peacefulness have ignited debates about whether and how sustainable development is possible. This dynamic makes the perfect venue for students of sustainability and environmental conservation.

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 CIEE Study Center in Monteverde has a long tradition of high academic quality and holds students to rigorous standards of performance. The Sustainability and the Environment study abroad program is open to serious and committed students majoring in environmental studies/science and who have completed three courses related to environmental studies, including environmental science, conservation-related courses, policy and management, or sustainable development.

The Sustainability and the Environment program integrates lectures, lab exercises, field excursions, community interactions, and an internship. Extensive experiential components in context allow students insight into the real-life application of sustainability and conservation principles.

This is a demanding program that will both challenge and reward the serious student of sustainability. Participants are expected to engage fully in all academic activities, in the classroom and field, and integrate into the lives of their Costa Rican families. The schedule is highly programmed and leaves virtually no free time for independent travel. Nevertheless, students travel with teaching staff to remote and fascinating corners of Costa Rica and Panama, and can look forward to many adventures and unique experiences unavailable to casual travelers. Collectively, the five required classes present a heavy load that students must carefully and efficiently balance to succeed. However, many of the activities afford unparalleled opportunities for an inside-view of sustainability and environmental conservation in practice.

Classes are held with CIEE study abroad students only and are quite small and dynamic. There is no direct enrollment with local students. The Spanish language courses are offered by the Centro Panamericano de Idiomas.

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

Study abroad students participate in a one-month internship program that is highly integrated with themes taught in the core classes. Projects have included growing crops without agrochemicals, optimizing wildlife passage locations, calculating carbon emissions, using sustainable building materials for construction projects, creating educational materials, and more. Students must seek approval through their department at ASU to determine the credit they will receive for the internship.

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 Campus
CIEE - Monteverde Palm Desert

CIEE - Monteverde Solar Panels

CIEE - Monteverde Internship
Photos courtesy of CIEE


CIEE Monteverde Dining HallPhoto courtesy of CIEE

Program Housing

Students stay on the Global Institute Campus and in homestays during this program.

Campus Accommodations: Students stay on campus in shared rooms with en suite bathrooms. Three simple, but hardy meals are served in the dining hall. CIEE's campus includes indoor and outdoor common areas for recreation and study and allows exclusive access to forest trails and gardens.

Homestay: During students' internship placement, they will stay with Costa Rican families in simple, rural homes. They are provided private rooms and three meals per day. Bus transportation from the town center and the CIEE Global Institute is provided by CIEE.

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 the 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 the 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