Monteverde is a small community of 4,000 that attracts up to 200,000 tourists each year, drawn by the incredible natural setting and unparalleled biodiversity. Its forest is located in the largest private reserve in Central America and reflects a long heritage of grassroots conservation. The reserve encompasses not only cloud forest but everything from dry forest to rain forest habitats. Monteverde’s forests house over 2,500 species of plants, including over 500 species of orchids. In addition, Monteverde has over 60 species of amphibians, 100 species of mammals and over 450 bird species, including the famed Resplendent Quetzal.
Monteverde, Costa Rica
About the Program
HWS has an established partnership with CIEE, who will deliver the academic program and will oversee all logistical arrangements, including orientation, excursions, accommodations, and cultural programming. The CIEE Study Center in Monteverde is located at the edge of the forest in a small, bilingual community surrounded by a cloud forest. Monteverde’s cloud forest has been studied for more than 25 years by both Costa Rican and visiting researchers. This widens the research opportunities available and acquaints students with practical issues associated with agricultural development, eco-tourism, and grassroots conservation efforts in developing countries.
Students will enroll in one of two program tracks: “Sustainability and the Environment” or “Tropical Ecology and Conservation”. In addition to a Spanish language course at their appropriate level, students in the Sustainability track will enroll in 4 other courses, including an internship (course descriptions are available here.) Those in the Tropical Ecology track will take a Spanish language course at their level along with 4 other courses, including an independent Research project (course descriptions are available here).
This program is geared towards students in biology and environmental studies interested in tropical conservation and sustainable development.
This program is open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors in good academic and social standing with a minimum gpa of 2.50. In addition to successfully completing at least 1 semester of college-level Spanish, students in the Sustainability track must have a minimum of 3 college-level courses in environmental studies or the natural sciences while those in the Tropical Ecology track must have at least 2 semesters of college-level Biology (a course in ecology or environmental science is also recommended.) Due to the challenging nature of study abroad, student academic and disciplinary records will be carefully screened.
Sustainability track students will be housed with a host family where they will be provided with all meals. During excursions housing will be provided in field stations or basic hotels. Tropical Ecology track students will reside with a host family for one month and at a research station for the remainder of the program and will be provided with all meals.
As part of the program all students will participate in a two-day orientation in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. Sustainability track students will travel to conservation projects and related sites throughout Costa Rica and Nicaragua while those in the Tropical Ecology track will visit national parks and the Bocas del Toro Islands. The program incorporates extensive field experiences to complement classroom work.
Students will be charged standard HWS tuition and fees, room and board fees, and a $600 administrative fee. This will cover tuition for a five-course semester, housing, all meals, and program-related activities and excursions. Additional expenses not covered include airfare, books, visa, immunizations, and personal expenses (laundry, entertainment, and independent travel). We estimate airfare for this program at $700-$900 from the East Coast, books at $200, and visa/immunizations at $250. It is difficult to give an accurate estimate of personal expenses because student spending habits differ considerably. We would suggest a minimum of $1,200. However, students on a tight budget should be able to manage with less. If you are concerned about finances, we strongly encourage you to talk to the CGE staff who can offer information and advice based on your specific situation.
CIEE has supplemental scholarships available to students who have been accepted to the Monteverde program. Please see Amy Teel at the CGE for information on how to apply for these scholarships.
HWS students must complete all components of the Global Education application in order to be considered for admission to this program.
- This program is offered Spring semester.
- All components of the application must be submitted online by the published deadline. Specific deadline dates are set each semester and typically will be in October (for Fall programs) and March (for Spring programs).
IMPORTANT: The handbook(s) below is/are the most recent handbook(s) published for this program. A new version, with updated information, will be made available each semester. Program participants will receive their updated handbook approximately 2-3 months prior to their program’s start date.
SPRING HANDBOOK (coming soon)
Please DO NOT MAKE TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS until you have received final confirmation of the program start/finish dates for the specific semester you are attending. Dates included in versions of the program handbook intended for previous semesters do not necessarily apply to future programs.
NOTE: The information above is subject to change. Please see the CGE for more information.
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