Based in the beautiful and rare cloud forest habitat of Monteverde, this CIEE-sponsored program provides students with the opportunity to gain an inside-view of sustainability and environmental conservation in tropical Costa Rica. Program features include field trips and excursions to protected areas, conservation-related internships with local organizations, and homestays with Costa Rican families. Topics of study include agricultural sustainability, food systems, green energy, natural resource management, and environmental economics.

Faculty Adviser:

Professor Heidi Dobson (Biology Department)

Fields of study:

Environmental studies, sustainability (including food systems, agriculture, alternative energy), Spanish language.


Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8 (Whitman requirement); at least three college-level courses in the natural sciences, environmental studies, sustainability, or agriculture.

Language Prerequisite:

None required; previous background in Spanish strongly recommended.


17 semester credits - Required Courses:
Tropical Conservation Biology & Policy (4 credits)
Costa Rican Natural History (2 credits)
Sustainability: Environment, Economy, & Society (4 credits)
Conservation and Sustainability Internship (3 credits)
Spanish Language (4 credits)

Credit Conversion:

1 CIEE credit = 1 Whitman credit


All participants engage in a month-long internship for credit with an NGO, business, or farm. Students undertake a project in environmental education, farming, natural resource management, ecotourism, environmental art, or green energy.


Homestays with local families throughout the semester. Families are within walking distance of the CIEE Center. During field trips accommodations are typically simple hotels or field stations.


Meals are taken with host families. During travels meals are taken at the hotel or field station.

Semesters Offered:

Fall, Spring


Late August – Early December; Early February – Mid May


CIEE General Scholarship and Grant Information

Program Link:

CIEE: Monteverde Sustainability and Environmental Studies