Sustainability and Environmental Program in Monteverde, Costa Rica

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The CIEE short-term program in Sustainability and the Environment offers students a unique opportunity to live on the edge of the world famous Monteverde cloud forest and explore sustainable development, biodiversity conservation, and ecological engineering in Costa Rica. There is no better setting to study these topics than in the little country with the big reputation for protecting natural capital, harnessing renewable energies, and creating secure food systems in ways that grow the economy. Costa Rica has so much to teach the world!

Questions & Answers


based on 3 reviews
  • Academics 9
  • Support 10
  • Fun 8.3
  • Housing 9.7
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 1 - 3 of 3

In the Clouds

Amazing program if you’re looking for a balance of sustainability and development lectures/excursions and cultural/language immersion (mostly through homestays). So welcomed by my homestay family and felt like we had lots of time to get to know Monteverde while still having work and classes almost every day. Not academically “rigorous” but incredibly insightful- exposure to multiple places within Costa Rica and the cloud forest, perspectives on green issues, and the chance to do mini research survey projects.
Strong support and guidance from instructors. Would have liked more immersion activities, but able to be independent and find them on our own. Monteverde and Santa Elena all very walkable. So many hikes!
Will be dreaming of the amazing ficus trees and people here for years to come.

Yes, I recommend this program

Quiet Monteverde

This is not the study abroad program for someone looking to hop around central america, or even Costa Rica. This is the study abroad program for the student who wants to find a second home. Monteverde and Santa Elena are two very quiet towns, with small populations. There is one bar and a handful of coffee shops scattered around the area, and lots of hilly sidewalks in between them. Since Monteverde is so far away from other cities, it is difficult to plan trips or excursions to other places from here, but, you really should not want to leave.

CIEE gave me an excellent school to work from, with an incredible staff who was dedicated, caring and excited. They connected me to a wonderful host family, where I got to learn what it was really like to live in Costa Rica. I spent so much time in the small town, learning it, and learning how to get around that I would feel comfortable showing it off to my family or friends back home; the coffee shop with my favorite smoothies, the best place to get pizza, or my favorite lookout spot. I felt incredibly safe here, I was worried that I would have an issue with Machismo culture but thankfully I experienced no such thing. People here are humble, gracious and friendly, and they love to share their town with you. I learned so much about my own culture, and what it is like to live in another country.

Monteverde is beautiful, I felt lucky getting to walk to class every day, in awe of the cloud rain forest that surrounds the city. I came during the rainy season, but thankfully I got to experience a different climate than I would at home. I have so many favorite memories to chose from here, touring the cloud forest with my class, going zip lining, learning Spanish, sitting in Stella's Cafe, watching a monkey climb on top of a building, seeing toucans in the tree by my house at dusk. Wear shoes you know you can walk forever in, bring a rain jacket, and a good attitude.

How can this program be improved?
Yes, I recommend this program

An engaging course in a beautiful city

My time in Monteverde challenged me academically, socially, and mentally in all the best ways. The course is designed such that everything we learned, we had hands on experience with as well. Instead of simply talking about different types of agriculture, we visited various farms and spoke with the people who ran them. On the energy unit, we took a 3-day field trip to investigate the most prominent energy sources in Costa Rica. In our free time, my peers and I explored the city, enhancing our Spanish and learning about the culture as well. The staff on the trip were all very friendly and helpful. We felt independent in that, because we are college students, they were not tracking our every move. However, we knew that if we ever needed anything they would be there.

Yes, I recommend this program

About CIEE

A nonprofit, non-governmental organization, CIEE is the world leader in international study and exchange programs. For 65 years, CIEE has helped thousands of students, professionals, and educators gain the knowledge and skills necessary to live and...