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Costa Rica: Monteverde

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Monteverde Quick Facts

Language of Instruction

Fields of Study
Spanish language, ecology, tropical biology.

Host Institution
Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE)

Field station with program participants
Four-week homestay

Program Dates
Fall semester: mid-August to late November.
Spring semester: early February to mid-May.

Faculty Liaison
Rachel Levin

In 1951, a group of North American Quakers came to Monteverde in search of a peaceful, rural life, choosing Costa Rica because of the recent abolition of its army. Today, the small community is enriched by its bicultural nature and by the scientists, artists, and visitors who come to study and enjoy the biological splendor of the surrounding forest. Within walking distance of Monteverde’s cloud forest are the dry forests of the Pacific slope’s San Luis Valley and the rain forest of the Atlantic slope’s Peñas Blancas Valley. Between these two extremes rests a breathtaking variety of forest types, veritably teeming with thousands of species of plants, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.

The Tropical Ecology and Conservation Program in Monteverde is administered by the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE). The program is designed for science students, and it allows them to explore their interests in tropical biology and ecology more fully by taking advantage of Monteverde’s unique setting.

Academic Program

Students take the following courses for a total of four Pomona credits: Tropical Diversity, Tropical Community Ecology, Independent Study in Biology, (1.0 Pomona course credit each); Spanish Language, Humans in the Tropics, (0.5 Pomona course credits each). As part of the program, students participate in field trips to Costa Rica’s Atlantic and Pacific slopes, as well as several trips to Monteverde’s many diverse forests. Additionally, students spend one month living with a local family.

Students are not permitted to take any courses taught by the CIEE study center on a P/NC basis.

Living Arrangements

Students live in a biological field station in four-person rooms, each with a private bath. Meals are taken at the field station as well. During the four-week homestay, students live and take their meals with local Costa Rican families. 

Number of Students

Approximately 4. Total group approximately 15–20.


Pomona Biology 40 and 41E. One additional semester of ecology, environmental science, or the equivalent. Three semesters of college-level Spanish or the equivalent. 8.25 GPA required.

Internet Link

Study Abroad