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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Monteverde, Costa Rica
  • Program Terms: Fall, Spring
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Program Sponsor: CIEE 
  • Restrictions: Pomona applicants only
  • Dates / Deadlines
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Language of instruction: English, Spanish Housing options: Apartment, Homestay
Areas of study: Biology, Botany, Caribbean Studies, Cognitive Science, Earth Science, Ecology, Environmental Studies, Humanities, Independent/Directed Research, Linguistics, Marine Science, Sciences, Spanish Class standing: 1 - Second Semester Sophomore
Program type: Experiential/field-based, Stand alone Language level: Spanish 2, 22, or the equivalent
GPA: 2.5
Program Description:

Tropical Ecology + Conservation


Browse Program

Program Overview

Explore the biodiversity in Monteverde’s Cloud Forest Reserve, beaches, waterfalls, and more – all while building on your Spanish language skills. Take courses on tropical ecology, and a Spanish language course appropriate to your skills at CIEE– Monteverde. Work on an independent research project in tropical ecology or conservation, from observation and data collection to a presentation of your findings. All courses are complemented with CIEE co-curricular activities and excursion to enhance classroom learning and provide intercultural understanding.

Unique Experiences


when you visit Costa Rica’s mangroves, lowland rainforest, dry forest, and other fascinating natural habitats.


as you complete an independent research project that gives you an in-depth look at local flora or fauna.


when you hike under the dripping boughs of the cloud forest and observe colorful plants and animals.

Read student stories

Excursions & Activities

  • Immerse yourself in the steamy jungle of Lowland Rainforest
  • Explore a dry forest recognized for its study of regeneration in Santa Rosa National Park
  • See how local coffee farms, livestock, and butterfly gardens add to Monteverde’s vibrant landscape
  • Camp, hike, snorkel, boat, and swim while comparing Atlantic and Pacific slope habitats
  • Hike above the treeline to explore endemic species and amazing views in Costa Rica’s paramo
  • Discover local foods and customs in the town of Monteverde


Put your skills to work on an independent research project in tropical ecology or conservation, from observation to data collection and then to a presentation of your findings. At every step, you will be guided by an expert faculty advisor. Past projects have explored beetle habitats, hummingbird behavior, the prey of cane toads, orchids and their pollinators, and much more.

View Student Research

What's Included

  • Tuition
  • Housing
  • Meals
  • Advising before you depart to set goals and answer questions
  • Optional on-site airport meet-and-greet
  • A two-day orientation in San José to introduce students to Spanish culture, the academic program, and surroundings, plus practical information about living in Costa Rica
  • Full-time program leadership and support in your host country
  • Cultural and/or Co-curricular Activities
  • Excursions and/or Study Tours
  • Insurance and other travel benefits, with CIEE iNext
  • 24/7 emergency on-site support

1 out of 3 CIEE students receives a scholarship - get yours!

GAIN Travel Grants - up to $2,000 toward travel costs guaranteed to all Pell-elgible students.

Gilman Go Global Grants - $2,500/semester and $1,000/summer, guaranteed to all Gilman applications.

Merit-Based Scholarships - $2,500/semester and $750/summer, awarded to students deomonstrating high academic achievement.

Minority Serving Institutions (MIS) Grant - $2,000/semester and $500/summer, guaranteed to all students attending MSIs.

Learn more


  • 200+ study abroad programs in 40+ countries
  • $8 million in scholarships offered each year
  • 1 in 3 students receives a scholarship
  • Study tours and cultural activities included
  • Internships and volunteering opportunities
  • Rigorous academics
  • Cultural immersion
  • iNext travel insurance included


Our highly experienced staff have extensive knowledge of all CIEE programs and services. If you are a student with questions about completing your application, or you want to sign up to receive program updates and news, our staff are happy to help.

Contact Us

Academic Program
Students take the following courses for a total of 4.25 Pomona credits (4 Pomona credits for academic year 2022-2023 and all years prior):

Tropical Diversity (1 Pomona credit)
Tropical Community Ecology (1 Pomona credit)
Independent Research in Biology/Ecology (1 Pomona credit)
Spanish Language (0.75 Pomona credits)
Humans in the Tropics, (0.5 Pomona credit)

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.

There is no CR/NC option on this program.

Living Arrangements
Students live in dormitories at a biological field station in two-, three- or four-person rooms, each with a private bath. Meals are served family style at the field station as well. Students also participate in a homestay of one or two weekends with Spanish-speaking families in Monteverde. 

Number of Students
CIEE enrolls approximately 15–20 students, selected from a competitive national pool. The Monteverde center hosts CIEE from other programs as well.

Host Institution
Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE)

Faculty Liaison
Rachel Levin

  • Pomona Biology 40 and 41E. One additional semester of ecology or environmental science, is recommended.
  • Completion of elementary Spanish (Spanish 2 or 22), or the equivalent.
Student Experiences
Listen to Chris Clark’s (PO '21) experience on the CIEE Tropical Ecology and Conservation program on the Sagehens Abroad Podcast.

Travel Advisories 

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline (Pacific Time) Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2024 09/17/2023 10/13/2023 TBA TBA