Costa Rica Study Abroad

Summer 2024 

Explore the Cloud Rainforest ecosystem with local guides. Plant trees to offset your carbon footprint and restore the rainforest. Cultural exchange with local high school students. Learn Spanish. Focus on sustainable development, conservation, protected areas, and renewable energy.

  • Host: Monteverde Institute
  • Program Dates:  May 11 - June 20 2024
  • Application Deadline: February 16, 2024
  • Deposit Deadline:  March 8, 2024
  • Earn 9-10 credits, including 9 in upper-level HASS

This six-week, faculty-led, study abroad program offers students the chance to learn about global sustainability practices as they are situated in the practical context of a rural community in the mountains of Costa Rica. Students will be immersed in Costa Rican culture and language, spending approximately five weeks in a homestay program with trusted local families. Learning will be balanced between classroom experiences, homework, and interactive field work.

The Monteverde Institute will provide Spanish language instruction, facilities, and local program coordination.

Students learn both by reading/discussing and by participating in daily Costa Rican life. They live with a host family for at least four weeks, plus 15 hours of classroom instruction in Spanish language, and participation in Costa Rican cultural activities, including cooking and dance.  All levels of Spanish speakers from complete beginners with no prior Spanish to advanced Spanish speakers are welcome. Placement tests at the start of the program will determine student's study level. Students who elect to take the placement test in Spanish language upon returning to Michigan Tech, can earn back credits for courses they test out of (a good way to earn extra credits for your buck!). Earning back credits requires enrolling in an additional Spanish course at Michigan Tech upon return and earning grade of B or better.

Follow our adventures on the 2022 Costa Rica Student Blog.


Students register for 9-10 summer session credits (Track A) through Michigan Technological University and pay the associated tuition costs. Courses offered include: SS 3260 Latin American Cultural History, SS 3960 Cultural Immersion, SS 4390 Seminar in Sustainability, PE 0167/0267- Mindful Yoga, and PE 0175- Hiking in Costa Rica. All courses meet General Education requirements and meet major requirements for Social Sciences majors. Research or internship opportunities may also be available- contact instructor if you are interested.

SS 3960 Cultural Immersion

Generally meets in classroom M-R 2 hours/day.

Cultural immersion in the Costa Rican rainforest requires students to learn about live in, and contribute to the Monteverde community. Students will learn about how the Monteverde community works with the tourism industry and researchers to help maintain a sustainable ecosystem. The class will require students to live with Costa Rican families, practice Spanish, and engage in service learning to understand local social, environmental, and economic dynamics. 

Course Description

SS 4390 Seminar in Sustainability

Field Trip based, total of 12 hours in classroom setting.

This practice and discussion-based class focuses on Costa Rica's efforts to be a global leader in sustainability. We'll focus on Costa Rica's environmental challenges and responses, including substantial attention to renewable energy, environmental and energy policy, water quality and quantity, urbanization, reforestation, ecotourism, food sovereignty, and conservation and protected areas. Weekly field trips allow students to study global environmental problems in the classroom, then experience Costa Rica's solution in practice. Review the 2022 syllabus.

Course Description

SS 3260 Latin American Cultural History

Generally meets in classroom M-R 2 hours/day

This course examines Latin American culture, focusing on Costa Rica. The class will examine the sources and patterns of particular cultural traditions, while at the same time understanding the trajectory of social, political, and economic transformations. Particular attention will be paid to Costa Rica within the latin American context. 


Each week generally includes 4 days of courses/fieldwork in Monteverde, plus a field trip to another community.  Review the daily itinerary from 2022 to get a sense for the opportunities we'll engage in.

Monday - Thursday
Time Activity
9 a.m. - 12 p.m.* SS 3960 Cultural Immersion
12 p.m. - 1 p.m. Lunch
1 p.m. - 3 p.m. SS 3260 Latin American Culture and History
3:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Break
3:30p.m. - 4:30 p.m. SS 4390 Seminar in Sustainability

 *One hour of spanish class for each student group, but timing varies by level. Beginners meet 9-10; Intermediate 10-11; Advanced 11-12.


2024 Program cost is $3,000. Students pay a $1,000 deposit by March 8, 2024. Students then register for summer Track A credits with MTU and pay the associated tuition. Tuition will include a "lab fee" of approximately $2,000. The deposit plus the lab fee cover the costs of the program in addition to the instruction (total program cost= $3,000). This includes room and board (all food and lodging), travel expenses within country, field trip costs, health and travel insurance, and program administration. In addition, students are responsible for making their own flight arrangements and purchasing roundtrip airfare to Aeropuerto Internacional Juan Santamaria (SJO) in San Jose, Costa Rica. Students are also required to pay airport exit fees ($29). 

Support Study Abroad Costa Rica

Support  Study Abroad in Costa Rica by donating here.  Your contribution will help support study abroad scholarships for low-to-moderate income, first generation, and students of color to study sustainability in Costa Rica for five weeks while they earn 9 Michigan Tech credits that count towards their degree.

Study Abroad Information

Have questions about studying aboard? Your program leader can help you with your pre-departure. Here are some other resources that will help you with your visit:

Monteverde Institute Expectations

While visiting with our host institute please review the MVI Student Handbook and Student Code of Conduct (page 23 of the handbook) to know what to expect and what is expected of you during your visit.