Return to the search form Return to your search results

CIEE Monteverde Open Campus

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:

Fall, Spring


Monteverde, Costa Rica




2.5 GPA

Application Due:

Fall/Academic Year: Mar. 1

Spring: Sept. 20

Program Cost:

Click the Application tab.

Since 1989, CIEE Monteverde has been shaping the way field science, conservation, and sustainability is taught. Working closely with the local community, CIEE maintains strong partnerships with Costa Rica's biologists, conservationists, farmers, educators, engineers and local families. The Monteverde Open Campus program offers courses in biology, environmental science, environmental studies, environmental engineering, sustainable agriculture, and environmental education all in English. Spanish language classes are also offered. The program is administered by the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) on behalf of a consortium of which The University of Iowa is a member.

Academic Program

CIEE's Open Campus block model is unique among study abroad programs as it is designed for maximum flexibility and academic rigor. Students choose an academic track out of the seven possible options, however, all courses are open to all students and all courses are taught in English. The CIEE Global Institute in Monteverde also offers opportunities for students to engage in an academic project which can be an internship, research, or a service-learning project for academic credit. Classes are with CIEE students only.
CIEE Monteverde Open Campus Program website.

Academic Tracks

  • Art and Architecture
  • Language, Literature, and Culture
  • Business
  • Communications, Journalism, and New Media
  • International Relations and Political Science
  • Global and Community Health
  • Stem and Society

Block System

Each academic block is six weeks long. Students are required to take two courses per block. Each course is three semester hours for a total of six semester hours per block.

Cultural Activities

There are ample activities and day-trips are offered to immerse students in Monteverde's history and natural beauty of the cloud forest. Excursions may include all-day trips to national parks or reserves, bird tours, and night hikes in the forest.

Program Dates

Fall semester: Mid-August to mid-December for three academic blocks.

Spring semester: Beginning of January to early May for three academic blocks.

For More Information

Steps to Studying Abroad

  1. Before initiating an application with CIEE, students must complete a Discover Study Abroad session at the University of Iowa.
  2. After completing the Discover Abroad session, students must call the Study Abroad office at 319-335-0353 to be assigned to the appropriate study abroad advisor.
  3. Once assigned, students must meet with their study abroad advisor to receive program application instructions.

Study Abroad
1111 University Capitol Centre
Iowa City, IA 52242

Phone: 319-335-0353

CIEE Monteverde

The CIEE Monteverde Center is all encompassing. It is fully equipped with classrooms, computers, and library facilities, as well as indoor and outdoor common areas, to accommodate experiential and traditional learning. There is a wet laboratory, an herbarium, plus organic gardens to support a wide array of STEM studies and research opportunities. An extensive trail system through forest and fields, links classrooms to a botanical garden, animal stable and coffee and vegetable production areas.


"Monteverde" is a cluster of towns that make up the area and include; Monteverde, Santa Elena, Cerra Plano, and San Luis. Each town has its own small "downtown". Students attend their classes at the CIEE Global Institute Monteverde. CIEE's campus is on the edge of the cloud forest and offers unparalleled opportunities for students to take full advantage of all the Monteverde offers. The 150-acre campus includes tropical forests and gardens full of wildlife, an organic vegetable garden, animal stables, plus modern classrooms, laboratories, and cozy accommodations.
The town of Monteverde was founded by Quakers from the United States in the 1950s. The Quakers and some pacifists chose the area for it cool climate, which would facilitate dairy farming, and because of the country's nonviolent, army-free constitution, and its friendly Costa Rican inhabitants. The Quakers stewarded and farmed a large tract of land, part of which they eventually set aside for conservation, which today is the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. Today, tourists contribute the principal revenues to the zone, though coffee plantations and dairy farms still dot the landscape. The region, comprising numerous small towns, is home to about 5,000 people of diverse backgrounds.

Costa Rica

Biodiversity Frog on a Birds of Paradise Plant

Costa Rica is bordered by Nicaragua to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the east, Panama to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. While occupying only 0.01% of the earth's land mass, the country hosts 5% of the world's biodiversity. Costa Rica has progressive environmental polices and is the only country to meet all five United Nations Development Program criteria established to measure environmental sustainability. A pioneer of ecotourism, Costa Rica draws many tourists to its extensive series of national parks and other protected areas. Costa Rica aspires to become carbon neutral in 2050.

US Department of State Country Information

The US Department of State provides safety and security information for every country of the world to help you assess for yourself the risks of travel. Each country information page contains a Travel Advisory, Alerts, and other important details specific to that country that could affect you.

Pay close attention to the entry and exit requirements, local laws and customs, health conditions, and other details to help decide whether traveling to any given country is right for you. Non-US citizen travelers may also wish to seek guidance from the embassy of their country of citizenship. The UI International Travel Policy for Students addresses restrictions on student travel to high-risk locations and engagement in high-risk activities abroad.

Living Arrangements

Students stay in shared rooms with bunkbeds and en suitebathrooms. There are indoor and outdoor areas for recreation and study with access to forest trails and gardens. Three simple, but hearty meals are provided daily. Field lodging includes camping and other rural housing and all meals are provided.


US Citizens

If you do not have a passport, it is important that you apply for one as soon as possible to ensure you receive it before the program begins. US citizens can find more information about how to apply for a passport on the US Department of State’s website.

Students with a valid passport should check the expiration date. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months AFTER the anticipated return to the US from studying abroad. If your passport is not valid for at least 6 months after your anticipated date of return to the US, you must renew your passport before applying for a visa or leaving the United States.

US citizens can find more information about how to renew a passport on the US Department of State’s website.

Travel Arrangements

Students make their own travel arrangements to arrive in Costa Rica by a designated date. Specific information will be provided in post-acceptance materials from CIEE .

Local Transportation

Because students will study and live at the CIEE Monteverde Center there will be little need to use local transportation.


This program is open it UI students who fulfill the following requirements:

  • Cumulative GPA of 2.5
  • Be in good academic and disciplinary standing at the University of Iowa
  • There are no course prerequisites to participate in this program, however, individual courses may have prerequisites.
  • Good academic and disciplinary standing - It is the policy of the UI Study Abroad office that all students who study abroad must be in both good academic standing and good disciplinary standing at the time of their application. Students who, even after being accepted into a program, are put on either academic and/or disciplinary probation for any period of time overlapping with the study abroad program dates are ineligible to study abroad. In these cases, students must forfeit their acceptance and will not be allowed to study abroad. Any student who must forfeit their acceptance and/or attendance on a study abroad program due to a probationary status is wholly responsible for any and all financial expenses incurred.


    Costs charged to the U-Bill

    Out-of-pocket costs (not charged to U-Bill)

    • Food (paid by student at their discretion while abroad)
    • Round trip airfare (paid by student directly to travel agent or airline- approx. 6-8 weeks prior to departure, before financial aid/scholarships disburse)
    • Local transportation (paid at student’s discretion while abroad)
    • Passport (paid by student prior to departure, before financial aid/scholarships disburse)
    • Consular and visa fees (paid by student prior to departure, before financial aid/scholarships disburse)
    • Textbooks, copyright permission fees, course packets, and other course-related materials (paid upoon arrival to your host country)
    • Medical exam/immunizations (paid by student as needed prior to departure, before financial aid/scholarships disburse)
    • Personal expenses and personal travel (paid by student as needed while abroad)
    • Rental or purchase of required cell phone- does not include usage fees (paid as needed while abroad)

    Cost Sheet

    The cost sheet (forthcoming) outlines the total estimated costs associated with participating in this program and can be used for financial aid and planning purposes. They include fees charged on students’ U-Bill as well as out-of-pocket expenses. Actual out-of-pocket expenses will vary from individual to individual. Quoted estimates are conservatively high, yet realistic.

    Financial Aid & Scholarships

    Most financial aid (scholarships, grants, and loans) is applicable to study abroad programs. Please check the Study Abroad website for information on financial aid and how it may be applied to studying abroad. You are also encouraged to speak with someone at the Office of Student Financial Aid to explore financial aid options. Scholarship opportunities exist for study abroad participants. Please explore Study Abroad’s websites for UI Study Abroad Scholarship Opportunities.

    CIEE has several scholarships available to University of Iowa students CIEE Scholarships specific to UI students.
    Please visit the CIEE Scholarship web site to find out more about their scholarships.

    How to Apply

    Interested students should make an appointment with the designated UI Study Abroad advisor to discuss the program and the application process. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 319-335-0353. During the appointment, the advisor will provide full application instructions. Note: Application materials will not be reviewed unless a student has already met with the advisor to discuss the program.

    The application process consists of the following steps:

    • Complete the UI Online Application for Study Abroad. Applicants will be charged a $50 non-refundable application fee. As part of the UI Online Application for Study Abroad, applicants will need to upload a copy of their passport picture page and a list of courses to take while abroad.

    • Please note that for study abroad programs through Fall 2022, students will not be charged the $50 application fee until travel is assured. If a student chooses to withdraw prior to the application fee being billed, it will not be charged.

    • Complete the CIEE Online Application.

    Application deadline

    Fall & Academic Year: March 1

    Spring: September 20

    Acceptance & Confirmation Materials

    Coming Soon


    It is highly recommended that students review the following information:

    Health & Safety Planning

  • Iowa Regents CISI Health Insurance Information
  • Health Abroad
  • Safety and Security Abroad
  • Visa

  • Embassy of Costa Rica (for visa information)
  • Diversity and Identity Abroad

  • Race and Ethnicity Abroad
  • LGBTQ Identity Abroad
  • Students with Disabilities Abroad
  • First-Generationa and Non-Traditional Students Abroad
  • Orientation

    In order to prepare for your time abroad, you are required by the University of Iowa to complete two orientations. In addition to orientations provided UI Study Abroad, CIEE may have other required pre-departure orientations and information. Please see below for more information.

    Online Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation

    You are required to complete the International Programs online “Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation” course distributed through ICON prior to departure. This orientation is mandatory for all students going abroad under the auspices of the University of Iowa. It covers many practical matters about living overseas, such as health and safety, communication, money, goals and much more. You will be enrolled in this course by International Programs and an email will be sent to you once enrolled. If you have any questions you can email

    Program-Specific Orientation

    This orientation will be facilitated by your study abroad advisor and will cover content specific to the University of Iowa including, but not limited to, billing, insurance, the Credit Approval Form (CAF), and transcripts. It could be conducted in a group setting or one-on-one depending on the type of planned activity abroad. Your study abroad advisor will send you more information about this mandatory in-person session.

    CIEE Orientation

    Students start their study abroad experience before leaving the United States with CIEE’s Online Pre-departure Orientation. Students and the Resident staff meet online to discuss information about the academic program and the city that students will soon be living in. Resident staff also highlight issues that program alumni have said are important and they give students time to ask questions. In addition to this orientation, students will have mandatory orientation sessions conducted in Costa Rica at the beginning of the program.