Carnegie Mellon University

Study Abroad in Costa Rica

The Department of Languages, Cultures & Applied Linguistics, in partnership with the Department of Statistics & Data Science, is pleased to offer a summer study abroad and experiential learning program in collaboration with the Monteverde Institute in Monteverde, Costa Rica.

The Department of Languages, Cultures & Applied Linguistics along with the Department of Statistics and Data Science will partner with the Monteverde Institute in the Puntarenas region of Costa Rica to offer a summer study abroad and experiential learning program in summer 2024. The Monteverde Institute (MVI) is a world-renowned center of study founded in 1986 and dedicated to sustainable environmental practices and community engagement. Costa Rica is one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world, and moreover lauded as a model for its progressive environmental practices. The program’s site, the Monteverde Cloud Forest, is part of the Bellbird Biological Corridor and incorporates eight different biological zones, home to thousands of species of flora and fauna. This program offers an invaluable opportunity for students to learn first-hand about sustainability and environmental stewardship, while also learning Spanish and about Costa Rican culture. Additionally, statistics and data science students will be working on data analysis projects in collaboration with Monteverde researchers and local community organizations. 

Program Dates: May 22 - June 24, 2024

All students will take a Spanish class, engage in an internship or community engagement project, and take one additional class - a course on Costa Rican culture, Tropical Ecology or Statistics & Data Science. For the internships/community engagement projects, students will be paired with local non-profits and/or researchers, and have the opportunity to choose from a variety of projects that may focus on: reforestation, water monitoring, camera-trapping, community health, medicinal plants, gender equity or permaculture. Statistics and data science students will be working on data analysis projects. In order to receive additional credit for the internship, students can take mini in Fall 1 upon return to campus.

Students will live with Costa Rican families in homestays and will also participate in several additional excursions to a sustainable fishery, organic farms and cloudforests and rainforests.

No prior knowledge of Spanish is required, but an intermediate level may be needed for certain internships. Accepted students may participate in a course (82-289, units variable) during mini-4 prior to the program. For questions, contact the program director Therese Tardio.

Statistics and data science students should contact Peter Freeman.

Total program cost is $8,500

Cost includes: Tuition and materials; entry fees and transport to excursions that are part of the required curriculum; homestay with Costa Rican families (room & board); transport to and from the Juan Santamaría International Airport in San Jose, Costa Rica and the program site on the designated travel days for arrival and departure.  

Not included: Airfare to and from Costa Rica, incidental expenses. Students must arrive to and leave from Juan Santamaría International Airport in San Jose, Costa Rica. 

Visit our Payment Page to learn about payment options for LCAL study abroad programs.

Study Abroad Scholarships

Our department, along with the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, offers study abroad scholarships for students to study for a semester, full-year, or summer overseas. All LCAL declared majors, and Arabic Studies minors, are guaranteed a departmental scholarship if they are in good academic standing with CMU. Scholarships can be put towards tuition, room and board, airfare and/or book expenses when participating in any accredited study abroad program. Students are encouraged to talk to program director to look for additional scholarships. Learn more about scholarships.


Upon arrival in Costa Rica, students will participate in an excursion, and stay at a local, environmentally-friendly lodge, with meals provided. Once in Monteverde, all students will be placed with local families as part of their immersive experience, with meals during the homestay provided by the families. This experience offers an invaluable way to further practice Spanish skills – at any level, and to gain first-hand insight into Costa Rican culture.  Homestays are within walking distance of the Monteverde Institute. 

Students are responsible for their airfare to and from the Juan Santamaría International Airport in San Jose, Costa Rica. Transit between the airport and the program site in Monteverde, as well as transport to required excursions, is included in the program fee.

*Program contingent on meeting minimum enrollment requirements.

"I have loved getting to know the community in Monteverde throughout time in my homestay, classes at the Institute, and experiences around town. Here, I have the unique opportunity to hone my Spanish skills and explore the beautiful cloud forest that is our backyard." — Elizabeth Zapanta