The semester long interdisciplinary program is open to all majors. It offers students a wealth of opportunities to analyze the challenges of globalization and to search for solutions within the specific context of Costa Rica and of Monteverde. How has Costa Rica’s development path been shaped by both global and national forces, and how have these, in turn, affected the development of Monteverde and its unique cloud forest environment? What does sustainability mean in light of rapidly growing ecotourism and disappearing species?
With an emphasis on place-based learning, the program examines not only the theoretical underpinnings of sustainability, but also how these theories play out with real people, organizations, and localities. Classes include overnight field trips, site visits, and guest lectures by local grassroots activists as well as world-renowned scientists. Students conduct their own independent research, in the social or natural sciences, and may also have the opportunity to volunteer with a local organization. Site visits and trips may include a women’s cooperative, a defunct goldmine converted to a hot springs resort, and a hike and overnight stay in a remote field station, an afternoon with a farmer’s cooperative, or a day trip to the provincial capital of Puntarenas.
The Globalization, Development, and Environment program expects students to participate in research and community interactions that will require the use of Spanish language. In addition, students will live with a Spanish-speaking family for the duration of the program. Thus we strongly recommend that students have one semester of Spanish prior to their arrival.
Have the required GPA and prerequisite courses for the program. Students must have a 2.75 or higher GPA. It is recommended that students have taken a minimum of one college semester of Spanish. A prerequisite of one course in biology is required for the Tropical Ecology course.
Students must have completed three semesters of college before studying abroad. Goucher cannot guarantee that any sophomore will be accepted by the host institution.
Declare a major in order to study abroad for a semester
Students cannot be on academic or disciplinary probation at the time of application
The program consists of four 4-credit courses, including three core courses: Spanish Language and Culture, Environmental Sustainability, and Development and Social Change in Costa Rica. For the fourth course in applied research, students can choose between Field Methods in Tropical Ecology and Topics in the Social Sciences (Human Health and Development in the Tropics will be taught in 2016). Courses are taught by Monteverde Institute faculty and are conducted in English, except for Spanish Language and Culture. Students are required to take four classes. Students are strongly urged to have at least one semester of Spanish.
Spanish Language and Culture:
This course emphasizes language acquisition through conversation, grammar, and contextualized vocabulary acquisition with an emphasis on Costa Rican and Latin American culture. Students will be assessed and placed according to their level; advanced placement emphasizes Latin American literature, translation, and writing. Additionally, students will receive assistance in developing research tools in Spanish and in translating their own writings. Students will meet with the Goucher Hispanic Studies Department prior to submitting application to determine Goucher Spanish credit to be earned.
Students examine and analyze concepts of sustainability and their global and local interpretations and meanings as framed by global-local issues: climate change, ecotourism and economic development, environmentalism, human health, conservation and biodiversity. Emphasis is placed on contextualized examples of environmental, economic, social, political, and cultural tensions related to sustainability, and will include field visits, exercises, and guest lectures by local scientists and activists. 100 level course. Equivalent to Goucher BIO 170. For non-biology majors. This course satisfies the Goucher Environmental Sustainability LER, Environmental Studies major credit and Biology 244
Development and Social Change in Costa Rica and Latin America:
This course examines the particular development path and processes of social change in Costa Rica with an emphasis on the post-world War II paradigm that gave rise to the social-democratic structure of Costa Rican society. Drawing on the body of literature from Latin American theorists, students explore notions of exceptionalism, myth making and myth breaking, conservation and the “Green Republic,” and the rise of ecotourism in Costa Rica. This course satisfies Sociology 216, Political Science/International Relations PSC 216, Environmental Studies major credit.
Topics in Social Science Research (Human Health and Development in the Tropics for 2016)
Targeting social science majors, the topics in this course reflect MVI’s thematic foci of water, ecotourism, land use planning and development, community health, and tropical ecology and biodiversity. In addition, students learn social science research methodologies applicable to their research projects. This course focuses on the dynamic relationships linking human health and development in the tropics. This course satisfies Sociology 200 level elective, Political Science/International Relations 200 level elective, Women Gender and Sexuality Studies 200 level elective with approval from WGS Department on research project, Environmental Studies major credit.
Field Methods in Tropical Ecology:
Targeting natural science/environmental studies majors, this course explores topics of tropical ecology (biodiversity, cloud forest ecosystems and others) in greater depth, with emphasis placed on learning research methodologies that can be used in field based or laboratory research. A prerequisite of one course in biology or ecology, with a lab or field work component is required. This course satisfies Biology 243 Environmental Studies major credit.
Optional Internships will be available at the conclusion of the program.
Goucher will transfer grades and credits as listed on the MVI transcript. Students must take four courses worth four credits each. Grades will be recorded on the Goucher transcript and will factor into the GPA.
Since Goucher students are fully enrolled at Goucher and receive Goucher credit while abroad, they pay regular Goucher tuition for any Goucher semester abroad program. This payment is regardless of the cost advertised and is charged by the program itself. Students pay the non-academic costs (i.e. room and board) in part or in full to Goucher or directly to the study abroad organization or overseas institution depending on the program. Estimated additional costs that a student may incur in attending these programs are listed on the Budget Expense Worksheet for each program. You can utilize institutional and federal aid for a Goucher semester program.
Any awarded financial aid may be used as payment for semester programs sponsored by Goucher College; however; you are allowed to transport your Goucher institutional aid for only one semester, unless you participate in the Goucher Oxford University yearlong program. In addition, all students are eligible to apply for Goucher OIS scholarships and can apply during the program application process. For information on OIS and outside scholarships please visit the OIS scholarship/financial aid section.
To apply for an OIS scholarship please submit your application by the study abroad application deadline for this program through the following application:
A $500 deposit is due upon application. Study abroad program costs are billed through your Goucher student account and are due at the same time as regular semester fees. Please refer to the Budget Expense Worksheet for details on this program.
The $500 deposit paid upon application is applied to the student’s account and becomes non-refundable when accepted by Goucher College and the host program. If you are not accepted into a program, your deposit will be refunded.
If for any reason, a student withdraws from a Goucher semester after the deposit deadline, he or she will not be entitled to a refund of any fees paid to Goucher, including program deposit, tuition fees, travel fees, or any other fees incurred in connection with the program. If, due to any unforeseen circumstances or other circumstances beyond the control of the college, a semester Goucher program is cancelled, either prior to departure or during the course of the program, the student will not be guaranteed a refund of any fees paid to Goucher, including program deposit, tuition fees, travel fees, program fees, or any other fees incurred in connection with the program. In most cases, the college forwards program fees to vendors in foreign countries, making it very difficult to recover such fees due to a program cancellation. In such cases, the college will make a good-faith effort to recover such fees and to return any portion of fees that it may recover that may be attributable to a student’s participation in the program. However, the college makes no guarantees regarding the recovery of fees and is not liable for any fees that it is unable to recover.
One of the highlights of this program is the homestay where you will sleep, eat, study, and relax. A homestay gives you a unique insight into Costa Rican culture by allowing you to become part of the Costa Rican family. This immersion in Spanish language will help you gain an understanding of daily life and customs in Costa Rica.
Monteverde is located in the Tilaran mountain range, approximately 80km northwest of San Jose. It is home to dairy farmers and coffee producers, including the agricultural cooperative Finca La Bella (“the beautiful farm”). Monteverde’s beauty and exceptional biodiversity make it a destination for both eco-tourists and research biologists. The MVI occupies 42 acres in the center of Monteverde. It is bordered by the renowned Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, which offers some of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world and numerous hiking trails for research and recreation.
A successful semester abroad is dependent upon adequate preparation. Students will participate in online orientation material prior to the mandatory group orientation prior to leaving Goucher for the semester prior to studying abroad. Dates will be provided upon study abroad acceptance.
Students are required to have passports for all Goucher programs. Failure to have a passport will prohibit participation in the program. Passports take time to process and need to be valid for six months after your return to the U.S. Check your expiration date and renew if necessary. Please see the U S State Department section on passports
Visas - U. S. students will receive information on entry into Costa Rica during the advising period. Non-US Citizens check with your home country consulate, as well as the embassy of the country in which you plan to study, regarding visa requirements. The Monteverde Institute will provide advice and paperwork for your visa application. Permanent Residents of the US should check with US immigration as leaving the country for more than one year may jeopardize permanent resident status. Tax clearance and re-entry forms may also be necessary in these cases.
All students participating on Semester, Year or ICA Goucher programs will be automatically enrolled in a health insurance plan tailored to meet the needs of study abroad students. Goucher will pay for this insurance for every student on Goucher semester programs, and Goucher ICAs. The insurance carrier is ACE American Insurance Company. Prior to the start of the program abroad, OIS staff will register students for the insurance program. Students will receive information about how to use the health insurance policy from the Office of International Studies prior to departure for study abroad.
Students with Disabilities
Goucher encourages all students who meet our eligibility requirements to consider studying abroad. OIS will work with you regarding any special needs you may have. However, we cannot guarantee that any or all of our program sites can accommodate all of your needs or interests. More information can be found on the OIS Disabilities Support section of the website
Research the fact sheet for your location of interest on the U.S. State Department website for information on LGBTI rights, women travelers, safety and security, religious, and accessibility/mobility laws and information.
On the CIA World Factbook website, look for your host country’s page and research the “People and Society” section, where you can find the breakdown by ethnic group, religion, and race.