Life in the Cloud Forest: Costa Rica
Our days start early and will be packed full of activities, including field research, educational sessions, and time for team-building, recreation, and reflection. There are many field trips, hikes, and meetings with local conservationists, naturalists and entrepreneurs.
A Typical Day
7:00 – 8:00am: Breakfast
8:00 – 12 noon: Morning Session (ex. tropical forest restoration project)
12 noon – 1:30pm: Lunch and Free Time
2:00 – 5:30pm: Afternoon Session (ex. hike in seasonal rain forest and cloud forest habitats)
5:30 – 6:00pm: Dinner
6:00 – 7:00pm: Community Building
7:00 – 9:00pm: Evening Session (ex. night hike)
9:00 – 10:00pm: Free time
10:00pm: Well-Deserved Rest
Students will reside at the 155-acre University of Georgia Costa Rica campus located in mountainous San Luis de Monteverde. Accommodations are nestled among the trees. Accommodations are an 8-10 minute walk along an unpaved, country road to the dining hall and classroom facilities. On-site Director and Residential Advisors will reside with students.
Your fellow students
Students come from all over the U.S. and the world, and range from current 10th-12th graders.
Meals are provided at the University of Georgia San Luis campus cafeteria. Students can expect three healthy meals each day consisting of local and seasonal produce. With advance notice, we will work with UGA staff to make accommodations for dietary restrictions and food allergies.
Staying safe and comfortable in the field
We believe strongly in experiential education and learning-by-doing, and our goal is to get to know the environments we visit through formal study and hands-on activities.
Safety comes first when we climb. Students will learn how to properly tie climbing knots and check all gear for safety risks. While aloft, all climbers will be connected to a main climbing rope as well as to a secondary safety line. There are always risks included in outdoor activities but many of these can be mitigated through proper tree inspection, gear inspection and best safety practices and all of these practices will be employed on all climbing outings.
Studying in the field has some inherent risks, such as insect bites and dehydration. Your safety is of utmost importance and our staff is well-versed in basic health and safety, with years of experience in spotting and avoiding potentially dangerous situations. In the event of an incident requiring medical attention, staff have reliable communications systems and remain within one hour (and usually less) of emergency medical facilities. Our staff lives on site and is available to the students 24 hours a day for support and supervision.
To facilitate a safe and positive learning experience for each student and the community, we expect students to:
- Walk or stay outdoors for up to 3 hours at a time (with a few scheduled breaks)
- Tolerate variable weather conditions (rain, humidity, wind, heat)
- Sleep in shared areas (e.g. tents, dorm-style accommodations) and use shared bathrooms
- Self-administer prescription medications that will be collected by program staff (life-saving medications such as an Epi Pen or inhaler will kept on a student’s person at all times)
- Listen, absorb, and process information outside a classroom setting (e.g. outdoors, cultural sites)
- Be flexible with schedule changes due to weather or other factors
- Spend extended periods of time away from mobile phones and portable music players (from several hours to several days, depending on the program)
- Participate in an immersive, living-learning community with limited personal time
- Respect and learn from other cultures, traditions, and perspectives
- Communicate significant health, safety, and personal concerns to program staff
Please call us and ask to speak to the Program Director if any of these things are of concern so we can make sure you have enough information about the particular program, as well as options for case-by-case accommodations, to make an effective decision about participation.