Summer Abroad Ag Science & Sustainability Internships


Status: Open—Limited Space Available!

Costa Rica—Ag Science & Sustainability

On Location

Costa Rica is the #1 destination in Latin America for U.S. students studying abroad (Open Doors). With some stunning views of Costa Rica’s rural countryside, Turrialba is a charming little town in the lush and beautiful Central Valley in Cartago province. Famous for being a white water rafting hotspot and base camp, this town lies 53 km east of the capital city San Jose and is an excellent place to tour the pre-Columbian ruins at Guayabo, or the Turrialba Volcano National Park. (Source)

This program is based at the Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE), in Turrialba, Costa Rica. CATIE is a regional center dedicated to research and education in agriculture, and the management, conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.

Tour of CATIE Video (in Spanish)

CATIE Virtual Tour (use link on virtual tours page to see residences, services, and more.


Participants will be housed in student apartments at CATIE. Each apartment has a stove, refrigerator and basic cooking equipment. Each apartment has three single rooms and a shared bathroom. Dining area and laundry facility available. (Note: students doing community-based tourism may stay a few nights at a homestay in Mollejones and/or Santa Cruz)

UC Davis reserves the right to change the accommodation location. Should this be necessary, we will arrange comparable lodging. Please note that elevators, air conditioners and other modern conveniences may not be available. Please note the CATIE apartments do not have a/c. Space fans may be available.


Meals are not provided as part of the program fees, but you have access to a kitchen, and there is a cafeteria (approx. $5 per meal) on site and restaurants in town


Below are samples of internships available. While there are many options for students with beginning (or no) Spanish, there are some internships where some Spanish is helpful. Internship placements take place on a rolling basis, and there is a maximum enrollment of 12, so students are encouraged to enroll early.

Ag Sciences: Sustainable Production of Tropical Agriculture

Students may be able to do 2-3 week rotations in certain areas, or stay in one area the entire time--depending on interest. Please contact the program coordinator to discuss options. Examples of areas include:  

  • Biotechnology of Coffee - Micro-propagation processes, multiply the F1 coffee hybrids
  • Cacao (read New York Times article on CATIE and cacao.)
  • Conservation of Genetic Material and Production Seed bank (coffee and cacao) - Plant reproduction and propagation, seed bank management,
  • Organic Production - Organic fertilization, integrated pest management, silvopastoral systems, carbon neutral dairy operation.
  • Silvopastoral Systems - Climate change adaptation and mitigation, environmental payments services, and farm productivity.

Sustainability: Applied Sustainability & Management of Natural Resources

Learn what it takes to implement sustainability practices! These internships are flexible in terms of topic, and can apply to students from many majors. Please contact the program coordinator to discuss options and your areas of interest. Examples include internships include:  

  • Community-based tourism
  • Sustainability in practice
  • Fair Trade
  • Organic gardening
  • Consumption education
  • Planning and governance for biological corridors

Depending on internship, locations include CATIE campus, CATIE farm, GAMMA building, seed bank, botanical garden, cattle ranch, greenhouses, schools in Turrialba, Sustainability House, biotechnology lab, natural protected areas in Cartago Province, and nearby communities of Mollejones and Santa Cruz. 

Excursions and Day Trips
  • Tour of Turrialba and CATIE
  • Canyoning/Canopy Tour in Turrialba
  • Half-day “Survival Spanish” course
  • Pacuare Reserve overnight trip where students will go on nightly turtle patrols, care for the turtle hatchery and ride through the diverse canals of the Madre de Dios River.
  • Additional social and cultural activities will be scheduled during the 6 weeks
Study Abroad Advisory of Student Risk

Participation in this UC Davis Study Abroad program requires travel to and extended living in a foreign location(s) abroad. UC Davis Study Abroad endeavors to reduce and mitigate risk wherever possible.  However, the environments and risks associated with living in these locations are substantially different than those found during a regular course of study at UC Davis. All participants must download and review the following information prior to departure. Any questions should be directed to the Program Coordinator.

Study Abroad General Risk Advisory

Program Specific Risk Advisories (PDF)

About Costa Rica

Currency: Costa Rican colon (CRC). Current exchange rate.

Language Spoken: The official and predominant language of Costa Rica is Spanish; the variety spoken there is a form of Central American Spanish.

Weather and Climate
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