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Zero Waste Field Studies | Turrialba, Costa Rica

More photos of this internship may be found here.

Work with this internationally-renown leader in sustainability and environmentalism!  Apply a holistic approach to the sustainable development of communities and environmental stewardship via research, educational outreach, ecotourism, and community initiatives.

Live and learn about sustainability in a hands-on way.  Explore creative and applied solutions to the effects of climate change, particularly as relates to community development and education, ecotourism, and farming.

Internship Start Dates:

  • Flexible start dates at the beginning of any academic term.  July and December will have limited field activities, as they are common vacation times for Costa Ricans.  Specific duties may vary with seasons.

Duration of Internship:

  • 10-12 weeks, minimum.

This well-respected international organization works towards sustainable agricultural management and natural resource conservation in Caribbean Rim countries  Headquartered in the agricultural province of Cartago, Costa Rica, this organization combines scientific research and exploration, graduate education programs, and outreach efforts to local communities to address broader issues of sustainability.

Exact job duties will vary based on current projects and intern candidate’s qualifications.

Examples of environmental and sustainability projects through CATIE have included (subject to change):

  • Sustainability education for Turrialba schools
    • Carry out a day-long outreach activities, at least once a week, on sustainability education for elementary and high school children
  • Applied sustainability research
    • Resource use alternatives
    • Sustainable consumption practices
    • Sustainability education and global challenges
  • Community-based tourism
    • Community enhancement
    • Sustainable tourism
    • Monitoring
    • Best practices
  • Silvopastoral systems:
    • Climate change adaptation and mitigation
    • Payment for environmental services
    • Farm productivity

Activities mainly take place on CATIE’s property, and may also involve field visits to the surrounding area.

Academic Background:

Environmental studies, sustainability, international development, ecotourism, and/or related fields.

Skills / Experience:

Willingness to learn new skills and to take the time to learn them well.

Language Requirements:

Some projects will require Spanish abilities, while others do not.  The more contact with the local community and schools, the higher the Spanish level required.

Other Requirements:

Moderate physical ability to be able to participate in activities such as trimming and pruning plants and lifting hay.  Interns will be working on farmlands can be uneven and on hillside slopes.

Estimated One-Time Expenses

  • IE3 Program Fee: $3,450
  • Host Site Fees: $525
  • International Travel: $800-950
  • Recommended Immunizations: $400*

* Fees vary based on medical history and insurance coverage

Estimated Monthly Expenses

  • Housing: covered in Host Site Fee
  • Food: $300 ($75/wk)
  • Local Transportation: $120 ($30/wk)
  • Recreation: $150 ($37.50/wk)
  • Personal Expenses: $120 ($30/wk)

Additional Expense Information

The Host Site Fees Includes:

  • Housing
  • Access to facilities and labs relevant to your project.
  • Administrative costs
  • On-site support

Housing is arranged by the host organization and is on-site, typically in campus apartments or in the “sustainability house”. Housing arrangements are dependent upon availability and the themes of the internship.

Lodging in the sustainability house typically includes a shared kitchen, bedrooms, and bathroom, with basic items for kitchen, cleaning, bedding, and bathroom provided.  A bicycle is also usually provided.

Lodging in on-campus apartments typically includes three bedrooms, a shared kitchen, solar area for drying clothes and bathroom.  Candidates should expect to have a shared bedroom, although they may have single-occupancy rooms.  Interns may need to supply their own basic items like bedding, kitchen utensils, etc.

Check out pictures from this internship.


Fall | Winter | Spring | Summer

Application Deadline

Summer: January 25
Fall: April 15
Winter: September 1
Spring: November 15

Basic Requirements

- See Qualifications and Requirements section