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  • Locations: Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Restrictions: Iowa State applicants only
  • Budget Sheets: Summer
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2019 03/15/2019 03/16/2019 TBA TBA
Fact Sheet:
Study Abroad Adviser: Ernberger, Monica Program Director: Ernberger, Monica
Housing Options: Dormitory Cumulative GPA: 2.75
Language of Instruction: English Online Course Catalog Available: Yes
Sponsor: CIEE ISU Course: INTED
Program Type: Direct
Program Description:


Spend this summer studying coral reef ecosystems through theoretical exploration and field experiences that use the renowned Bonaire National Marine Park as a living classroom.

The two session study abroad program introduces you to scientific diving methods before allowing you to use those skills to explore an amazing diversity of marine life and ecological processes on coral reefs, as well as the conservation of tropical marine ecosystems.

Study abroad in Bonaire and you will:


  • Master scuba skills and use these skills as well as other tools, including photography and videography equipment, to understand the ecology of coral reefs and associated ecosystems
  • Focus on theoretical concepts in coral reef ecology and conservation through interactive lectures and field trips to coral reef ecosystems; learn to identify reef fish, corals, and other organisms and their behavioral interactions

The CIEE Difference

Field Work

Make the greatest shore diving site on earth your laboratory. With a study center and Research Station located just one block from the sea, studying abroad in Bonaire allows you to apply internationally recognized field research methods through extensive, practical field experience in coral reef ecology.


In order to explore the island’s diverse ecosystems firsthand, the program incorporates field trips to a number of different tropical ecosystems around the island that require diving, kayaking, or snorkeling. Field trips include a trip to Washington Slagbaii National Park, a boat dive on Klein Bonaire, day and night shore dives, snorkeling in Lac Bay, nearshore plankton collection by boat, and kayaking in the mangroves.


Total recommended credit for Session I is 4 semester/6 quarter hours, for Session II is 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours, and for both is 7 semester/10.5 quarter hours

Total contact hours for Session I is 60 hours and Session II is 45 hours.

Program Requirements

Participants enroll in two CIEE courses in Session 1: Advanced Scuba and Marine Ecology Field Research Methods. In Session II, students are enrolled in one course: Marine Biology and Ecology in the Southern Caribbean. Study abroad students can enroll in either session or both sessions.

About Bonaire

Located in the Dutch Caribbean, Bonaire is a desert island located 50 miles off the coast of Venezuela. Bonaire has a diverse topography with volcanic hills in the north and salt pans, that lay atop ancient coral reefs, in the south. Claimed by Spain in 1499, the Dutch took possession in 1633; subsequently creating a plantation island using African slave labor. Environmental awareness on the island has led to a ban of spear fishing, protection of sea turtles, and the development of the Bonaire National Marine Park. Bonaire’s most important asset is the coral reef that nearly surrounds the island, which is so close to the water’s edge that divers can drive to a dive site and walk right in.

Where You’ll Study

The CIEE Study Center and Research Station is located one block from the sea and consists of a residence hall with a dive locker and a lecture/laboratory building with faculty offices. Downtown is a 5 minute walk along the waterfront and the prevailing weather conditions, with trade winds 90 percent of the year, result in comfortable air temperatures most of the time. The Study Center is located on the leeward side of the island, so the sea is calm and the water is crystal clear providing excellent diving conditions nearly year around. CIEE uses the Yellow Sub dive shop, which is on the waterfront just 1 block from the research station. The dive shop has a pier that is used for boat dives and it houses the CIEE dive tanks and provides discounts on dive gear for students.

Housing & Meals

The CIEE Research Station is located one block from the waterfront in the northern part of the capital, Kralendijk. The hospital, drug stores, restaurants, and shopping are within 15 minutes walking distance. Housing and 15 meals per week are included in the study abroad program fee. Students are responsible for breakfasts, with the exception of Sundays when brunch is provided. The residence hall has seven air conditioned suites, each with a private bath, providing shared accommodation for CIEE students. There is a large, fully-equipped kitchen, dining areas inside and out, living room, TV/lounge area, laundry facilities, rinse tanks, outdoor showers and a dive locker for storing scuba gear. Study desks are located in each suite and throughout the residence hall. The lecture/laboratory building is located across the street from the residence hall and has two lecture rooms, a large laboratory, and faculty offices. Both buildings have wireless Internet and telephones.

Academic Program

The CIEE Tropical Marine Ecology and Conservation summer study abroad program in Bonaire offers intensive field courses that integrate lectures, field experience, student group work, and readings. Emphasis is placed on field observations of ecological processes on the coral reef and in associated ecosystems and the application of science to the conservation of natural resources.

Academic Culture

Rigorous courses with a scientific focus are offered for CIEE students only. Classes are small and consist of classroom-based academics combined with extensive experiential components (field study, lab work, and observation) and broad practical field experience in coral reef ecology. Professors prepare students in the classroom and accompany them on field trips. Given the number of dives and field trips required for this course, students should expect an intense, yet rewarding program.Nature of Classes

Participants take classes with other CIEE study abroad students only.

CIEE Community Language Commitment

Grading System

Student learning is assessed using quizzes, written exams, laboratory reports, a detailed field notebook, presentations, and participation. Letter grades of A through F are given with pluses and minuses.

Language of Instruction



The courses are co-taught by Professor Caren Eckrich, dive instructor Anouschka van de Ven, and the Tropical Marine Conservation faculty (TBA).