A Gap Year
in the Rainforest

Spend 4 to 16 weeks in Costa Rica, working with wildlife and across cultures, as you deepen your experience in the sciences and build leadership skills for life.

Join EPI on a journey of science and self-discovery.

At EPI, we believe that learning, at its best, involves more than just the mind. It involves the whole person, the head, the heart, and the hands. EPI's Gap Year Program is designed to facilitate an exploratory and holistic approach to science and sustainability. By working directly with researchers, protecting wildlife, and conducting meaningful service work, you'll learn what captivates you, what inspires you, and what you want to contribute to the world. And the opportunity to extend your stay as a Research & Conservation Intern will allow you to build on those experiences and emerge prepared for any future.

EPI is currently accepting applications for our Summer Gap Year Program.

At a Glance

Dates and Duration

The core program is 4 weeks in length:

Summer: June 6 - July 3


Internship extension possible up to 12 weeks.

Tuition & Fees

The 4-week core program is $4,750 plus airfare. All food, lodging, and in-country transportation included.


The cost for the internship extension is $300 per week in room and board. 


The program is open to high school graduates, including currently enrolled college students, ages 18+.

College Credit

Students can receive up to 8 undergraduate credits through EPI's partnership with Hamline University (additional registration process and fees apply). Or students can opt to receive independent credit through their home institutions.


As part of the core program students will receive certifications in:

Wilderness First Aid (WFA) for completion of a course in wilderness medicine

Pacuare Reserve Wildlife Assistant (PRWA) for protocol training and 30 hours of wildlife research

Financial Aid

We encourage all students to apply for our need-based financial aid. The deadline for financial aid is February 28th.

Program Overview

Whether you're measuring sea turtles under the cover of night or planting a garden with the local community, this program is designed as an immersive introduction to field science and sustainability.


The program curriculum dives into four interwoven modules that address important issues in wildlife conservation, and activities like hands-on data collection, community service work, and outdoor adventure bring these subjects to life.


Through self-reflection, exploration, and skill-building, you'll emerge with greater clarity about your plans for the future.


The Field Station

EPI's Gap Year program is hosted at Pacuare Reserve, a tropical research station located on Costa Rica's remote Caribbean Coast. The facilities at the Reserve are rustic. With cabanas and cots, simple meals, and solar electricity, it's the perfect introduction to life as a field scientist. 

Internship Extension

Looking for a career in the sciences? Want to work with wildlife? Participants who have successfully completed the core Gap Year Program are eligible to serve as Research & Conservation Interns at Pacuare Reserve.