It was fun, fun, fun Past Review

By (Biological Sciences, Wellesley College) - abroad from 01/23/2012 to 05/08/2012 with

Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS): San Jose - Tropical Biology on a Changing Planet

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was definitely worthwhile! I learned about the flora and fauna of Costa Rica and a lot about issues in sustainability, ecotourism, etc. I got a feel for the field of field biology and I met amazing students with great ideas. I had a great time, overall.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The program has a packed schedule, with lots of lessons and field trips. Work load manageable, but a little heavy during the two independent research projects/exam times.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We lived in biological field stations. They are pretty basic, but perfectly comfortable.

* Food:

Basic, tasty diet, varies from station to station.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We learned about some aspects of the local culture in our lectures, but we were often a bit distanced from it. We did have a language/cultural course that lasted about two weeks that was a great experience!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The few problems we had were addressed quickly.

* Safety:

We were well informed about safety issues both in the rainforest and in the city.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? Yes
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $5-10


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? intermediate level course
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Make local friends; the language school is near a lot of university campuses.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
  • Host Family
  • Other
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • learned hands-on a lot of amazing things about rainforest ecosystems and sustainability
  • met some amazing people with interests similar to my own
  • worked very closely and lived with the amazing, fun professors
* What could be improved?
  • spend a lot of time away from civilization, but that just comes with the territory
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Good hiking boots are a worthwhile investment (even though they can get pricey).

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.