Confidence building. Past Review

By (Conservation Biology., Middlebury College) - abroad from 08/26/0013 to 12/10/2013 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?
I learned that I don't want to do research in the tropics, but may be interested elsewhere. I also gained a lot of confidence doing field work.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Not more than $5
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? It is easy to save money as most of the program takes place in field stations where you can't buy things. Fall break and time spent studying spanish in San Jose are the only times when spending too much money could become a concern.


* 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

Most of course is in English except for a 3 week stint in San Jose at a language school. Using spanish is up to each student on the rest of the course

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
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? Spanish Literature classes
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? Speak to the professors and other staff in spanish or convince other students to speak in spanish.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
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?
  • Field work
  • Experiential Learning
  • Traveling
* What could be improved?
  • Cultural Exposure
  • Time allocation for assignments
  • More classes in the field
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That time is limited so you should take advantage of every opportunity.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:


Course Department: Spanish
Instructor: CRLA
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: Spanish course consists of homestay and 5 hours of spanish instruction each day. Classes were wonderful and my family was muy amable.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Fundamentals of Tropical Biology

Course Department: Biology
Instructor: Erika Deinert, Mauricio Garcia, Alex Gilman
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Lecture material was not challenging, but time spent in the field was invaluable. I felt fairly assessed on all assignments, but there is very little time to complete them which is challenging.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Environmental Issues

Course Department: Environmental Studies
Instructor: Erika Deinert, Alex Gilman
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Relevant interesting information concerning environmental issues and history of Costa Rica. Both professors were very knowledgeable and field trips help reinforce lessons.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Research Methods

Course Department: Biology
Instructor: Mauricio Garcia, Erika Deinert, Alex Gilman
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Useful review of stats, and invaluable experience with independent research. Very helpful but hard class.
Credit Transfer Issues: