Traveling with Round River: The best decision I have ever made. Past Review

By (Animal Sciences, University of Vermont) - abroad from 02/18/2015 to 05/13/2015 with

Round River Conservation Studies - Botswana Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned everything from this program. I learned about real conservation work, and actually got to contribute to local efforts. I am now more inspired than ever to work with conservation, animals, and or in foreign countries. I have a love for Botswana, and can't wait to return. I would recommend RRCS to anyone who want to actively help conservation efforts now, while earning credits at the same time.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

RR Conservation Studies has a strong focus on academics and I most definitely worked hard for all of my credits. Unlike traditional schooling however, the outdoor classroom and experience based education made every part of learning fun and interactive. It was also refreshing to not be dependent on the internet for information. Our extremely well educated teachers, our books, and local knowledge did more than enough to help us learn.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

RRCS is a very small group that does big things. This is a huge advantage because you always feel like you know the administration well.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We got to live in tents the whole time which was amazing. 90 days of living in tents made me so in touch with nature and my surroundings. It was something I will likely never be lucky enough to do again, and something I missed when I returned.

* Food:

This is not a trip of luxury food. This is a program where you are well fed, but once again, you are camping and so there is only so much you can do when it comes to meals. Cooking as a group however was a huge bonding factor, and by the end we were all pros in the kitchen and working over the fire.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Every 10-14 days we switched campsites to visit a new local concession area that was managed by a different village. In each new location we got to work with 2-6 locals and not only learn from them, but also help them learn about what we were there to do. We also got to go into villages and talk about local conservation, which was always a treat. Further, one of my instructors was from Botswana, and another one was from Namibia. The two of them were invaluable and taught us more than we could ever have learned from an American teacher.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

When we came into the program, we were very well prepared to be living in the bush for 3 months. Although we had almost no issues, I would have felt safe under the care of our instructors. Ebola was not an issue in Botswana.

* Safety:

RRCS goes to every extent to keep students safe. You are however, living in the bush in Africa, and this comes with many dangers. I NEVER felt seriously threatened while on this trip, but this is also because every member of our group was very vigilant. There is no downplaying that you are in the wild, and when you life in the wild, you must be aware of the dangers that surrounded you.

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)

Outside of the program cost and plane fares, students almost never spend money on this program.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Very little.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* 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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Overall Experience of Botswana
  • What I learned to value while there
  • Getting to live outside for 90 days
* What could be improved?
  • Overall organization of route the trip would take.
  • Quality of cars (although this resulted in some great stories).
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? What you do on your program with RRCS matters. All the data being collected is going to directly aid the government in decisions, local people, and local ecosystems. I also should have been better prepared for the fact that Botswana does get cold (relatively)! The final weeks of our program required a good fleece and sleeping bag. Bring a pillow and good sleeping's worth it. Finally, take the opportunity to travel before or after. How many other times will you be in this place. Even take the risk to travel with another student even if you haven't even met yet. We were all jealous of two girls who had decided to travel before the program for a week. Ge the most out of your semester!

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.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Natural History of Botswana

Course Department:
Instruction Language:
Comments: This class is very unique to each location, and RRCS. You leave the program knowing extensive lists of local animals, plants, and insects. Not only do you know their names and latin names, but also how to track animals, recognize plants, and much more.
Credit Transfer Issues: