Extraordinary Past Review

By (University of Vermont) - abroad from 02/17/2016 to 05/11/2016 with

Round River Conservation Studies - Botswana Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
A new cultural experience and an unbelievable knowledge about ecology, evolution, and biological interactions. The hard work put in for research and field experiences is well worth it when you can see how that work is positively influencing the local people and wildlife.

Review Photos

Round River Conservation Studies - Botswana Program Photo Round River Conservation Studies - Botswana Program Photo Round River Conservation Studies - Botswana Program Photo Round River Conservation Studies - Botswana Program Photo Round River Conservation Studies - Botswana Program Photo

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.

Since you are living in your classroom, the material you learn for your courses is experienced, not just taught. Each day provides new unique situations and learning opportunities, keeping you on your toes and engaged. The advantage of living and learning out in the field is that the readings and class discussions that take place around the fire are often seen in real time the next morning or afternoon, leaving you much more educationally satisfied and knowledgable then by just sitting in a classroom.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Botswana is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been, along with one of the nicest and happiest places I've ever travelled to. The vast patches of wilderness provide breathtaking views and wildlife while the villages and cities have extremely interesting and fascinating people, cultures and experiences.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

If you enjoy camping then this is the right program! The entire semester is spent camping out in the bush in close proximity to lions, leopards, hyenas, elephants, etc

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

While in Botswana with RRCS, you will have a full time instructor from Botswana. Sixteen is one of the smartest, funniest and nicest people I've ever met, who's knowledge of the bush is unprecedented. While traveling from village to village, you will joined by and live with local escort guides from each village, who will teach you about Botswana history and culture. When not camping out in the bush, you will often be in the village, communicating with the people about your research and work, learning new skills and listening to stories about Botswana culture. An important component of each village visit consists of interacting with the local school children and educating them on the importance of conservation in their specific area.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I was never sick or injured during my program but I was aware of the resources we had available to us (see roundriver.org for more info on Global Rescue)

* Safety:

Even though you are living amongst lions, elephants and leopards, your safety is the top priority when living out in the bush. These animals aren't going to want to attack a human or go after a human so unless you're not using your head there is nothing to worry about. With that being said every instructor is WFR certified and has exceptional knowledge of the bush and the animals inhabiting the environment around you.

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

The most unique and wild semester you will ever have. Classes will be interrupted by animals walking through the campsite. Lions roaring will wake you up in the middle of the night. But I never felt unsafe or in danger while abroad. If you're looking to get real field experience in an outstanding environment then the Botswana program is a perfect fit.


* 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? $10
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you go to Botswana you won't need to worry about a lot of expenses. The biggest expense you will probably have is souvenirs or gifts for family members and friends. Everything else is pretty affordable since the American dollar goes pretty far in Botswana.


* 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? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
How many hours per day did you use the language?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* 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?
  • Camping
  • Not knowing what would happen that day
  • The people
* What could be improved?
  • Nothing
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It's a bit unique and random but I wish I had prescription sunglasses. Using contacts out in the bush can be difficult and sand is likely to get in your eyes almost every day. On the other hand, you want and need to wear sunglasses during the sunny, hot day.

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.