Amazing wildlife, once in a lifetime experience Past Review

By (Biology and Philosophy, University of Alaska Fairbanks) - abroad from 09/19/2015 to 12/12/2015 with

Round River Conservation Studies - Botswana Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned how to live and work in the field. I gained experience and skills in the field that I have already used to work in the USA as a wildlife tech intern. I also learned what it is like to work in conservation in Africa and the trials and rewards that come along with it.

Review Photos

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.

I had not done any field work prior to going to Botswana and this was a phenomenal introduction to conducting research in a remote field setting. The classes taught were relevant to the place we were doing research and they were current with the subject matter.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

As far as it is possible to stay in close contact when you are living in the bush, the program director and research scientists in the USA checked on us frequently.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Living in a tent in the middle of the bush in Africa is as real as it gets. I wouldn't have had it any other way.

* Food:

We cooked all of our own food (students and instructors rotated throughout the week) so as long as you can cook and know how to work with hot weather, lots of canned food and carbs you'll be alright!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It is a field based study abroad so we were living in various camps that we set up, usually 20 minutes or more outside of the nearest village so integration into the community doesn't happen, but students work closely with local guides in each area. We also had the chance to visit a school to teach a little about conservation and also had a lot of contact with locals while conducting surveys for research projects.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The program did a great job of making sure that students got medical attention when they needed it even if we were hours away from a clinic. That being said, Botswana can only provide so much when it comes to healthcare.

* Safety:

I always felt safe. Botswana is a wonderful country full of friendly and helpful people.

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)

Everything is included in the tuition fee. I think I spent less than $200 while I was there for three months including buying gifts to bring home with me. It is also pretty cheap to live in Botswana anyways.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $10 or less. Most money was spent during trips to town on gifts.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Nope.


* 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

There is a class on Setswana, but no credits are awarded for it. You learn the Setswana names for most plants and animals and also common phrases and introductions.

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? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? n/a
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? Use it as much as you can! Try to talk with the guides.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • 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?
  • Wildlife
  • Field Setting
  • Courses
* What could be improved?
  • Food
  • Maybe a little more off-time
  • More time in schools would be awesome!
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Susie did a great job preparing students before they leave. I wish I had been more aware of the wet vs. dry season in Botswana. Fall semester is the dry season and Spring semester is the wet season!

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.