The Way Learning SHOULD Be November 16, 2022

By (Environmental Sciences, University of Vermont) - abroad from 02/13/2022 to 05/09/2022 with

Round River Conservation Studies - Botswana Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
All explained above! It was most certainly worthwhile.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

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

I do not exaggerate when I say that this program was the best experience I've had in my life. Round River proves that you do not need a traditional school setting to really learn about the world around you. I have never learned so much content in only three months without having to sit down and force myself to study. This is because you are applying your knowledge daily when conducting research out in the bush. Every day you wake up, you go out into the field and you practice identifying wildlife and plants, recognizing animal behavior, sexing animals, aging individuals, learning calls, and endless more information on the natural and life history of a species. This information is both for research as well as for your own advancement of knowledge. By the end of the trip, you are running through data collection like nothing, because you really know the elements around you. How cool is it to say that you know the name of that bird, or the mating call of that mammal! Most days you are engaging with locals who are super supportive and patient as you practice your Setswana. I cannot stress enough that you are learning by just living there and embracing your curiosity! Additionally, your instructors become some of your closest friends. When you are struggling with any course content, your instructors are there to guide you through it. The instructors in this program are so knowledgable about the landscape around them and I found myself posing question after question. Sometimes your curiosity just gets the best of you and you end up learning more than you ever thought you could. I was primarily concerned about safety before I went on this trip. That is so fair! You are in a new environment surrounded by new people and wild, dangerous animals. One huge take-away from this trip is that one, you have to trust your instructors. Some of the instructors and all of your escort guides have lived in Botswana their entire lives and they know what they are doing. Everything has inherent risk, however it is the same anywhere. Most animals are scared of humans and will not actively seek you out. While I was still on the lookout for the occasional black mamba (you rarely see them), after only a few days I felt super safe no matter where we went. Now, this program is definitely not for everybody. You will be camping for the entirety of your time there and this is a unique experience that is not for everyone. Showering is limited and there are some campsites where you dig your own toilet :). I will say, however, that I had never spent more than a week in a tent at a time before this program and I would have rather been in my tent than in a bed; I am serious! You can hear everything from a tent that you could not in a lodge. We could hear lions, elephants, hyenas! Every evening you go to bed to the sound of the bush. It is certainly something I missed when I left. If you are feeling burnout from traditional school and want to re-ignite your love of learning, then you should, without a doubt, do this program. I am an individual who has dealt with anxiety around school for my entire career as a student. I went on this trip fully expecting my anxiety to still be at play. I kid you not, I had the least anxiety I have ever had in my entire life! Learning was fun and I was surrounded by people who became my family. I say this genuinly: yes I miss the animals, but the people I miss the most. I can rave about this program for hours. If you want to hear more stories or if you have any questions, please get in touch with me. I would be more than happy to speak to you further! There are endless stories to share.


* 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? 0


* 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? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? None in Setswana
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? Start early and don't be afraid to ask for help! People are so supportive and kind about it!

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?
  • The People
  • The Wildlife
  • The Course Material
* What could be improved?
  • More Safety Rundowns
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Embrace everything and be open to try anything

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.