Without a doubt, the best experience in college Past Review

By (Ecology and Environmental Science, University of Maine - Orono) - abroad from 09/15/2018 to 12/08/2018 with

Round River Conservation Studies - Patagonia, Chile Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My experience abroad was completely worthwhile. I gained valuable field research skills and learned about the challenges of conservation work. I also made life long friends and joined the supportive and caring community that is Round River.

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.

My semester with Round River was one of the most formative experiences of my college career. I had the opportunity to gain valuable field work experience and participate in applied conservation work. I learned so much during the semester that I never would have been able to in a regular college classroom.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was happy to live in a tent all semester - just make sure you bring a good tent! The hostels that we stayed in between trips were all very nice.

* Food:

Students are responsible for cooking throughout the semester. The instructors were always willing to get us the ingredients for what we wanted to cook.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Our instructors were always seeking out opportunities for us to engage with the local culture. A five-day homestay was one of the highlights of my semester. We did spend several weeks of the semester on backcountry field expeditions, which limited the amount of cultural immersion.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

All of the instructors have at minimum their Wilderness First Responder certification. I was impressed by the professionalism and care with which health issues were addressed during the program.

* Safety:

Round River operates in extremely remote places that carry an inherent level of risk. I thought the instructors addressed these risks appropriately throughout the program and were always attentive to students safety.

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

My semester with Round River in Patagonia was everything I could have hoped for and more. The program met all my requirements - cultural and language immersion, applied conservation work, field work experience, and an incredible community of people.


* 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)

Money was only necessary for souvenirs and personal treats.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $5
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I would recommend bringing your favorite treats/snacks from the United States versus trying to buy products in Patagonia where they will be more expensive.


* 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

Our instructors were always encouraging us to try out our Spanish, both with locals and amongst ourselves.

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? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 2 years of high school
How many hours per day did you use the language? 0
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? I would definitely recommend taking classes before the semester. Duolingo is also really helpful.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* 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?
  • The community of students and instructors
  • Remote field expeditions
  • Homestay
* What could be improved?
  • It's hard to think of anything that could be improved - it was such a positive experience!
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Backpacking is a plus on Round River semesters but is not guaranteed. If you are interested in this program solely to backpack, I would look into other opportunities.