Fieldwork, backpacking, and peaceful bliss in Chilean Patagonia Past Review

By (Oberlin College) - abroad from 01/22/2020 to 04/15/2020 with

Round River Conservation Studies - Patagonia, Chile Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was an immensely worthwhile experience - the academics and field work placed within the cultural context of Patagonia provided a whole new approach and perspective to my biology and environmental studies education that I couldn't have experienced at my home institution. It was also awesome to watch myself grow into a stronger, more confident person throughout the semester, as a backpacker, and as an independent thinker.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The main focus was on field research and connecting classwork to the work we were doing in the field, which I found to be done super effectively and taught me so much about the processes behind conservation.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

You live in a tent for the whole semester, which is something that everyone knows going into the program, so expectations are pretty low on that regard. It definitely can get tough since the accommodations are so bare-bones, but I knew this and was prepared for it going into the semester so I have no complaints.

* Food:

Same as with housing, food is mostly basic backcountry meals and meals that students cook for each other when at base camp. I wouldn't come on this program if you're looking for an exciting culinary experience, but we also did experience our share of traditional Patagonian asados and occasionally went out to restaurants, all of which were delicious.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Given the remoteness of our locations, immediate healthcare sometimes was difficult to obtain, but it was always done as efficiently as possible given the circumstances. Friends were able to get prescriptions refilled for free and x-rays done for the equivalent of 5 USD.

* Safety:

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

I had an overall fantastic experience and watched myself grow so much as a person and environmentalist. I was able to connect with Patagonia and Chile in so many beautiful ways and felt so lucky to be able to experience all of it.


* 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)

You can get away with not spending any money, given the remote nature of the program, but everyone ended up spending between $100-$200 throughout the semester on snacks, beer, and other personal expenses.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $5-$10


* 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
  • 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?
  • Academics and nature of the work really made us challenge institutional notions of conservation and really identify our motivations
  • Spent so much time outside in the most beautiful places I've ever been to
  • Were given many opportunities to establish connections within local communities - through asados, homestays, or working with partner organizations
* What could be improved?
  • How group dynamics are addressed and fostered, since the tight-knit group of 10 people you're in all semester can really make or break the experience
  • A more sustainable balance between academics/coursework and backpacking/field work
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Having a zero degree (or warmer) sleeping bag is crucial - don't settle for a 20 degree one because you will freeze most nights

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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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.