Past Review

By (Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering., SUNY - Binghamton) for

SUNY Binghamton: Traveling - Tropical Forest Workshop

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned much about tropical ecology. This trip was a life changing experience. I have always seen rainforests on documentaries, but this was a much more visceral experience which has helped shape my world view. I now wish to integrate the complexities of tropical ecology of my own field of systems biology and bioengineering. I also have refreshed my desire to travel more in the tropics, including Peru.

Review Photos

SUNY Binghamton: Traveling - Tropical Forest Workshop 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 learned so much about tropical ecology through this course. It was a small group which was very conducive to learning. The only difficulty was staying focused sometimes, as there was so much to do and see!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program was very well organized, our instructors knowledgeable and passionate, subject matter interesting and positively exposed, and the group small enough for personalized learning.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Los Arboles, Tres Piedres, Costa Rica <br /><br /> We lived in a cabin in the Tropical Forestry Initiative. Everything that we needed was provided to us. Although we had to "rough it," it only enhanced the experience.

* Food:

The food was excellent, but I reached my saturation point of rice and beans.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We went on a number of field trips to parts of the country like the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve, Hacienda Baru, Maunuel Antonio National Park, and Playa Ballena National Park. The group was small enough that everyone knew each other and felt comfortable.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Everyone was briefed as to the risks. Sure there are venomous snakes, but with proper precautions, there is little problems with them. All injuries were properly taken care of.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 300/month=75/week Only about 50 on souvenirs
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Don't spend too much on souvenirs. You are told to bring 350, but some people who spent too much ran out of money.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
Language acquisition improvement?

I found myself using Spanish on a nearly daily basis when I was conversing with the locals as few spoke English. This really improved my vocabulary and helped remind me of much that I had forgotten.

If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

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

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? If you aren't willing to "rough it," this isn't the program for you, but if you love the natural world, this is a life changing trip and would heartily recommend it.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Costa Rica Environ. Internship

Course Department: CREI 350
Instructor: Professor Richard Andrus
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The trip was a life changing experience. I learned much about tropical ecology both from the lecture and discussion time, as well as the hands on field work which we did everyday. Ricardo is one of my favorite professors here and obviously has incredible passion and experience in this field.
Credit Transfer Issues: No issues.