SFS Australia- Best Decision I Ever Made Past Review

By (Environmental Studies, University of Southern California) for

The School for Field Studies / SFS: Australia & New Zealand - Rainforest Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It piqued and kept my interest in environmental education.

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 workload was very manageable, definitely peaked during the directed research month, but totally worth it.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Their support services were great. We were in the middle of rainforest, 20 minutes from the nearest town. One night I needed to see a doctor, and they drove me all the way to Atherton. Their knowledge about our surroundings was incredible. For actual administration, I felt like we were being treated a bit too much like children. Our average age was around 20, and yet our time to leave site was limited to the weekends, with a curfew.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We lived in cabins in the rainforest, with about 8 people to a cabin, separated by gender. (We had 22 girls and 8 boys). Very short trail walk to the classroom/kitchen/main area.We did not have buy any items to settle in, but on the packing list, they did include sheets/sleeping bags, so we brought out own.

* Food:

Ask for mac n cheese for Friday/Saturdays, it's wonderful to come home to at night. They definitely had vegetarian options, I think it was a little bit tougher for the vegans, but they got creative with the peanut butter.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

They arranged for us to volunteer at this fair so we could get free admission. Organized a home-stay where we stayed with a local family for a weekend. I stayed with a lovely older couple who owned a farm and fed a calf.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The program definitely helped me seek healthcare when I needed it. It was about 40 minutes away, but they were open all night. I don't recall any specific vaccines that I needed.

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

Finances

* 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)

Language

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The nature right outside my door.
* What could be improved?
  • The safety regulations, we're not children.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? If you're looking for hands-on learning, this is it. I was an environmental studies major, but had never experience nature in this way.