The Best Thing I Ever Did Past Review

By (Environmental Science., Clark University - Worcester) - abroad from 01/30/2012 to 05/03/2012 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a new perspective on my major, and life in general, and made lifelong friends! It was more than worthwhile!

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

You'll learn so much! I loved sitting in the classroom and getting a lecture on a topic, and then going into the field and experiencing it for ourselves, this is what education should be!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

How well the program runs depends largely on the Interns and SAM (Student Affairs Manager) my group was lucky to have amazing ones.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

If you're looking for privacy and modern amenities...you're not going to get it. You're living in a cabin with several people and the bathroom and showers are a fair walk away. However, you wake up every morning in a rainforest! That's worth 5 stars for me.

* Food:

Iris is the best! Mealtime is an important part of Centre life, and Iris tries very hard to accommodate everyone. Vegetarians will have no problem. I would suggest purchasing your own snacks during trips to town as well.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Even though we're spending a large part of our time isolated in the middle of the rainforest, the staff made sure we got out to enjoy the local culture. I loved getting to spend time in the small town of Yungaburra, going to community TREAT plantings, and drinking at the local pub. You feel like you're part of a community at the end of it.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

No vaccines required to come to Australia. The staff do their best to address health concerns efficiently. There were a couple cases where some students had to be driven all the way to Cairns (nearest city, hour or so drive) to have their health issues addressed.

* Safety:

The things to be concerned about in terms of safety are animals and not people. There are poisonous snakes and stinging trees, but the Centre has a very detailed safety plan for everything and the teach you how to spot things and avoid certain situations.

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)

The good thing about living in the rainforest is that you don't get out much and therefore can't spend money. This is a good thing because Australia is very expensive!

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? Yes
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Probably
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you want spend your money at the pub on the weekends, but my advice is to save it for weekends in Cairns and the Yungaburra market!

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
  • Host Family
  • Hostel
* 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?
  • Living in the Rainforest!
  • My fellow studetns
  • The local Community
* What could be improved?
  • Lecture schedules
  • Computer/Internet functionality
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Just how much time you're going to be spending with the group. You'll get very little time to yourself.