Let's just take a moment and appreciate that WE ARE IN THE RAINFOREST. Past Review

By (Environmental Studies., Wellesley College) - abroad from 09/08/2012 to 12/12/2012 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Most definitely. I believe that by the end of the program we were all wishing that it could have been twice as long. We managed to get so much in that short period of time. There is nothing better than waking up to a symphony of birds, of walking from your cabin and seeing a family of pademelons (little forest kangaroos), and having every meal outside with some of the best people you will ever meet. A wonderful experience, and one that I will never forget.

Review Photos

SFS: Australia - Tropical Rainforest Studies Photo SFS: Australia - Tropical Rainforest Studies Photo

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.

Day-to-day rigor was far less intense than at home institution, however, there were also periods of extremely intense coursework (field exercises, tests, and directed research) that managed to balance things out.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Tin roofed cabins! Kind of dirty, but we only ever used them as a place to sleep, so it wasn't a big deal.

* Food:

Iris (the cook) is wonderful, and helped to accomodate everyone.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We had been told prior to arriving that we would be quite isolated, which was true. However, we still managed to get out a couple times a week and meet locals.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

There were no real emergencies, but all the little issues were handled very well on-site. Due to the isolated nature of the centre, serious injuries would have to be handled off-site and would require a bit of a drive.

* Safety:

I felt extremely safe, despite the fact that there were snakes, and other rather dubious critters wandering about.

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)

You can live pretty cheaply if you want to (you're in the rainforest!) That being said, Australia is EXPENSIVE (minimum wage is $15/hr, so you'll be hard pressed to get coffee for less than $4.50) so on the occasion that you do go out, it's pretty east to blow through money on even basic things like food, forget about going to the movies ($20+)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $30-50
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? We managed to have a very cost effective spring break. We road-tripped for a week and camped, and snorkeled all for about $300 per person. Just get a lot of people and then that will cut costs when it comes to splitting things like food/gas/etc.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Other
* 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?
  • The people- I made some of the best friends I will ever have.
  • The location - You really can't beat it. You will never have the chance to be this close to the tropics.
  • The research- a great opportunity to get your hands dirty and get a taste of field work, data analysis and write-up.
* What could be improved?
  • Scheduling. Granted, everyone needs to be flexible, but there were a ton of moments where it seemed no one knew what was going on.
  • Classroom expectations.
  • Grading policies.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? There are TWO very different seasons. Fall (Dry) and Spring (Wet.) I was lucky enough to go during the dry season. But once it rains, it pours. So, for those considering going during the Spring, be prepared for some soaked socks, and leeches!

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.