An Experience of a Lifetime Past Review

By (Political Science and Public Policy, St. Mary's College of Maryland) - abroad from 06/01/2013 to 08/05/2013 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Not only did I gain field skills and extensive knowledge about rainforest sustainability, I learned so much about myself as an individual in this chaotic world. I am more confident in who I am and where I am headed which makes this experience entirely worthwhile.

Review Photos

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

While the program does warn you of its intensity, I was still surprised by how dedicated the staff was to our education and how much time we spent actually studying and learning in the field.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff was wonderful and always on hand to help us in any way necessary. Moreover they were almost continuously on top of things except for the times that the unexpected would arise. In those instances they were able to adjust to accommodate those circumstances.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Considering we were in the middle of a rainforest, the accommodations were as good as could be expected.

* Food:

Iris is a wonderful cook who never fails to make options available for every type of diet.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The closest hospital to our center was forty minutes away but the staff was dedicated to our health and well-being. Even the tiniest of scratches were treated with the utmost concern and care.

* Safety:

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)

The only time were it was not easy was the break in between the sessions where we were on our own and had to pay for housing and food ourselves. That week I probably spent 300-400 dollars.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Not more than 100 and that was mostly for souvenirs or random snacks.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Stay in hostels and buy food from the grocery store on your time alone, keep track of what you're spending and what you're spending it on, and keep a list of the gifts you're getting people so you don't buy more than you need.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
  • 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?
  • The subjects we were studying and the teachers that taught them.
  • The fact that we were in the middle of a rainforest at all times learning about sustainability and actually applying it.
  • The bonds between people.
* What could be improved?
  • The amount of time that was spent in the classroom the first week of the second session was excessive
  • The free-time we were allotted was minimal
  • The site for the program should include a syllabus describing what kind of coursework you are getting into.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew that I didn't need to worry or be as terrified as I was. The thought of having to work along side complete strangers from different colleges with different reputations in a foreign country half-way across the world was extremely intimidating. But through hard work I held my own, had the best time of my life, and came away with great stories.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!