Structured Time with Nature Past Review

By (Biochemistry And Cell Biology, Bucknell University) - abroad from 06/01/2014 to 07/01/2014 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 broader knowledge of the culture and indigenous peoples in both countries. I experienced the amazingly beautiful landscapes and nature in NZ and Australia. Although there are things that would have been helpful to know going into the program, overall I still enjoyed my time and do not regret in the slightest going.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

In the Summer I program, at first you do a lot of moving around in NZ so not much class time is had. The field lectures in the forests could have been more informative, and less dry.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program is incredibly structured: Breakfast at 7 am, group that cleans up after, things planned every hour of the day. The administrators were not that helpful, and at times no one knew what the plan was, or it was not communicated clearly. All but 2 days of the 4 weeks was "program time" where it was structured, and the 2 days were the only time we were free to do as we please.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Roughed it in the woods and cabins.

* Food:

Our cook was amazing and absolutely accommodating to any allergies/specificities.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Getting to live with the Aboriginal and Maori people was hands down my favorite and most meaningful part of the trip.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

In NZ, even in the forests I felt safe. In Auckland, the city was very clean, easy to navigate, and felt unbelievably safe.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

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)

On program time, all of our food was covered in our program costs, and our wonderful cook prepared meals.

Language

* 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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Nature
  • Landscapes
  • Free Weekend
* What could be improved?
  • Too structured
  • Better management
  • More immersion
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I now know how structured this program is. I understand that a program must be intensive for a 4 week program, but the semester programs are also this way. The structure prohibited me from doing more exploring on my own. This program is not for high-maintenance people who cannot handle the outdoors or camping.