Learning, exploring, volunteering, playing in the rainforest! Past Review

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 02/01/2016 to 05/06/2016 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This program was definitely worthwhile! It reminded me why I chose to study Environmental Studies/Science in the first place! We were encouraged to explore, to be hands-on, and to interact with others and the environment. I gained necessary skills and knowledge, did research for the first time, I met great people, and I fell in love with the rainforest.

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.

The program was incredible from an educational standpoint! The professors were very knowledgeable, friendly, and excited to share the rainforest with us! We covered A LOT of information over the course of the semester, but most of it was done in an interactive and hands-on way. The only academic drawback was poor wifi (a minor problem and unavoidable due to the remoteness of the program); this only became a problem when research papers where happening. Overall though, it was a great semester!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Again, everyone was very friendly, and helpful!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The cabins and outhouse-style bathrooms definitely took some adjusting to (some bugs, dust, and mold). However, there is no better way to live in the rainforest! The surroundings are beautiful and, between the center and the cabins, you have everything you need--nothing more, nothing less.

* Food:

Marianne is a fabulous cook!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Hard to say...we participated in home-stay weekend and interacted with the local community a lot, but we also spent a lot of time at the center with our American peers.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Healthcare can be tricky in the rainforest (both in terms of the risks associated with living there and remoteness) but SFS did a really good job managing risk and monitoring our concerns. I had a very, very minor emergency while on program. Staff was helpful and attentive and Aussie healthcare was simple to navigate with their assistance.

* Safety:

Again, there are risks that go along with living in the rainforest, but we always had the information and assistance needed. We were taught how to wrap snake bites upon arrival, if that is any indication.

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)

Most things are provided for you. You might buy snacks and personal sunscreen/toiletries one and awhile, but that's it.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? up to $20 or $30; sometimes none at all
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you need it, the center probably has it.


* 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 environment and topic
  • The fieldtrips and hands-on learning
  • The people!
* What could be improved?
  • Scheduling; sometimes our projects all came at once!
  • Access to research materials
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Not sure...

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 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.