There's no place like the Rainforest! If you're thinking about going-DO IT! Past Review

By (Medical Technology, Boston University) for

The School for Field Studies / SFS: Australia – Rainforest studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My study abroad experience in Australia and New Zealand was one of the best experiences of my life and definitely of my college career. It really changed me for the better. I loved being exposed to so many people from different parts of the United States and people from around the world. It did help me make a firm decision on my future career plans, and I think it is very beneficial to anyone who is contemplating doing this.

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.

I felt that the workload was very balanced between field lectures and in class lectures. The work was heavily dependent on participation. The homework/field logs/tests/final paper were a good difficulty level for everyone that was there. I will go out on a limb and say that as long as you stay on top of your work and participate in everything, you will do fine. I absolutely loved having teachers who were from different parts of the world. They were all extremely well qualified, passionate about what they were teaching, and interested in what we had to say.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I feel that the program overall had no weaknesses. Our instructors and site managers were all extremely well qualified and well versed in both of our host countries and American higher education as well. The program had three instructors, a student affairs manager, and a site manager, for thirty students from all over the USA. My expectations were not only met, but exceeded beyond measure.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

While in New Zealand we had the pleasure of living with a Maori family who were extremely friendly and hospitable(this was an amazing experience). We were treated just like a part of their family as soon as we were welcomed onto the property. We also stayed in cabins in the Waitakere mountains of New Zealand, which was very beautiful. We also had free weekends in our choice of hostel. In Australia we also had free weekend to stay in our choice of hostel but mostly stayed in cabins. At both campsites where we stayed in cabins, the bath house, kitchen, and classrooms were separate from the cabins, but it was not very far at all.

* Food:

This is a very accommodating program. We had several people with food allergies, dietary restrictions, and vegetarians during my program and they were always fed well (sometimes us non-vegetarians wanted to eat their food because it looked so good). We were fed very large, good meals on site and always had access to snacks and drinks. On days that we would be in the field all day we had a good selection of things to pack our lunch with and were never really limited on quantity. We always had access to fresh fruits and things like trail mix to toss in our bags as well.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The list goes on and on. We were in the field several days a week on different trips. We went to several museums, we went to a Maori political rally of sorts, discovery centers, and many others.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I felt very safe everywhere that we went. We always traveled in groups and other than on free weekends, our instructors were always with us. On free weekends we chose to use a buddy system and had our instructors' cell phone numbers in case of emergencies.

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)

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Hostel
  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
  • Other

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I think that a student who is very interested in a cultural experience and wants to be immersed in a culture would benefit the most from this program. I think you should be environmentally conscious and interested in environmental biology/ecology. You do not have to be majoring in something along those lines, but having an interest in it only makes it that much better. This program is not for the anti-social. You live with your fellow students basically 24/7. You eat together, you hang out together, you study together, and you sleep in the same quarters. If you aren't that much of a "people person," this might not be for you.