Very much what You make it/Agroforestry is Always the Answer Past Review

By (Environmental Studies, Brandeis University) - abroad from 02/02/2015 to 05/07/2015 with

The School for Field Studies / SFS: Costa Rica - Sustainable Development Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My program was very much influenced by the type of people on the trip and our supervisors. Our semester also had more issues than a normal semester there would, which was not the staff's fault. However, the way certain issues and problems were handled made living at the Center uncomfortable and stressful for a large part of the trip. This is why my experience is not as highly ranked as others. I did make several friends who I am still close with, and had amazing experiences outside learning about Costa Rica. Overall, Costa Rica rocks and SFS needs some major improvements.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

This is not an immersion program. If you want to meet locals and practice your Spanish, it is very much something you need to initiate yourself. The program staff make this clear from day 1.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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


* 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)

Food is fully provided at the Center. Any extra spending was mostly done on spring break where you have to leave for five days, or on trips to buy snacks or gifts.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $40


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
How many hours per day did you use the language?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Field study
  • Campus Center
* What could be improved?
  • Way that situations are handled
  • Independence of the students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had been able to talk to someone who had done this program before me for advice.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Ethics, Economics, and Sustainable Development

Course Department: ECON
Instructor: Mary Little
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class was disappointing because it didn't expand on issues discussed. We covered topics that most environmental students have already done at their home universities. The teacher was clearly uncomfortable with the economic topics, as that is not her area of study.
Credit Transfer Issues: