Great experience, very busy Past Review

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 08/29/2016 to 12/08/2017 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was worthwhile. I gained an understanding of ES issues (ecology, sustainability, environmental ethics, biology). I also gained by meeting new people and living in a new place.

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 enjoyed all the classes and learned a lot. However, some classes were repetitive and I did not enjoy 6 day work weeks.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Everything was scheduled extremely well and chosen wisely, but this took away from any flexible time to explore.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* 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? Yes

On the fence between yes and no. I did enjoy most of the classes and the field trips, but would have loved more time to explore the country and place independently. This independent exploration was almost impossible given 6 day work weeks,


* 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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
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? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner

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?
  • Directed research
  • Other students
  • Place
* What could be improved?
  • More free time
  • Less repetition between classes
  • Being more relaxed with issues like cerfew
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I got a good sense of the program through its advertising. Do wish I knew how strict the program is in terms of hours of work and other issues. Was pleasantly surprised by how much I learned during directed research and when exploring during breaks.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Spanish and Costa Rican History

Course Department:
Instructor: Gerardo Avalos
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: I found it challenging because of my weak language skills. History of CR was relevant given the location. Teacher knowledgeable, lots of participation, assessed with exams/homework/participation.
Credit Transfer Issues: Maybe, will see
Course Name/Rating:

Principles of Natural Resource Manegment

Course Department:
Instructor: Achim Häger
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The course was a medium difficulty and similar to how a 101 ES course at Midd is arranged. It had a great sense of place-based learning through learning about local issues and field trips. Were assessed with papers, exams, lab reports, participation, and more.
Credit Transfer Issues: Not sure yet.
Course Name/Rating:


Course Department:
Instructor: J. Edgardo Arévalo-Hernández
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course was a tropical ecology class and would perfectly fit at Midd's biology department. After we learned topics, we would always go on field trips to see first hand what we just learned in a classroom. The teacher was extremely knowledgeable, I participated equally as if at Midd, and assessed through lab reports, participation, and tests.
Credit Transfer Issues: Maybe, not sure yet
Course Name/Rating:


Course Department:
Instructor: Mary Little
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The course was a medium difficulty and surveyed the topic of environmental ethical issues. It did use the location to direct several examples, but case studies across the globe were utilized. The teacher was knowledgeable, participated a lot, assessed with papers, exams, and participation. The course similar to a 200 level ES course at Midd.
Credit Transfer Issues: Maybe, will see.
Course Name/Rating:

Directed Research

Course Department:
Instructor: J. Edgardo Arévalo-Hernández
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course was challenging. We were out in the field studying bird populations and this pushed my data gathering and lab report writing skills to a vastly improved state. The teacher was extremely knowledgeable and helpful throughout the process. Lots of asking questions and participation. Graded on the final lab report.
Credit Transfer Issues: Maybe, will see