Hands-on Science in a close knit group Past Review

By (University of Wisconsin - Madison) - abroad from 01/29/2018 to 05/09/2018 with

The School for Field Studies / SFS: Panama - Tropical Island Biodiversity Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a group of friends who care about the same things as me and have experienced living in the amazing town of Bocas.

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.

They expect a lot of work out of you, you will not just get to "chill out" for a whole semester, but it is a lot of projects, group collabs, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff were amazing. Professors, student affairs managers, cooks, etc, everyone was so friendly and made the center feel like home.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Share a room with bunk beds with 4 people and your own bathroom in each room.

* Food:

The meals we ate were good, but they got repetitive. Snacks are the best part of the day.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We work in the community a lot which is awesome, you really get to know people, but it is a lot harder if you don't know Spanish.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not have any.

* Safety:

They make sure you are very safe.....there is even a curfew at night.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

I loved SFS and the fact that we were all so close all the time.


* 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)

We don't travel in this program so it is only how much you want to go into town/spend in town. Water taxis/taxis are always less than $5.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $50


* 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

We were not often encouraged to practice/use Spanish.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Fifth Semester College Spanish
How many hours per day did you use the language? 0

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • 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?
  • Friends
  • Field Activities
  • Working with community
* What could be improved?
  • No busywork
  • More time for students to enjoy their abroad..you're only there once!
  • More language requirements
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I knew a lot, SFS really prepares you to know what you are getting into.

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.