Incredible country, not-so-incredible program Past Review

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

The School for Field Studies / SFS: Peru – Amazon Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Peru is an incredible country and I'm glad that I got to spend time exploring and learning more about the people, culture, and ecosystems of Peru. However, SFS Peru, for me, was too focused on hard science and academics, but not focused enough on actual cultural integration.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The classes were difficult in that the workload was very high, but the material itself was not very challenging for students already studying the sciences.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Most of the administration was left to one individual, which spread resources thin. In addition, rules and regulations were unnecessarily strict for a group of adult-aged college students.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Villa Carmen is a beautiful campus, and the ACA staff who work to maintain it do an incredible job.

* Food:

The kitchen staff at Villa Carmen are always working hard and preparing delicious meals.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The presence of ACA workers at our site allowed for better integration with Peruvian culture, however we were still quite removed and limited from interacting with the local town of Pilcopata.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Physical health care was addressed fantastically-- however, mental health was rarely considered even when students expressed serious needs.

* Safety:

Living in the Amazon during the rainy season makes safety challenging. SFS did a decent job, but more consideration needs to go into dealing with landslides and leish maniasis.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 5 soles


* 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? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 202
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
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?
  • Villa Carmen
  • ACA
  • The sounds of the rainforest
* What could be improved?
  • Academic experiences
  • Cultural experience
  • Communitiy integration
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Be prepared to take hard science seriously, while leaving social science on the back burner. Make sure to spend time traveling Peru after the program because it is an incredible place and the program only allows you to see a small part of what the country has to offer.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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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.