Unexpected Pandemic! Past Review

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 01/27/2020 to 05/08/2020 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned new perspectives on happiness as well as the dependence of many people on nature. I gained so much knowledge and it was completely worthwhile.

Review Photos

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

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Educational experience was great. I learned so much and was very grateful for the experience.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff were amazing, but there were certain issues that could have been treated better. For example, the medical help could have been better as there were several students, including myself, who got sick, and did not all receive adequate services.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Housing was very beautiful and peaceful as it was in the middle of the forest. However, the inside was dirty at times (understandable due to environment) with adequate resources such as bug netting around the bed and available water to brush teeth. There was also places to study and to eat, but one did not get much privacy.

* Food:

Food was amazing!! The cooks there were so good, and could explain what you were eating very well. Additionally, food accommodations and restrictions were treated very well, with many options and consideration. (vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, gluten-free, lactose intolerant)

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Social and Cultural interaction was great. Not only did we get to meet many communities across Peru, we also were involved with the nearby communities in staff where we played volleyball, soccer and danced. Additionally, we also had Eco club where we reached science concepts to the nearby kids.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Like mentioned earlier, there were certain health issues that were not treated the best. A student got a parasite and lost a loved one at the same time, and it was very hard for her to continue class. Although proper help was provided, there were issues with her expectation of classwork. Similary, I ended up getting sick during a boat trip and did not have much energy. Even then, I was encouraged to go out int he field while still participate in my classwork. Another student also got sick on this trip and had to get fluids. The problem was more of the accommodations of classwork for those that are sick rather than the actual medical help.

* Safety:

Although we were in a relative dangerous environment, the program did a good job at keeping us safe both in the forest and in the cities. We took precautions such as wearing wide pants and shoes in the evening for snakes and such. There were a couple incidents but there was always attention.

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

Yes, but I would not go back if I knew it would come with the pandemic. It was amazing, but we missed a lot of amazing field trips.


* 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? I did not have to spend on food when on campus, but did during our vacation trips to cities such as Iquitos and Cusco. Average plates were about 10 soles which were like 4 dollars, but it depended on the area. Food in Cusco was a bit more expensive but still relatively cheap for the US dollar worth.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? General money savings tips would be to trade your money from dollars to soles in the US as it could get more expensive and harder in small Peru businesses.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Hotel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
  • Other
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
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?
  • The environment
  • The kindness of the people
  • The food
* What could be improved?
  • The mental health resources on campus
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I did not need as many things as I brought and wish I packed less.

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.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Political Ecology of Developing Landscapes

Course Department: Politics and Ecology
Instructor: Mar Cartro
Instruction Language: English
Comments: It was challenging and very eye-opening. The teacher had a lot of experience with our lessons due to her background. There were many new and fun activities used to learn new concepts. We took many fieldtrips to communities related to the topic of study at the time. This made me participate in class way more than I would have at my home institution.
Credit Transfer Issues: There were no issues as I transferred it as a regular degree credit.
Course Name/Rating:

Conservation Science and Practice

Course Department: Biology and conservation
Instructor: Steven Sevillano
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course was more challenging than I expected, however, I learned so much. There were several field trips related to our learning which caused my to participate way more. However, there were some topics that appeared a bit hard to understand (when it came to the stats). The way classwork was assessed was fairly as the professor was lenient. The teacher was very knowledgeable.
Credit Transfer Issues: I transferred it as a 300- level biology class, but it did not count as a lab although we did field work and reports.
Course Name/Rating:

Tropical Ecology of the Amazon

Course Department: Biology
Instructor: Laura Morales
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class was challenging in the best of ways. It encouraged you to learn new things and think, but certain assignments were not explained the best. I did participate a lot due to the trips we took into to the forest for field work. I felt that the assignments were assessed well but was a bit harder than the rest of the classes.
Credit Transfer Issues: This class did transfer for a 300 level biology class, but I am still having trouble for it to count as a lab although we did do much field/ lab work.