Unlike anything else October 13, 2022

By (Anthropology, Reed College) - abroad from 09/01/2019 to 12/31/2019 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This program was a great experience in learning to embrace the magic of something really different. I had a fantastic time. There are a lot of stringent rules for safety, and the campus is Very Remote, but I did not mind that very much.

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.

The academic rigor was a little lower than my institution, but I was told that it is one of the most academically rigorous programs SFS offers. It functionally made for a good refresher period between semesters of an intense program, mixed with intensive natural science. The language learning was the most poor, simply because all 20 students were on drastically different levels of knowledge, and the single teacher had to cater to the lowest level.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

There's mold, there's mildew, the power is iffy, but you are living in the Amazon basin. Those things go hand in hand. If that is not your style, a resort may be a better fit. Campus was lovely, with a pool, the sports fields, the hammocks, and the various malokas for spending time in.

* Food:

I have never eaten so well in my life.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Cultural integration was a little lacking. I had to go way out of my way to forcibly involve myself - as an anthropology student, that's what I did.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did have to visit the hospital in Iquitos (my ankle was NOT broken), and the program was helpful about getting me there. I did have to pay for transit and pay out of pocket, but it was less than $100 American dollars for a two hour taxi ride, xrays, medications, and all hospital fees, so I really cannot complain. This program does require a lot of specific preventative medical care - vaccines, malaria medication, etc. Take it seriously.

* Safety:

The rules are generally there for a reason - don't eat random fruit without washing for intestinal parasites, wear long pants when in the jungle because of snakes, don't swim in the rivers because of piranhas and contaminates, and carry your money in inner pockets for pickpockets. I felt quite safe.

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

Peru was an exceptionally good thing for me.


* 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? $2
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Bring more money than you think for purchasing gifts - they are very affordable and you will want many.


* 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? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 200 level immersion
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Please know basic spanish before you go. I spent a lot of time translating for others.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • 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?
  • location
  • food
* What could be improved?
  • academics
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Malaria meds make you loopy.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'