Challening, educational, rewarding, made me a better scientist Past Review

By (Biological Sciences - Evolution/Ecology, University of California - Riverside) for

University of California EAP (UCEAP): Monteverde - Tropical Biology & Conservation, Monteverde Institute

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes, I learned a lot about ecology/conservation from enthusiastic instructors and how relevant it was to the tropics. Also learned the tradeoffs involved with living in remote but beautiful areas. The tradeoff of comfort was definitely worth it to experience parts of Costa Rica uninhabited by humans.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The workload seemed more than most abroad programs I have heard about, but I learned a lot and gained valuable experience by working in the field and during lectures. Teaching methods were very diverse. A class lecture could be anything from sitting in a classroom to taking notes while walking in the rainforest. Grading was fair in my opinion. This program was really hands-on!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Super educational, but not a lot of free time to travel during the program.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Living arrangements also in tents and rustic field stations.

* Food:

Yes, vegetarians were accommodated efficiently.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Visiting livestock and coffee farms, national parks, and a soccer game was amazing!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

As long as you have common sense you will be fine. Always travel in pairs/groups at night and don't venture off by yourself especially when you are in the field. The ability to be independent is extremely helpful as well.

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


* 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)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Money actually goes pretty fast. Going out to eat, buying gifts, alcohol, etc. can add up! Just be conscious on how much you are spending I guess. Things aren't that cheap in Costa Rica.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Spanish III in highschool.
Language acquisition improvement?

There was no language requirement for this program, but you get placed in a Spanish class according to your level. You could practice Spanish in the grocery store, with the cooks/maids at the field station, with your advisers, and your host family. There were plenty opportunities to do so.

If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
  • Hotel
  • Dorm
  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Field Trips
  • Research projects
  • Hands-on Learning
* What could be improved?
  • Food