The School for Field Studies
95% Rating
(44 Reviews)

The School for Field Studies

The School for Field Studies (SFS) offers field-based programs that revolve around environmental studies and research. The programs involve exploration of the human and ecological aspects of issues having to do with the local environments. Students assist SFS's global partners and host communities in their research, finding meaningful solutions to real environmental problems. Study abroad with SFS to have an experience of a lifetime and earn academic credit while making a difference in the world!

Most Recent Program Reviews

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Kaitlyn
Female
Iowa
Iowa State University

Life-Changing Adventure

10/10

This summer, I had the opportunity to join approx. 20 other students from different states around the USA on a study abroad program in East Africa. The School for Field Studies was an absolutely fantastic program that left me with many unforgettable memories and friendships. It helped foster my passion for wildlife research even more and I look forward to a future with SFS support from this adventure. I would highly recommend The School for Field Studies study abroad for any curious, young scientist who wants a taste of what it's like to conduct research on the other side of the world. I knew after leaving this program, with my heart still pumping on the plane ride home, that this is the field I am destined to be in.

How can this program be improved?

The Tanzania program was run very well with many encouraging and caring staff. Given the societal and cultural aspects of the area, the Moyo Hill Camp was comparative to a five-star hotel.

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Mindalena
Female
21 years old
Sherman, Texas USA
Austin College

Rainforest Studies in Queensland, AU with School for Field Studies

9/10

In the fall of my sophomore year at my home institution I decided to study abroad; a little over a year later, I was stepping off of a plane in the Cairns, QU airport. I had never been outside of the US and I never studied ecology in a rainforest; so I felt incredibly excited, but also very intimidated by the prospect of navigating entirely new circumstances.
Immediately upon landing I met other students from the program as well as several members of the SFS staff. The atmosphere was welcoming and I found myself immediately connecting and trusting the other students and our staff members. This set the stage for a successful semester both academically and socially.
When people think of going abroad, typically a worry is whether the program is actually oriented toward academics. For me this was very important because I am a science student (biology major), and I needed to be able to come back with something on my resume. In my experience, the individual SFS courses are designed with science students in mind; although not incredibly challenging, they require a certain level of understanding of research and experience with biology and environmental studies classes. The program moves quickly and research is a large element of the experience; therefore I don't recommend the program to someone who is not at least an environmental studies minor.
Safety is usually people's next concern when going abroad; I never felt unsafe on my study abroad with SFS. Safety was an important part of the program because of the location (in a remote area with some of the most poisonous snakes/spiders/marine animals in the world) and there were protocols put in place on the first day which prevented any eventful things happening during my experience. Even while on spring break, when we were on our own, we still had one of our professors within 40 minute of our location, and had safety contact information with multiple members of staff. If safety is why you're not considering this program- think again; in situations where action could be taken to prevent injury/etc.. the SFS staff are fully prepared. As for something like a terrorist attack; these happen everyday all over the world- and this shouldn't deter you from choosing to study abroad.
Having talked about safety concerns and academics, I would like to express how much fun this program actually is! The experiences I had on this program are really irreplaceable in my mind. There is never a dull moment in the SFS AU program, and you will never find yourself 'looking for something to do'. Whether it is daily activities going on around the Centre or field trips to old abandoned mining towns and caves in the outback or several weekends exploring Cairns, there is something for everyone (really). One week you might be traveling around the Atherton Tablelands interviewing local residents, and the next week you could be attending a fruit-tasting in The Daintree (one of the largest pieces of untouched lowland rainforest in the world).
One of my most memorable experiences was Spring Break when I was able to diving on the Great Barrier Reef (very affordably) with several friends from the program. I realized while I was diving that I was actually experiencing something that I had previously only studied. It was inspiring and it made me more excited about pursuing my career in biology. Experiences like these that combine what you are studying with what your are actually experiencing are things you will never forget and can be invaluable toward shaping the future you want.
SFS AU allowed me to experience so many new things that I had only previously dreamed about. Yes, it is an academically challenging program, and working hard is expected; however, there are many fun experiences to be had, so much room for personal growth and improvement. This program will give you as much as you want; if you take full advantage of it, you will come out of this experience more mature, more open and receptive to different points of view, and with more stories than anyone wants to hear.

How can this program be improved?

- the program should be clearer on how it is oriented towards science majors/minors
-the program could be less scheduled to allow students more time studying (a big component of the program)
-class assignments could be spaced out a little more, rather than having them all due at once

group photo
Sean
Male

Straight Up Amazing

10/10

Before this program, I had only left the country once before, and that was to go to Montreal in Canada. I was a little nervous joining the program the to that, but my fears were groundless. This program was stunning in scenery, meticulous in safety preparations, and fascinating in class information.

The field trips were all worthwhile, and allow you to learn more about the culture and ecology of Peru (Andes, Amazon, and highlands) than most tourists could ever dream of. Additionally, it allows you to avoid the more touristy locations and find peace in some harder to reach locales. The program's itinerary is changeable though, as we found when half the program fell sick and could not make it to Manu Wildlife Center (arguably the highlight of the program). Even with this, though, the amount of information we learned and the amount that we traveled seemed unparalleled by any other programs I had researched.

I would hands down recommend SFS Peru for a study abroad program. I would recommend staying after to sightsee and let your hair down a bit, for rules are strictly enforced during the semester and spring break for safety purposes. And if possible, I would also come down early to get a deeper understanding of the language and the present culture too (for SFS lodging is in what may appear normal in the States but are palaces in terms of Peruvian standards of living).

I learned more during my semester with SFS than I had learned in the previous year in University, in addition to meeting and befriending many like-minded nature nuts and hiking pals. I hope that you have the same or better experiences!

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Emily
Female
Atlanta, GA
University of Georgia

SFS Wildlife Management Program

10/10

Choosing this study abroad program was hands down the best decision I made during my college career. It was such a unique experience and one that I felt perfectly encompassed what studying abroad is all about. While traveling and living in Tanzania undoubtedly pushed me out of my comfort zone, I could not speak more highly of the students, staff, and locals I had the pleasure of spending those 3.5 months with. The many relationships I developed with those people really made camp a home away from home and have continued even after the program. I was completely engrossed by the Tanzanian culture and way of life-- something I'm quite sure is just as unique as the country itself. Having the opportunity to learn Swahili and get exposure to a variety of cultures was truly an immersive experience that speaks to the many positives of this program.

Now of course, the wildlife this country had to offer was one of the main draws for me. The safari drives and overnight expeditions in and near the national parks were always something I looked forward to and will surely never forget. Each drive was a new experience, whether it was seeing new animals or scenery, or simply being with a different driver or group of students. There was also a great connection between class and lecture material with activities we did in the field (habitat assessment, species ID and behavioral observations, wildlife census techniques, etc.). And the best part was that fieldwork never felt like actual work--I mean how often do you get to ride around in open-top Jeeps collecting data on Tanzanian wildlife?!

I could go on and on about how absolutely amazing this program was. I can't say that I have one favorite memory or moment, because the program in its entirety was more than I ever expected it to be. I've missed the tiny village of Rhotia every day and know this country and its people forever have a special place in my heart.

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Cailey
Female
21 years old
United States
Stony Brook University

You Won't Regret Your Time Spent on South

10/10

Studying abroad in South Caicos was an absolutely life changing experience. From being surrounded and immersed by living in the beautiful Caribbean, to meeting lifelong friends, I would recommend anyone even remotely interested giving it a chance. Detached from the "real world" and not always glued to our phones or computers also put many of us in a position to really take time to develop personally, something I am forever grateful for. This coupled with a group of students and staff who feel like family, make the whole program entirely worthwhile. South Caicos stole my heart and I have no doubt I'll be back soon!

Program Listings

Tanzania

The School for Field Studies
The School for Field Studies (SFS) offers semester and summer programs for students interested in studying abroad in Tanzania...

Turks and Caicos Islands

The School for Field Studies
Spend next semester on the Turks and Caicos Islands with The School for Field Studies (SFS). Snorkeling and scuba diving in w...

Costa Rica

The School for Field Studies
Study abroad in Costa Rica next semester with The School for Field Studies (SFS)! The Sustainable Development Studies semeste...

Australia

The School for Field Studies
The School for Field Studies (SFS) invites you to come study abroad on the Tropical Rainforest Studies program in Australia....

Turks and Caicos Islands

The School for Field Studies
The School for Field Studies (SFS) offers an amazing chance to study abroad on the Turks and Caicos Islands in the summer. Th...

Cambodia

The School for Field Studies
Students in this program learn about the complexity of Cambodia’s struggle to balance biodiversity conservation and developme...

New Zealand

The School for Field Studies
The School for Field Studies (SFS) is excited to invite you on the Rainforest Management Studies and Research summer program...

Peru

The School for Field Studies
At the heart of this program are the conflicts and synergies of conservation and development in the north Peruvian Amazon reg...

Bhutan

The School for Field Studies
Bhutan is your classroom in this six-week program exploring culture, environmental issues, and rural livelihoods. Participate...

Panama

The School for Field Studies
This summer, immerse yourself in the incredible tropical ecosystems of the Bocas del Toro Archipelago while examining the hum...

Cambodia

The School for Field Studies
This summer, come and study elephants within a lush tropical wildlife sanctuary while exploring the livelihoods of the Bunong...

Tanzania

The School for Field Studies
The School for Field Studies (SFS) accepts applications year-round from enthusiastic individuals who are interested in becomi...

Bhutan

The School for Field Studies
In Bhutan—a Himalayan country with towering mountains, lush forests, and a distinct cultural heritage—progress is measured no...

Panama

The School for Field Studies
The School for Field Studies (SFS) hosts an exciting semester program in Panama: Tropical Island Biodiversity Studies. The pr...

Costa Rica

The School for Field Studies
The School for Field Studies (SFS) offers an exciting summer program in Atenas, Costa Rica. The Sustainable Development Studi...