Time of my life in the rainforest!

Academics: 7
Support: 10
Fun: 10
Housing: 9
Safety: 10

I had the best time in Australia. Definitely one of the best things I've done with my life this far. Living in the rainforest, doing field ecology with twenty-something of the best college kids I can imagine was just great. I learned so much, academically and personally through this program. They keep you busy with projects and community work and everything, but some of the best times I had involved sitting in the rainforest, just soaking it all in with some of my friends.

Living situation is very rustic, you're very isolated. I loved that, as did almost everyone on my program, but that's definitely something that you should be sure you want before you go. It's not going to be your typical study abroad program. We had a TON of fun, but if you want to be going out a lot and meeting tons of Australian college students, this is NOT the program for you. Yungaburra is a tiny little town, which is nice because everyone gets to know you and you can get to know them, but you are isolated. The interns try to counter that by taking us on trips around the area on weekends.

Academics are generally good. I didn't find the initial three classes too strenuous, but they were definitely intersting and I learned a lot about the rainforest I was living in. Directed research is the main thrust of the program. As the Center Director told us, getting us through the DR portion of the program is their main goal. And DRs are crazy! You get to design your own research project and do it for a month. It culminates with a massive paper, a fifteen minute powerpoint presentation and a poster. By the time that's all done, you're going to need to sleep for a week! But it's incredibly rewarding to be able to do a whole project like that on your own.

Overall, I had an amazing time and miss it terribly. I loved all the people I went with, and we're doing a pretty good job keeping in touch! I would definitely recommend the program, but while emphasizing that it wouldn't be right for a whole lot of people. You have to really want to live in the rainforest for a semester!

Would you recommend this program?
Yes, I would