This is a great program for anyone looking to further their Spanish and learn a lot about biology, ecology, geology, and natural sciences while spending lots of time outdoors. The program is very structured and intensive but this is what makes it so rewarding. The academics are interesting, challenging, and supported by real experiences in the field. You will travel to a number of amazing locations including the Galapagos, Amazon, páramo, and cloud forest. While the program itself is heavily oriented towards science and conservation you will also learn about culture through school and through your host families. One of the aspects of this program that makes it so unique is the independent study project. This was also one of the things I was most nervous about, but you will feel prepared and confident with the help of professors and staff. Students use this opportunity to study a topic of interest, practice research techniques, build their resume, gain field experience, do their senior thesis, and have an independent and immersive experience.
Do not expect to have a ton of free time. The days in the city are spent in class and nights spent with your host family. Excursions are spaced about a week apart. This allows you time to reflect on the last trip, prepare for the next, and have time to explore the city.
This is by no means an easy study abroad program academically or culturally. However if you are open-minded and passionate about ecology and conservation this will be an amazing and worthwhile experience. There are many people both in and out of the program that are kind, helpful, and excited to share their culture with you. One things this program really stresses is how to be a conscious and respectful student abroad. Overall, this is amazing experience and you will learn so much personally and academically!