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Izzy Weisz

Marketing Manager at Go Overseas

Member for

1 year

Izzy is from Santa Cruz, California and likes to spend as much time as possible in or around the ocean. Her favorite activities include urban hiking, eating fruit, and camping in the redwoods. While at Pitzer College, Izzy spent a semester studying abroad in Costa Rica.

Want to travel with Izzy this year? Send her an email: [email protected]

Pitzer College
Izzy Weisz Go Overseas Headshot

The week I spent with All Out Africa in Swaziland was truly an eye-opening experience. I hadn't even heard of The Kingdom of Swaziland before 2018, let alone what day-to-day life there is like, or the challenges the country faces. I had no idea what to expect, but that turned out to be completely OK. All Out ushered me through a week of adventuring (camping in Kruger National Park was one for the books), volunteering (learning the role of volunteers and how much the community benefits from the work reminded me of the impact of community-based programs), and expanding my horizons. While the volunteer group was comprised almost entirely of 17-20 year old Dutch and German girls, talking to them about why they were there revealed an investment in their work and a deep caring for the kids they saw each morning. And it was instantaneously clear how much the kids (mostly 5 and 6 year olds) loved the time they spent with the volunteers, too.

My takeaways from the trip include, but are definitely not limited to:
- Volunteering with a group that's lead by a community-based program is the best way to both understand the culture, and make a difference
- International travel is so, so important
- The mountains of Swaziland are highly underrated
- I must go back

Yes, I recommend this program
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The Pitzer in Costa Rica program -- where do I even start! The semester is broken up into two sections; for the first month, the group lives in San Jose (the capital) and goes to school with other international students. My group was 22 people, and about half were specifically on the Pitzer program. We all had homestays near the school. San Jose is smoggy and not particularly culturally rich, but the Spanish classes are good and you spend a week in Nicaragua. That was definitely a highlight. After the month in San Jose, the Pitzer students have a week of "Fall Break" in Panama, staying at a few different places in Bocas del Toro on the Caribbean, snorkling around, and having an absolute ball. Another highlight. We then went to the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and were placed in new homestays. Students go to "school" at an ecological reserve, and have a new teacher each week. The families you live with all live along a highway, about 45 minutes up above Dominical (a beach town) in the rainforest. The families are PHENOMENAL. Truly the best people. I was unaware of how remote the living situation would be, and felt isolated. You spend the majority if the time either at school or, particularly when during the last 6 weeks you have an independent project, with your family. There aren't many options for social interaction because getting anywhere is difficult. Barely anything is in walking distance, and the public transportation is weak. The bottom line is: this program is great for environmental majors as you get more than a semesters worth while abroad, and great for Spanish. The homestays are a blessing and a curse, because you feel truly immersed but don't have much of a choice in terms of how you spend your time and with whom. If you have a good group of fellow Pitzer students with you, you're set. But you don't find out who else is doing the program until after you've signed up. Pitzer strongarms you into choosing a program that they run, because they want the money of course, and also doesn't disclose the group or many of the details. All in all, I had a transformative experience and wouldn't trade it for the world, but I have a bone to pick with how Pitzer handles the abroad process.

Yes, I recommend this program
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