Program: CIEE Tropical Ecology and Conservation in Costa Rica, Summer
Abby’s Major: Biology
Academic Life: This program was not a typical university experience. My schedule consisted of four classes: Tropical Biology, Humans in the Tropics, Spanish, and Independent Research. All classes were exclusively for students in the program. Because our professors and TAs were also the CIEE staff, they came with us on the field trips and ate most meals with us as well. This allowed us to form close relationships with our teachers, which would not normally be possible at a large university like UW-Madison. During the field trips we learned about different species through hikes and lectures at hotels, hostels, and even on boats. The academics for this program were rigorous and intense, but rewarding.
Most Memorable Moment: On our first field trip, we took a boat out to a nearby island and snorkeled off the shore. As a girl from Wisconsin, I had never had the opportunity to go snorkeling before and it was a truly amazing experience. It was definitely my favorite part of the program.
Fieldwork Experience: The fieldwork project for my program was an independent research project. I completed it in Monteverde, Costa Rica, where my program was based. I did research on a phenomena called nectar robbery where organisms steal nectar from flowers without pollinating them. I found various patches of specific flowers around Monteverde and collected nectar from them for two weeks, then summarized my findings.
Benefits of Study Abroad: Employers value diverse backgrounds and experiences. Additionally, study abroad is a great opportunity to learn a new language, which could make you a valuable asset to future employers.
“Study abroad is a perfect opportunity to diversity your portfolio and make you attractive for future jobs.”