Pura Vida!

One of my most life-changing experiences in college thus far has been studying abroad. Even though it was only for a week over spring break, it completely reshaped what I thought about international ecology. Coming into my second semester sophomore year, I still had yet to figure out what I wanted to do with my career. I knew I wanted to go into the environmental science field, but that’s pretty broad. So, when I decided to go to Costa Rica for a week in March of 2017, I didn’t expect to find what I wasn’t looking for.

The topic of the week long, 2-credit course taught by Dr. Goforth and Dr. Dunning (both professors are in the Forestry and Natural Resources Department) was titled Tropical Biology Practicum. While it did focus a lot on wildlife ecology and biology in the tropics, I came out of it with a different point of view than most. We spent the week whitewater rafting, bird watching, touring cocoa plantations, trying native foods, snorkeling, and hiking. A lot of hiking. Through that experience, I figured out that I want to pursue a career in sustainable environments. Even though the activities we participated in didn’t directly correlate with this, traveling around Costa Rica showed me how easy it is to design buildings and homes that are eco-friendly without sacrificing cost and aesthetics. Additionally, being in a foreign country for the first time allowed me to see that I want to pursue this career on an international scale.

All in all, I highly encourage everyone to study abroad at least once in their college career. It was extremely easy to apply and be accepted into the program, and the total cost was definitely feasible, especially because all College of Agriculture students receive scholarships to study abroad. There are programs for everyone’s interest, and can range from a week long, like I did, to an entire semester in another country, which I plan to do my senior year in New Zealand. I learned so much while studying abroad and it completely changed my outlook on my career. I would definitely look into it once you get to Purdue. Boiler Up!


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