Why You Study Abroad as an Environmental Major

I was trying to get this done before we
left on the field trip, but clearly failed.  Everything got pretty
busy and I didn’t have time to sit down with the internet and write
it.  As it is right now I am actually typing it up on my computer
first and then will have to post it on the internet once we have
internet again.  We are currently in Nicaragua.

Exactly what it looks like!

So two Fridays ago we had our arthropod
lecture, which was awesome mostly because we got to go hunting for
tarantulas hunting afterward. The best part was finding one! I was
the first one to pick it up and it crawled onto my back, then my
teacher took it off and we switched around holding it.  It was
approximately the size of my hand the skin was a soft velvitene with
some other hair on it. In addition, we have also held throughout the
trip an elephant beetle, cultivated shrimp, the tarantula, and a baby
boa constrictor.  The baby boa constrictor happened when a small
group of us were walking down the sidewalk and a guy approached us
holding a baby snake.  He asked us if we wanted to hold it and I said
yes and it was amazing how muscular its small slender body was!
Ultimately the hands on experience (literally) is why every
environmental major should study abroad.

Last week I finished my internship project.  On Wednesday the signs had finally dried and Minor and another volunteer and I went and posted all the signs.  All fifteen of them are posted and it was one of the most satisfying culmination of my project in my life.  It was great to be able to see a physical product, because I found that after my last capstone project (final senior project) for my environmental studies degree was lacking at the end.  I created twenty different documents for a nonprofit called Pacific Bamboo Resources about everything you could ever want to know about Bamboo.  I felt a sense of relief after the project was over and that I had completed it on time and was proud of the
products…but in that order.  Finishing the signs and seeing them up

All the finished signs loaded after finally drying to be put up on time!

I know that they are going to make a difference for the organization,
I know they are going to get used, and I know that my project was
ultimately a success.  There is a lot more that needs to be done to
build the capacity and potential of the Monteverde Conservation
League and the Chilren’s Eternal Rainforest, however I believe I have
laid a substantial foundation for them to move forward.

I have begun exploring options for after this program ends, specifically for returning to Costa Rica for either volunteering or work.  I have reached out to the women that was offering the other internship that I was interested in and she has responded saying there are projects.  We are going to set up a meeting when I return to Monteverde to discuss potential projects for January or so.  I have also talked to Karen, our primary professor here, about the potential of being their Teacher Assistant next semester if they have 20 students again (then they have two).  She said that she will consider it and whatever needs to happen will happen.  Though I think being a TA would be a very interesting and
new challenge for me.  I am partially really interested in the way
that the program gives back to the communities.  For example when we
visited Isle de Chira one way of giving back to the local community
they bought a bunch of napkin holders from a local artisan (makes
them out of ghords) to donate to the biological station area we
stayed at.  It would be interesting to see the staff side of the
study abroad and how she organizes it, because no matter what future
I take I imagine I may want to reach out to the communities around
me.  Educational is an essential part to anything, but especially for
environmental causes.

Leaving for field trip was exciting and sad at the same time.  It is great so far, but I really enjoy my familietica and am saddened that my time with them is getting closer to a close.  Even if I come back I will be living somewhere else, because as much as I enjoy them I also miss the independence of living on your own- after four years it is something you get used to.  Which reminds me- I made my hermanatica very happy on her birthday last week.  She is obsessed with Twilight and I bought her the book in English.  She gave me a huge hug after I gave it to her and didn’t event wait till her friends went home to start reading it.  I am
wondering if she will have already finished it by the time that I get
back from the two week field trip.