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Osa Peninsula Conservation Program
Ruby Mountain Data Collection Along the Ridgeline Ruby Mountain Data Collection Along the Ridgeline

Osa Peninsula Conservation Program

Overall Rating

2/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    1

  • Program Administration

    5

  • Health & Safety

    1

  • Community

    N/A

Concerns

I am writing this as a parent of a student who participated in the Osa Peninsula program. I give high marks for the quality of the two teachers who were there, and also for the planning of the program. I believe that it should be known that some of the "cultural activities" that students are exposed to involve going to bars. The first time that the group did this, which was on the first whole night that the group was there, it seemed like an odd choice to me, but as my child is not much of a drinker, I didn't think much about it, except to wonder about students who did tend to drink too much, or who were trying to avoid alcohol environments. Anyway, the next week the group was taken to another bar and when some of the group started heavier drinking, my son joined in. From what I understand, he did not drink more than some of the members of the group, but became so incapacitated that they had to load him into the back of a cab to get him back to the campsite because he could not walk. As the largest member of the group, he should have not been so significantly more intoxicated than the rest from alcohol consumption. The next day he still had a hard time walking and with fine motor skills, like opening a water bottle, and the possibility exists that one of his drinks was drugged, which, as we all know, does happen. We will never know if this was the case, but from what I understand, he was not consistently monitored for alcohol toxicity, which can be fatal, although he clearly had symptoms of it. He survived it, and I was hoping that Round River would have learned a lesson as my son did, but when I wrote suggesting that they leave partying out of their cultural activities, I was told basically that although they would review their policies, part of the Round River experience was to expose students to cultural activities, by which they appeared to mean taking kids to bars. It makes me sad that this close call did not open any eyes, and I hope that no other student suffers as a result.

  • Round River Conservation Studies responded to this review May 22, 2018 at 11:37 AM

    There is nothing more important to Round River than the health and safety of our students. While we aim to avoid alcohol consumption on all of our programs, it is allowed as per our “responsible moderation” alcohol policy, which allows students to drink in moderation when culturally appropriate, provided they are of legal drinking age, as in this case. Alcohol-related incidents are exceptionally rare; however, when a student demonstrates behavior that is risky or unsafe, or in violation of one of our policies, as in this case, we are obligated to dismiss that student. This was the first alcohol-related dismissal in the 25 year history of Round River student programs.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

An amazing experience of biodiversity

I learned an incredible amount about both the biology and culture of the Osa Peninsula on this trip. We got to see amazing wildlife every day at our campsite and the field experience that I gained will be incredibly valuable to me as I pursue a career in conservation. The people that we worked with on the program were also great! The instructors were really knowledgeable about the area and we also got to meet a lot of really cool and diverse local people. I improved my Spanish language skills a lot during my semester as well. This is a great program for anyone who is interested in wildlife and conservation and who is looking to make some great memories while having a unique and adventurous study abroad experience!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Jungle living, field studying, immersive study abroad

The opportunity to become immersed in the jungle was incredible. I left knowing dozens of birds by call and over a hundred by sight. I learned more about plants and native animals than I thought I would. Class schedule and structure was also awesome and flexible because of our small group size.