International Studies & Programs

Costa Rica reignites passion for wildlife

Having the opportunity to further my education in an amazing real-world setting, make connections with students who have similar interests, and learn from experts in the field far exceeded my expectations.

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Published: Wednesday, 01 Jun 2022 Author: Elizabeth Jackson

Elizabeth taking selfie with other students while riding in a vehicle through rainforestI am excited to share my experiences from my recent study abroad program in Costa Rica. The Ecology and Environmental Studies program was exactly what I needed at this point in my college career. After two years of disappointing shutdowns and cancelled plans, getting to go abroad and experience the biodiversity in this beautiful region has confirmed my interests and allowed me to refocus on my life goals. I have a passion for wildlife and environmental studies. Having the opportunity to further my education in an amazing real-world setting, make connections with students who have similar interests, and learn from experts in the field far exceeded my expectations.

Monkey laying on branch in rainforestPrior to my study abroad, I knew I wanted to work with wildlife but was unclear what options were available to me. While in Costa Rica, I was able to learn firsthand from my fellow students, instructors, and experts about career options and practical advice on next steps in my education and research. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to spend time with and get to know primatologist, Amy Schreier. Seeing her at work and learning about her career path has provided me direction and inspiration that would not have been possible in a traditional classroom.

Living and learning with other students who study Rainbow over lake/oceanscience as well has also been invaluable. Their personal experiences have opened my eyes to possibilities that I didn’t know existed. As a result, I have new goals for graduate studies and new friendships that will last a lifetime.

My time in Costa Rica will certainly help shape my future steps at MSU and beyond. I would highly recommend everyone steps away from campus to explore their dreams in the real world.

Name: Elizabeth Jackson
Status: Junior
Major: Environmental Biology/Zoology
Hometown: Trenton, Michigan
Program: Ecology and Environmental Studies in Costa Rica