SUMMER 2020 UPDATE: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, SFS has cancelled this and all other programs for Summer 2020. Students are welcome to apply now for next year’s Summer 2021 program.
Rainforests are shrinking, but hope is not lost. In this two-country program, you’ll study abroad in Australia and New Zealand and learn how environmental and social factors have contributed to forest fragmentation in spectacular, once-vast rainforests. Travel between the two countries to compare endangered species management practices, Indigenous communities’ natural resource use and relationships with the environment, and different approaches to ecosystem restoration.
Learn about the Māori people’s connection with nature as you explore the ancient podocarp and Kauri forests of northern New Zealand which contain trees estimated to be more than 2,000 years old
Program Costs & Financial Aid
Meet Your Admissions Counselor
SFS provides a comprehensive study abroad experience during a 6-day/week program schedule. SFS delivers the highest level of support and an unparalleled academic experience.
All students are welcome to apply for our need-based financial aid. Students who exhibit financial need for their program will be offered SFS financial aid. SFS aid is offered through a combination of scholarships, grants and loans.
Pell Grant Match
SFS matches Federal Pell Grant funding for students applying to an SFS semester program.
Many SFS students receive aid through their home institutions or other outside sources, so check with your financial aid office to see what aid may apply to an SFS program.
Amber grew up on a small family farm in Prairie Farm, Wisconsin. She attended Boston University and earned a degree in Environmental Analysis and Policy. She learned to love the natural world early in life and during her time at BU she studied abroad twice, once in Grenoble, France and once with SFS in Atenas, Costa Rica in 2012.
She was lucky enough to work on two Directed Research projects during her time with SFS in Costa Rica. One to contribute to an ecological assessment of the impacts of hummingbird feeders on pollination networks in Cloud Forests in Monteverde and another studying the impacts of trafficked roads bisecting or bordering the forest of Carara National Park.
During her career she has worked in student leadership development, run community organizing efforts, and spent time on several small farms (including her family farm in the Midwest) rediscovering her agricultural roots. She returned to SFS as an Admissions Counselor in 2015. Her experience in the field and abroad was transformative and she is delighted to have the opportunity to work to support students through the admissions and pre-departure process and share her experience with the next generation!
In her free time, she loves to cook, bake, hike, read, play ukulele, pet dogs, see live music, and be outside.
Itinerary varies from term to term and is subject to change. Program activities generally take place 6 days a week.
Week 1: Welcome to Australia! Move into cabins, meet roommates, and attend program orientation. Classes begin with lectures on rainforests, fauna, and conservation strategies. Travel to New Zealand: Visit the Whangarei Native Bird Recovery Centre, a traditional marae, and hike in Wenderholm Regional Park.
Week 2: Cultural performance at Waitangi Treaty House. Visit Ruapekapeka Pā. Field lectures during Kauri forest walk. Participate in a community restoration project. Excursion to Tiritiri Matangi Island, a wildlife sanctuary, with field lectures on endangered species, restoration, and community support. New Zealand debrief discussion and free day and night in Auckland.
Week 3: Return to Australia. Lectures on environmental threats, conservation strategies, and restoration ecology. Visit Peterson Creek Corridor to study forest restoration. Excursion to Mandingalbay Yidinji (MY) country to learn about the Indigenous MY people’s approach to conservation. Tree planting with a local conservation group and visit to Yungaburra Markets.
Week 4: Lecture on impacts of roads on ecological health. Overnight excursion to Daintree National Park, staying in an eco-lodge in the rainforest. Visit Daintree Discovery Centre, Cape Tribulation fruit farm, Mossman Gorge, with field lectures on climate change impacts in the forest, conflicts in conservation, and agricultural forest products. Group presentations and final exam. Free day in Cairns. Re-entry exercises and cabin cleanup. Farewell “magical mystery tour” of the area. Head home.
This academically rigorous program follows a six-day/week schedule. The interdisciplinary curriculum is designed to help students actively discover and understand the complexities of environmental, social, and economic issues in Australia and New Zealand.
Major academic themes include:
Natural resource management
Threatened species conservation
Human development impacts
Indigenous knowledge and histories
On the Rainforests of New Zealand and Australia program, you will take one 4-credit course. This course is participatory in nature and is designed to foster inquiry and active learning combining lectures, field exercises, assignments, and tests. This course is taught in English.
Click on the course to view a description and download the syllabus
This course compares and contrasts the ecological, geographic, social, economic, and historical factors that have shaped natural resource management in Australia and New Zealand. Students gain an understanding of the drivers of species extinctions and current conservation problems including management of endangered species. In both countries, students examine the influence of fragmentation on abiotic and biotic attributes of forest communities during field exercises, and identify management techniques with regard to biological systems, national boundaries, and political structures.
You will gain practical skills in the field such as: GIS use and applications, species identification and population monitoring, forest survey methods, and quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis.
You will visit different ecosystems and communities which may include primary/old-growth rainforests, Indigenous protected areas, podocarp and Kauri forests of northern New Zealand, rainforest restoration projects, fruit farms and other agricultural sites, and an eco-lodge in the rainforest.
Take back-to-back summer sessions and get the hands-on learning and skill-building experiences of an internship, while also going off the beaten path and exploring the world. Each summer session focuses on a different topic, and you’ll have time to travel independently between sessions. Receive a $1,000 discount on your second session (effective for Summer 2020).
RECOMMENDED PROGRAM COMBO
Watersheds of the Wet Tropics (Australia Summer II)
In Australia, at the end of a narrow, winding road, in the middle of a lush rainforest, lies the field station, a 153-acre property surrounded by protected World Heritage forests and the nearby town of Yungaburra 20 minutes away. For the New Zealand expedition, the group will stay in a variety of housing including a city-based hostel in Auckland, a traditional Māori marae, and area lodges. The Australia Center is described below:
Group living in 8-person cabins
Main building with classroom, lab, and study spaces