Major: Environmental Studies
Home School: Macalester College
OTS Program: Tropical Biology in Costa Rica
Marty is an Environmental Studies major at Macalester College, MN. He is passionate about ecology and was looking for a program in which he could put theory into practice in the field. This led him to Costa Rica and the Tropical Biology in Costa Rica Summer Course. During his time in Costa Rica, Marty was able to not only have some amazing field experiences, but he was also able to test and improve his Spanish language skills, explore the country, and even do some birding!
Marty is very excited to be able to share his experiences from the Tropical Biology Course with future students!
“I was curious how I would like this kind of scientific work since I didn’t have much experience with it before. Come to find out, I loved it! “
I decided to do the OTS program because I am super interested in ecology, and I wanted to get a feel for real fieldwork and hands-on experience. I was curious how I would like this kind of scientific work since I didn’t have much experience with it before. Come to find out, I loved it!
One of the most memorable moments (it’s soo hard to choose though!) was when a spider monkey crossed the bridge at La Selva just as we were crossing! It was amazing to see it up close and to watch it jump and swing away through the trees afterward. I’ll never forget it!
Be ready to work hard and dive into the activities. It’s going to be busy, but take advantage of every opportunity to get to know your fellow coursemates and the places you are staying. Also, if you have any experience with Spanish at all, this can be a great course to practice! People are so friendly and there are plenty of opportunities to meet someone new.
I studied antlions, an insect that builds a sand trap to catch ants that are passing by. I was able to find a correlation between the size of the antlion and the success it would have in catching the ant. This may have involved lots of hours of dropping in ants and watching what happened, but I had a lot of fun and learned a lot!
Bring binoculars and a camera! The birds are amazing, and the other wildlife is incredible too. Also if possible, take a few days or a week at the end of your time to explore Costa Rica a bit more, maybe with friends you met on the course! This worked great for me!