College Preparatory Programs | Field Projects International

College Preparatory Programs

Good education is not what fills your head with facts but what stimulates curiosity. You then learn for the rest of your life.” – Neil de Grasse Tyson. 

Why Take This Program?

A love for science is a magical thing. At FPI, we strive to bring the opportunity to do science in threatened habitats to students in high schools because we believe that this experience can change lives. FPI originated as an organization that fostered long-term research on the ecology and evolutionary biology of several of the world’s most biodiverse tropical regions. Supporting primary research remains one of our most prominent foci today, and we leverage our active research programs to provide the highest quality travel-study opportunities in the fields of tropical field biology, conservation, and sustainable living. Students who take our programs will have opportunities to collect data for long-term investigations on topics ranging from primate health and social behaviour to the maintenance of plant and insect diversity. Additionally, all programs emphasize cultural immersion and exchange, since the formation of global partnerships is a necessary part of preserving our natural wildlife populations and resources. These lessons sink in quickly when you are taken out of your normal everyday life, and into locations where there is elevated biodiversity, but where human activities and nature are at steep odds.

General Information 

  • How It Works
  • Program Dates
  • Travel and Trip Preparation
  • Meet Our Staff
  • Academic Standards
  • Safety and Liability

Our study abroad programs for high school groups range in duration from 8 to 15 days and take place at biological field stations with ongoing research programs.

We make every effort to modify itineraries and activities in order to accommodate special lesson plans and areas of special interest to each group. Please don’t hesitate to inquire about program modifications.

Our staff are available months ahead of planned trips to discuss the details with a group liaison (usually the high school teacher that will be accompanying the class).

Our programs are dedicated to student groups from a single high school (or, in some cases, 2 or 3 partnering high schools). However, if you are interested in our programs and your school isn’t one of our partners, don’t worry – email us at and we can reach out to your high school personally.

All groups must be accompanied by at least one faculty member or administrator from the school. For every six students, one group leader may travel for free. We also strongly encourage the attendance of one student chaperone who is a parent or other well-known entity.

All groups will be accompanied by one or more experienced researchers, as necessitated by group size, who will meet the group at international exit/entry points and remain with them for the duration of the program.


All of our trips are 8 or 15 days in duration, and dates are flexible within the range specified for each program (see below). If a group is interested in one of our programs outside of the normal date range, please send an inquiry email to We are happy to consider exceptions on a case-by-case basis.

CountryPeruCosta RicaSouth IndiaZambia
Program AvailabilityYear-roundYear-roundNovember - MarchTBA


We can manage all arrangements for your group including domestic and international air travel, ground transportation, food and accommodation, field equipment, and instruction. Participants must have in their possession a passport with a minimum of 6 months validity remaining (How to apply for a US passport). Months prior to a trip, you will receive information on travel-related vaccinations.

You will also receive a detailed packing list and trip itinerary at least 2 months prior to departure. The most important items required for all programs, which FPI will not provide, are hiking backpacks, rain gear, water bottles, insect repellent, flashlights (torches), binoculars, cameras for personal use, and medication. In cases where student participants are unable to carry or handle their own medications, we will facilitate a medication management protocol in collaboration with the high school teacher and adult chaperone(s).


Program Administrators

Gideon Erkenswick

Ph.D in Biology, Co-founder of FPI and Senior Research Scientist

Research interests: Disease ecology, genetics, primate communities

Meet Gideon.

Mrinalini Watsa

Ph.D in Biological Anthropology, Co-founder and Senior Research Scientist

Research interests: Reproductive biology of primates, infant development

Meet Mini.

Program Outreach

Frances Humes

B.S. in Biology, Field Research Team Supervisor and Trip Leader

Research interests: Avian development, disease ecology, wildlife handling

Meet Frances.

Mary Brust

M.A. in Education, Trip Leader and Program Developer

Education interests: Science education, cultural immersion, handicrafts, wildlife biology

Meet Mary.


When a student submits work with their name on it, this is a written statement that credit for the work belongs to that student alone. If the work was a product of a collaboration, each student is expected to clearly acknowledge in writing all persons who contributed to its completion. Actions such as plagiarism, cheating, copying the work of others or collaborating on assignments without permission are grounds for penalty.

All courses will include clear grading rubrics agreed upon by teachers of the home institution, and students will receive regular and fair feedback of their progress during the course. Students are evaluated based on attendance, participation in activities, and any quizzes, exams, or assignments specific to each field trip.

Our programs engage students from vastly different academic and cultural backgrounds. Our underlying mission is to grow a public appreciation for – and understanding of – the world’s tropical ecosystems, and to foster leadership and engagement in conservation science.

The safety of our course participants and instructors is the highest concern on our programs. All of our trip leaders are required to have first-aid first-responder certification, and most have more advanced certifications including lifeguard training and wilderness responder training.

We require that all course participants follow the laws and code of conduct consistent with their home country and institutions. For example, students are not allowed to consume alcohol, even if they are of legal age in the country they are visiting. Also, tobacco use and all recreational drugs are explicitly prohibited under all circumstances.

FPI has emergency medical and evacuation protocols in place at all times during the program. All participants of legal age must sign FPIs assumption of personal risk and liability waiver, or have the appropriate legal guardians sign on their behalf.

Associated information is available in our Participant Manual provided after registration or available earlier upon request.


Summer – Fall – Winter – Spring

Fall – Winter 

Summer – Fall – Winter –  Spring


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