Student Testimonials

- Below are testimonies by international students about Bioitzá,and the supporting community of San Jose


learn | conserve| change  

I was blessed to spend a week at Bioitza over 3 years ago and there are very few days that my mind, to this day, doesn't reflect on that life-changing experience. Every memory is filled with the bright faces of those associated with Bioitza and the kindness, hospitality, and enthusiasm they showed to each member of our group. I am forever changed by the experience that challenged me to step outside of my small world here in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and experience someone else's. It was an experience that shaped my life and I would wholeheartedly encourage, and challenge, others to experience this amazing cultural immersion.


home stay families

The Bioitza program is great--the people take you into their school and offer you individualized discussion and input, but they also take you into their community and families as you stay in their homes. The staff was very friendly--very eager to offer information about their community, their history, and their cultural identity. We were able to participate in a wide range of activities, from dancing to Marimba music to learning about medicinal plants. All-in-all, San Jose is a great community, and Bioitza is a great place to be a student.


The people of the Bioitza program appeared to me as being positive and compassionate about preserving the culture and habitat of which they live. The ecosystem there is beautiful and while walking through it I felt Bioitza's true contribution to not only the wildlife preserves, but the community as well. This organization is a significant focal point of the community through raising awareness of the beautiful nature that surrounds them. The Bioitza program opened my eyes to the amazing plant and wildlife that surrounds them and our responsibility to help them keep their preserves from becoming nothing less.

- Joel



For me, BioItza provided a new perspective that has opened my eyes to the understanding of humanity as a whole. I felt passion, love, and heritage on entirely new levels. These people are working in community to preserve a culture that may be lost forever. The experience was humbling and caused me to reevaluate my own goals, values, and motivations. I stepped into BioItza knowing everything and stepped out realizing I didn't have a clue.

- Ashley


This January I look forward to taking my fourth group of college students to Bio-Itzá. I can’t imagine a better place to do what I am trying to do:

1. give my students a Spanish immersion experience in a fairly remote third world setting that feels friendly, tranquil, and safe, while at the same time remains largely unchanged by the outside world.

2. have my students experience relatively pristine tropical forests as well as forests that are being slashed, burned, poached, etc. (we do a fabulous three-day forest trek accompanied by guides from Bio-Itza and also stay at the Bio-Itza forest reserve to witness first-hand their incredible efforts to preserve this tropical forest in the face of so many outside pressures)

3. learn about and experience Mayan culture from the present day Mayan community at Bio-Itzá, and also explore the relatively untouched Mayan ruins at Bio-Itza’s forest reserve, as well as the fabulous nearby ruins of Tikal.

PLEASE contact me if you have questions or want input from me about a possible visit to Bio-Itzá

Craig Spencer, Professor of Biology, Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD. USA (

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last updated: 8/23/10