Global Perspective

What I’m Doing This Summer: Gabriel Baruzzi ’27

Part of a series on USF students

by Evan Elliot, USF News

He talks about cloud forests, soccer, endangered species, and the importance of study abroad.

What are you doing this summer?

I went on a two-week summer immersion in Costa Rica. We learned all about the ecology of different ecosystems. We went from coral reefs and estuaries to lowland jungles and cloud forests in high altitudes, and learned about the relationships between organisms in all these different locations. We had access to places that we wouldn't have had otherwise, such as research stations and experiences with indigenous communities. We did so many different activities in nature such as birding in the morning, long hikes through the forest, and rainforest walks at night.

Who led the immersion?

James Sykes and Sevan Suni. They were amazing. They taught us so much about these ecosystems in such a short time. They were the perfect balance between having fun and being informative.


So many. Here’s two. One day in Cahuita, on the coast, I was wearing a jersey from the Spanish national soccer team, and this little kid, about 7 years old, came up to me and started speaking Spanish and since I speak Spanish, we started bonding over soccer. He told me he didn't have enough money to buy a soccer ball and really wanted one, which was a moment where I really recognized my privilege. I felt bad for this kid because soccer has played a huge role in my life and I couldn't imagine a kid can’t buy a soccer ball. So my friends and I put together some money and gave him money to buy a ball. He was so happy and his family thanked me many times.

Another highlight was the cloud forest. It’s truly a surreal experience. You're surrounded by dense vegetation and noises, mainly bird sounds, and it feels like another world. We saw an endangered bird, two of them. They’re called quetzals. Their habitat is shrinking due to global warming and other human disturbances. It was amazing to actually see these birds. Seeing this pristine nature and the beauty that it holds makes you want to protect it. Being there in Costa Rica and seeing it all firsthand, you really get this sense of responsibility to help the world.

What’s your major?

Undeclared business — most likely I’ll major in business analytics, and I have a minor in environmental science. Some people are shocked that I’m doing business plus the environment; apparently it’s rare to mix the two. But I think business can be approached in a sustainable way, and it should be.

What’s your advice to other students?

Go on an immersion! There's study abroad for everyone. It's available. It's extremely important to take on these new experiences and be exposed to new cultures. Apply. You can be nervous. It may be daunting at first, but it is so worth it. It's one of the greatest experiences of my life. I'm definitely looking forward to applying to more scholarships and to study abroad.