Fun with a few things to watch out for! Past Review

By (SUNY - Binghamton) - abroad from 05/19/2012 to 06/09/2012 with

Academia Latinoamericana de Espanol: Cusco - Academia Latinoamericana Center

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I re-learned some of my spanish that has been lost over the years as well as a lot about life in Cusco and surrounding areas. One of my favorite things to do was shop and visit the markets. I enjoyed trying all the new fruits and vegetables available there. I also met a variety of great people along the way!

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I liked the teachers at La Academia and all of the students were very nice. I also enjoyed the small class size, however, I feel that the structure was a bit inconsistent and confusing and the way that participation was accounted for made it harder for me (as a shy student) to do well.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I really liked a lot of the administration, however, there was a lot of confusion and disorganization involved with many aspects of the trip. Luckily the staff was willing to put in the effort to help but it still seemed disorganized.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved my host family and home but it was constantly FREEZING (even the showers were cold a lot of the time). Other than that the only thing that I think could've made it more comfortable was internet access, but that said, the housing was lovely!

* Food:

Wonderful food! As a vegetarian, my host family was very accommodating (and even bought soy products for me). Almost everything I tried in Cuzco was delicious!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I was very sick during my second week with a nasty virus. Each day I came in feeling sick and finally one day I got sent home to rest but this involved communicating with a number of people and I heard something different each time but in the end I got sent home during our break. I heard less fortunate stories from other students though.

* Safety:

I never found myself in any particularly dangerous situations but a few people I knew had others attempt to steal their purses. It's also important to watch where you walk in Cusco (some parts of town had giant holes in the ground that one could easily walk/fall into).

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

The food and personal expenses could be minimal, but once you add in the souvenirs that loved ones back home expect to receive, excursions that are not included in the program, and going out for dinner with friends (as well as possible taxi fares depending on how far the host home is) the expenses shoot up!

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? Yes
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? ~$135
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Gain some haggling skills- don't pay the first price offered by merchants. It is important to be able to say "no" to persistent salespeople and decide cab fares beforehand.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? AP Spanish in High School
How many hours per day did you use the language?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Host family hospitality
  • The archaeological sites and other activities offered
  • The people I met while participating in the program
* What could be improved?
  • The organization of the program/communication amongst administration
  • Preparation for the program
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That, despite the fact that the temperature is in the 60s (fahrenheit), when indoors or in the shade, it is still VERY cold in Cusco.