Past Review

By (None, New Mexico State University) for

Academia Latinoamericana de Espanol: Sucre - Academia Latinoamericana Center

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My academic interests and future plans haven´t changed, but I have lived abroad previously, so I knew what I was getting into. I have really enjoyed South America, and I hope to come back for a longer period in the future.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: New Mexico State University
How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I had three different teachers, one each week. My first two teachers, Lili and Maria Elena, were fantastic. They made sure everyone talked, were good at answering questions entirely in Spanish, and had interesting activities that filled the days. They seemed genuinely interested in the learning process, and also in the students. They taught a lot about the local culture, which was fun. The third teacher, Henry, was much less interested in teaching, and it really impacted the class. He liked to talk about politics and weird topics like the afterlife and deja vu, but seemed entirely uninterested in what the students said, so it was less of a discussion than a lecture. He had very few planned activities, and the ones he did plan were so boring -he- nearly fell asleep. I was glad I had three different teachers, so I didn´t think all of the Academia was that bad. Even with Henry teaching, and certainly with Lili and Maria Elena, the classes were far superior in amount learned than American classes could be. There were only two to three students in my classes (max four allowed, but I never had four in a class), so students had the opportunity to talk more, and the immersion experience continuing outside of class was invaluable.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration really botched the credit thing, which was my main problem. I didn´t like the attitude of the Director, either - he seemed like he was mostly just interested in selling students more tours, etc. The staff (teachers) were mostly pretty good, and I liked the size, but overall the administration was uninspiring.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My family was fantastic, as I´ve already described.

* Food:

Great local food, but the locals really need to up their veggie intake. The family went out of their way to make local specialty dishes, and the one time I didn´t feel well, they knew exactly what to feed me. But I did miss vegetables...

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The program advertises more than they actually do, but that may be because the bad economy has cut their number of students... Salsa class only happened once in three weeks, but the one time was great.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Sucre is very safe, and the school and family did a good job of explaining where was good and where wasn´t, although the school overdid the fear factor a bit. I didn´t have any big health problems.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* 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)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Look up costs before you go. It´s pretty easy to do.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

Almost no one in Sucre, Bolivia speaks English, it seems. The only people I could speak English with were other students. The teachers only spoke Spanish with us, my homestay family didn´t know any English, and everywhere I went I spoke Spanish. It was less intimidating than it sounds - if you´re giving any effort, people will help you out. My homestay family was fantastic that way, as well - they really tried to help me practice.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Don´t bother trying for university credit. Just take the Spanish language classes in South America for language - take a dumb online class for credit. They shouldn´t be mutually exclusive, but getting credit for immersion classes is too complicated to be worth it.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Intermediate Spanish 1

Course Department: Spn 211
Instructor: Dr. Longwell (NMSU); Lili, Maria Elena, and Henry, Academia Latinoamericana
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: See previous information.
Credit Transfer Issues: YES. There was apparently no communication among the Academia staff, so no one in Sucre knew that I needed credit, and they didn´t believe me when I told them. I originally enrolled for the Spn 211 class through Academia Latinoamericana, and for three credits through NMSU. When I arrived in Sucre, I was put into a regular "intensive" course, because the administration of the Academia in Sucre had apparently not been informed that I needed credit. I tried to ask if this was okay, but the communication with the Academia staff was difficult due to my lack of Spanish speaking skills, and I was told that everything would be okay. I tried to ask the NMSU staff, but got a response only from someone who didn´t know what to do, and was told again that everything would be fine and that the person who did know what to do would contact me, which he did not. So I figured that everything would be fine, took my classes at the Academia, wrote my quizzes and cultural diary for NMSU, and lived with my homestay family. On my last day at the Academia, just over a week ago, I asked the assistant director at the Academia to forward my official evaluation to NMSU, and she was surprised that I needed credit and said I had not been in the correct class. She said she would call NMSU and other Academia staff and figure it out, then email us, but we never got an email from her. After a week of waiting, I emailed everyone involved, which got me the same response from multiple people - of course I would get the credit, and the misunderstanding was someone else´s fault. If I had to do it again, there is no way that I would try to get university credits through study abroad again.