A learning experience. Past Review

By (International Studies, Arcadia University) - abroad from 01/13/2014 to 05/04/2014 with

IFSA/Alliance: Varanasi - The City, The River, The Sacred

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned so much more than I have ever learned from a semester at school. My experience helped me face things I never thought I could or would.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

We were able to have professors come to us at a program house close to all our home-stays. Internet was available.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The directors of the program are some of the kindest people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. I felt like my directors were mentors, friends and family all in one.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was very satisfied with my host family. Living with a family in their home helped me truly get a sense for the culture.

* Food:

Spicy & delicious.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

At times it is difficult to really be part of the culture. You are still American and have many different perspectives even if you want to fit in you shouldn't feel offended if you don't. Find things in the city you love to do, and you will surly meet the right people.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I have a weak immune system, but my hospital visits were just another aspect of culture I got to experience. And I did eventually feel better

* Safety:

The safety advise we were given in the orientation helped a lot. You will make mistakes, but just be mindful.

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 cost of living is very inexpensive. I spent about $1,300 in about four months.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $10-$50
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Keep track of what you spend, and make sure you know how you will get it home. Shipping is very expensive.


* 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

I used Hindi everyday.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? none in hindi
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Try and learn the alphabet, or at least recognize the symbols before you go. Practice everyday. For me it was one of the best parts of the experience.

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?
  • Simplicity
  • Host families
  • Hindi speaking
* What could be improved?
  • Integration with Indian students
  • More time to explore before dark
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Everything happens for a reason. Do get too caught up in any one moment, things will change and you are strong enough to handle it.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Beginning Hindi

Course Department: language
Instructor: Binit
Instruction Language: Hindi
Comments: This course was challenging, but so beneficial to the overall experience. With out learning some Hindi cultural integration would've been much harder.
Credit Transfer Issues: