Past Review

By (Peace and Social Justice with a Concentration in Sustainability and Environmental Studies, Berea College) for

CEDEI: Cuenca - Semester in the Andes

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was, I learned many things but perhaps the most important was how much I enjoy my life, where I'm from and how important the people I love are to me.

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.

Most of my classes were very good, but one was not so I gave average scores.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff did not often challenge us to speak in spanish and were somewhat unprofessional at times. However, overall the staff was very friendly and helpful.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

A nice neighborhood <br /><br /> My family was wonderful, however I feel I could have had more of a cultural experience if I had lived with a lower class or even indigenous family.

* Food:

The food was excellent but it was difficult for me that my family did not have a big meal for dinner like I am accustomed to, however I enjoyed adjusting to this cultural difference.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I enjoyed the trips we took but they were much more like tourism trips than real cultural immersion. Perhaps splitting us up for trips would be good so that we wouldn't be such a huge pack of americans going everywhere, it's difficult to mingle with locals and experience culture when you travel like that.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Sexual safety could have been stressed more.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? A LOT. Much more than I would have liked. A lot of this was on food. Part of this was because my family did not eat a meal for dinner so I was often not full and would go out to eat.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Socializing was generally very expensive because people almost always went out.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 103
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

It improved primarily because of the classes, my ecuadorian friends and my family. Our program coordinators very rarely spoke to us in spanish which I think would have been difficult but very beneficial for us.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? This program was not the best for me because I would have liked more concentration in the things I am specifically interested in such as environmental and social justice and culture. But it was good for learning spanish and seeing the country.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

International Service Learning:Theory and Practice

Course Department: ISL 201
Instructor: Eugenio Jara
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: Very good, the actual service assignment could have been better but the class instruction and discussions were wonderful and helped me both with understanding service in ecuador and spanish.
Credit Transfer Issues: Initially I didn't get credit for this course because it was a pass/fail and had to follow up to make sure I did.
Course Name/Rating:

Intermediate Spanish

Course Department: SPA 201 and 202
Instructor: Fabiola Alban
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: Fabiola is a wonderful teacher and I learned a lot particularly since the class was taught entirely in spanish. I would have liked to have one other person in the class though to take some of the pressure off of me. Although it's very beneficial 2 hours of one on one attention almost every day is a lot.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Health Issues in Developing Countries

Course Department: SOC 380
Instructor: Margarita Cajas
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course was difficult because it was in english although the preferred language of the teacher was spanish. I believe it was very difficult for her to impart all of her knowledge on the subject or properally evaluate us because of the language barrier. However, I did enjoy the trips to the hospitals and clinics.
Credit Transfer Issues: