Fun, Educational, Exciting Foray into Mexican Language and Culture Past Review

By (Urban Studies/Affairs., Trinity University) - abroad from 06/03/2012 to 06/30/2012 with

Central College Abroad: Merida - Studies in Global Health in the Yucatan

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot about myself because I was able to be in a new place with people who had no preconceived notions about who I was. For that reason, I was able to try a lot of things that I normally wouldn't. It was absolutely worthwhile and, honestly, probably the best month of my life.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I had a very helpful prof and lots of individual attention, but there was a little less class time and course intensity than I expected. In most people's cases, though, the homestay component probably made up for that.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program director was extremely organized, so our excursions were educational and went very smoothly.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Both the homestay and Central College house were really nice.

* Food:

Basically everything I ate in Mexico was awesome.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Merida is incredibly safe, so my only advice would be that students be aware of that and not let fear for safety inhibit any potential new experiences.

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)

Mexico is nice in this way because things are so much cheaper there. I feel like the program costs could have been a little lower if we hadn't had all the fancy tour buses/guides, but it's hard to be sure the excursions would have gone as smoothly that way.

* 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? Maybe $10 -- not much.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Find and go to the bars/restaurants/clubs that are having special promotions that night. It makes a big difference sometimes.


* 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

Though the program was supposedly focused on language, the students were together a lot and we only spoke English to one another, so realistically there wasn't a ton of Spanish practice unless people were in homestays.

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.
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? Live with a host family (preferably not a bilingual one--that was my problem), make local friends, and get away from other program participants as much as possible within the limitations of your program.

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

  • Other
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?
  • the other students and the language partners they set up for us
  • the program schedule (courses/excursions)
  • homestay
* What could be improved?
  • maybe a little more intensive language
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Most of the shopping and worrying I did ahead of time was unnecessary.