What a beautiful and friendly place to live and study in! Past Review

By (Texas Lutheran University) - abroad from 06/04/0016 to 07/16/0016 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 more about the Mayan and Yucatan culture, spanish, health care in a foreign country, and how to adapt to a new and different environment. Overall, my experience abroad was totally worthwhile.

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.

Studying abroad in the Yucatan was a great educational experience for me. The two classes I took were advanced spanish and health care in the Yucatan. My spanish class was very difficult because the professor constantly challenged me to listen and speak the language. Although it was overwhelming at times, I am so grateful that I took the class because I improved my spanish speaking and listening skills. My health care class was an easier class that mainly focused on health care programs, diseases, and problems in the Yucatan. Overall, the professors were great and the workload was the right amount. During my last 2 weeks of the program, I shadowed multiple health care professionals in local hospitals. I learned a lot from the doctors and nurses and came to better understand their system of health care.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Valerie Grimsley was the program director and she was fabulous at scheduling fun places for us to visit or helping us plan our individual trips. However, there were difficulties in coordinating places for the students to shadow at for their health care experience part of the program. For future students that are interested in the program, I recommend gathering contact information with some of the nurses/doctors that you shadow with in case doctors cancel your shadowing appointment.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved staying in the Central House. My room had nice amenities including a bed, hammock, dresser, desk, closet, cabinets, shoe rack, lamp, and lock box. The house also had a kitchen, laundry room, living room, computers, and library that you could use. These were nice to have because it made the place feel more like home.

* Food:

The food was soooo delicious, both in the Central House and local restaurants. The chef always provided a nutricious breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Also, there are wonderful restaurants that are nearby that are very affordable and have great food.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I usually felt very connected with the local culture when we were out and about exploring the city and taking field trips. However, because I didn't do a home stay and lived with people from the U.S. I wasn't as immersed in the language and culture as I could have been.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Before leaving the U.S., I did not need any vaccines for this program. As a foreigner, the most common illness for students studying abroad is to have dehydration and experience diarrhea. As a result, the Central House always provided purified water and encouraged students to always carry water with them everywhere. Fortunately, I never got sick. However, two students who got sick were taken good care of by Valerie (program director) who scheduled doctors appoinments and blood draws. Because the program was centered around global health care and incorporated a shadowing health care experience, I was able to learn a lot about their health care system. Overall, the government is not able to sufficiently fund everyone. As a result, there is a large lack of resources in public hospitals/clinics; however, the doctors/nurses find a way to make it work with what they have. I learned that the Yucatan is the state with the highest rates for obesity and diabetes.

* Safety:

The neighborhood where the Central House was located was a nice area and I always felt safe. At the Central House there was a night guard to watch over the house and make sure students returned home for the night. While the area seemed safe, I encourage future students to travel in groups. I don't think you should ever go anywhere by yourself because it is obvious to locals that you are a foreigner.

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

I loved everything about the program, including the house, field trips, people, food, classes, and shadowing portion of program.


* 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)

Food itself was very inexpensive. The largest costs were due to going out and doing extra activities, and even then it was still inexpensive.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I usually spent $25 each week.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Remember to always buy when the currency exchange rate is high.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
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? Advanced Spanish Reading and Writing
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? While I can speak the language decently, my biggest struggle is listening and understanding. I think the best practice for this is to listen to music and watch movies in Spanish.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Hotel
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* 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?
  • Field trips to cenotes
  • Spanish class
  • Food
* What could be improved?
  • Better coordination of shadowing portion of program
  • Laundry service
  • Get A/C in the house
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I would have brought more athletic clothes (t-shirts) because that is what I usually wanted to wear because it was so hot and because of the type of field trips we took.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!