A heart filling and a mind enriching experience Past Review

By (Economics., Trinity University) - abroad from 01/28/2014 to 05/15/2014 with

CGEE: Social Change in Central America: Exploring Peace, Justice, and Community Engagement

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff is very knowledgeable of the places that we visit, the program is very organized and clearly structured.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Participating in this program requires flexibility especially when it comes to living arrangements, as it consist of multiple home-stays. Students can always give feedback and change families or roommates if any problem arise.

* Food:

I truly enjoyed exploring food in Central America, learning about its cultivation and preparation. Sometimes we were spoiled and other times we ate what everyone else ate, it all depends on where we were. However, even in the remote areas I found the food tasty. Even as a vegetarian I always had sufficient amounts of food and good meals. (note: food probably wont be the same as in your country, but its good in its own way)

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Integration depends on us personally. I think the program allows you to be really integrated with its home-stays and accessible locations. However sometimes language can create a barrier, as well as the fact that we change countries and cities. As a group we also tend to do things together which prevents us sometimes from integrating others. I found it easy to integrate and meet new people in Guatemala because of the nature of Xela.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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 program really covers everything. Extra activities and personal expenses are cheaper that what I pay for in the USA.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Eat the meals that are paid by the program. Go after local authentic experiences that are always richer and much more affordable than tourist ones.


* 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

My Spanish improved significantly, however because the other classes were in English I though I was loosing some of the Spanish I learned in the first month. Home-stays and personal involvements in the communities allow us to improve and practice our Spanish

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
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? Intermediate I
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 to keep learning new words and verbs everyday even after your Spanish course is over.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Host Family
  • Apartment
  • Hotel
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
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 places I visisted
  • The exposure to society
  • The stories I heard.
* What could be improved?
  • Integration with local students
  • Constant language teaching
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That I can live out of only on backpack.

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.