Unique Culture, Lots of Options Past Review

By (Latin American Studies, Wellesley College) - abroad from 02/19/2015 to 07/18/2015 with

CIEE: Buenos Aires - Liberal Arts

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I became much more comfortable with speaking Spanish and confident in my ability to live in another country. It was an incomparable opportunity to study Latin American Studies (my major) from a Latin American academic perspective, as well as try to integrate myself into a Latin American culture and experience it firsthand. I loved making new friends and visiting new places. My time abroad was a refreshing break from my home institution and life during the academic year!

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I felt that I had access to an invaluable experience for both cultural and language learning. Living with an Argentine host mother and taking half my classes at a local public university alongside Argentine students made my experience authentic and challenging. A lot of options were available to students in the program, from universities at which to take courses, to extracurricular activities and events, to tutors. The amount of support/independence from the program varied with each student depending on what they wanted.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Just about all the staff members were warm and friendly, and genuinely cared about us. The program could be a bit disorganized and disconnected communication-wise from the local universities.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I felt that my host family preferences could have been met a bit better. However, I had a generally positive experience with the family I was matched with. I appreciated the location of where I was living in the city, though there were a few people in our program who were far away from everything and found it frustrating.

* Food:

If you love beef, empanadas, super cheesy pizza, ham and mayo in everything, and sandwiches on white bread, you’re in luck! Since Buenos Aires is a big city, there is a variety of food available to accommodate different diets and a lot of it is cheap. I liked the homemade vegan wraps and lentil burgers that were sold outside one of the UBA campuses for $2-3 USD.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I wish I had lived with a host family that had more than one person and maybe who spent time with me outside the apartment. It took time making friends, but I think attending class with locals helped a lot, as did making an effort to speak Spanish as much as possible.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Aside from the program's policies that were in place, I was pretty much on my own in terms of getting medical treatment and reimbursement. I had to wait a long time in the hospital, and lines in pharmacies are often long and confusing.

* 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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $50
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Going out can get expensive, but if you make friends with Argentines they might be able to get you discounted tickets to boliches (nightclubs)! You can find cheap food in the city. Public transportation is also very economical. Traveling to other cities/countries, if you choose to, is what a lot of your money will get spent on.


* 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

Everyone in the program had to sign an agreement to speak only Spanish, but since it was a large program (40+ students) the program staff was not able to enforce it when we were together. I wished the other program participants could have tried harder to avoid speaking in English, but not everyone cared or found it necessary for their own learning.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 200-level literature course
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 speak only in Spanish, including with other study abroad students, even if the pressure to speak in English is tempting. Take direct enrollment courses and talk to people in them. Make Argentine friends.

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

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • Variety of universities to enroll in (public, private, and art schools)
  • Opportunities and resources available to us through the program
* What could be improved?
  • Spanish language immersion
  • Homestay placements
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That the University of Buenos Aires is free (though it wouldn't have helped in my case due to my home institution's credit transfer policies). More about Argentina's history and politics in general.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Historial social latinoamericana/Latin American Social History

Course Department: University of Buenos Aires - Ciencias Sociales
Instructor: Petrone (teórico)
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: The course was informative and challenging, though reading-heavy.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Historia del arte precolombino/History of Pre-Colombian Art

Course Department: University of Buenos Aires - Filosofía y Letras
Instructor: Teórico: Kusch; Práctico: Palazzolo
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: The lecture (teórico) professor spoke quietly and unclearly in a room where everything echoed. The class was organized so that we were supposedly covering five units in lectures and one unit in the smaller, more discussion-oriented práctico classes; content did not overlap. The práctico professor was pretty clear about expectations and well-organized, but the teórico professor (who gave the final oral exam) was not.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Nuevo cine argentino/New Argentine Cinema

Course Department: CIEE-FLACSO
Instructor: Sassi
Instruction Language: Spanish
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Taller de gramática avanzada/Advanced Grammar Workshop

Course Department: CIEE-FLACSO
Instructor: Lacanna
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: Useful topic, reasonable workload, and good professor.
Credit Transfer Issues: