La Experiencia de mi Vida - My Time in Argentina Past Review

By (History, Spanish, Trinity University) for

CIEE: Buenos Aires - Liberal Arts

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Overall it was an experience of a lifetime. I had problems with my host family, but even with that I gained a lot from living with them. By studying with CIEE, my Spanish has improved and I have gained insight into a different dialect I had no previous knowledge of. I also learned a lot about the culture and subcultures of Argentina (indigenous and otherwise) and a ton about my self. It helped me to become more self-reliant, confident, and independent. It made me realize even more that I may want to pursue a career in International Relations.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: FLACSO, UCA
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.

Although I enjoyed the cultural aspect of it and learning about the country's history, I found the classes to be a bit easy. I did not think the Spanish classes helped me at all (especially the grammar class) and feel like my Spanish skills improved only due to the day-to-day living in Buenos Aires.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Constant communication and I especially enjoyed the younger student coordinators, who were always willing to answer our questions or just to have a chat about our experiences. I thought the structure of the administration was very well organized and we were all divided into smaller groups headed by one of the coordinators. We never really had any interaction with the Resident Director or the Assistant Director, but got a lot of emails from them.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My neighborhood was on one of the main avenues and had AMAZING access to the buses and the subway. It was 10 minutes away on subway for most of my classes, including the program center. The one UCA class was only 15-20 minutes away at the end of the line. Unfortunately I didn't enjoy the host family experience as I would have liked, since I felt like I was being blamed for a lot of things that weren't my fault and was being held down by a very controlling host mother, who did not give me much independence. It did contribute a lot to the experience, however, and I learned a lot culturally. I had great conversations with my host brother about a shared interest of basketball. The older host brother, however, would ask me for money and my cell phone. I would advise not to become a push-over like I was at the beginning and just say no. You don't have to feel obligated to give anything. Otherwise they will keep asking.

* Food:

Some of the best steak I have ever had!!! I love the empanadas!!! Food here is great and you will find it hard not to gain a little bit of extra weight! I thoroughly enjoyed the food provided to me by my host family's cook.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The trips to San Antonio de Areco (guacho town) and the Jujuy province in the north (desert, mountains) were amazing and very-well organized!!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I personally did not experience anything, but a few people in our program had things robbed. I was in a very safe, always busy neighborhood on a main avenue and did not feel the slightest bit in danger. I would sometimes even be out walking home in the dark after classes or after a night out I would walk a short distance home. Many times I would see cops posted in places all along the street, adding to the safety. I would not suggest going to La Boca at night and to definitely not stray away from the tourist area during the day. Healthcare is free to all Argentine citizens, but I did not personally experience experience anything in regards to that. No specific vaccines were needed, nor were there any health issues in Argentina.

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? $160 pesos ($40 USD), most of it used for lunch and transportation expenses.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Keep in mind costs for additional side trips that you might want to take. Factor in laundry costs as well if your family does not have a washer/dryer for you to use.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

Most of my friends and kids in the program spoke in English to each other (although there were a few in the program that mostly spoke Spanish). Argentines would try to talk to me in English to practice their own skills, which was frustrating, but you have to preservere in speaking Spanish. The teachers spoke to us in Spanish.

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? "The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see." - G.K. Chesterton This quote underlines the entire experience abroad. I was quick to notice certain aspects about Argentina that would never be noticed by a casual tourist. In essence, this is what studying abroad is truly about - to experience the daily life of a culture that is different than your own. Try to not be too touristy - visit the sites but try to speak Spanish as much as you can and go off the beaten path. Go out and take advantage of the many cultural offerings Buenos Aires has (many of which are free). Engage in conversation with locals and meet potential lifelong friends. The type of student that would most benefit from this program is a student looking to improve his or her Spanish skills (especially in a dialect such as Argentina's), experience the culture of Argentina (tango, literature, cinema, daily life, universities, etc.), and learn a little bit about the history of Argentina.