Going abroad makes the world less intimidating Past Review

By (bioenginering, Santa Clara University) for

CIEE: Gaborone - Summer Community Public Health

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This was the greatest experience of my life. I learned so much about their culture as was welcomed into their own culture with open arms. This hospitality has shown me a lot about life and has given me new perspective on how to live my own. Going abroad also makes the world less intimidating and gives me a brighter out look on the future of the world. I learned a lot about personal responsibility to others.

Personal Information

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.

The workload was divided among long group papers, personal journal entries, and participation in outings and the practicum. Classes were taught in lecture style, similar to that of most classes one would experience in the US. In one class the teacher didn't grade the papers, but had someone else do it according to a rubric he had written. Most thought this was strange.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program wasn't always the most organized and our schedule changed constantly, but we got everything we needed done and the coordinator in Botswana always did everything he could to help us.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

At first I was totally freaked out to sign up for a home stay, and in Africa of all places, but I thought it would be the only way to fully experience the culture. It was the best thing I did. Everyone who had a home stay loved it! I brought a towel and needed it too. That was pretty much the only thing I needed and had i not brought one they were readily available for purchase.I was treated as a member of family with the same responsibilities as any other member. I helped cook and clean with my brother each night, and I have some of the best memories and experiences from this.

* Food:

I am a vegetarian normally, but gave it up briefly for the program. It could definitely be done though. Lots of good places to eat. RiverWalk had some good restaurants, Moghals Indian food was really good too. Don't be afraid of street food either, it is sooo good! If you want a break from traditional food, Fresh Cafe has some more american things.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Safaris are the greatest thing ever. If you have to opportunity, go on any offered nature walks. All the class trips were awesome as well and very informative about the culture and their lifestyles. I did the extended trip and the Safari at the end was incredible and full of adventure.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The city is relatively safe as long as you are smart about it. Keep valuables at home or with the coordinator and only take what you have to. I felt comfortable taking my laptop to class but not everyone did, depending on their route to class. I never had to go to a private clinic which are supposed to be comparable to US clinics. The public clinics are not the same as US clinics and are crowded and it would be difficult to be seen there. Keep hand sanitizer with you because most places wont have soap

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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I would practice Setswana with my host family, the people in the clinics, as well as random people on the street. Most people spoke English so Setswana was not necessary for everything, but was a fun way to engage in their culture and community.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Activities
  • People
  • Homestay
* What could be improved?
  • Scheduling
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Be aware of your surroundings, try everything, and DO A HOMESTAY! You should be prepared for an adventure and living a lifestyle much different from that of the US. You have to be flexible and no that you will not have all amenities all the time. If you can't handle that they you might look into another program.