A Semester in the Heart of Mexico Past Review

By (Berea College) - abroad from 01/15/2018 to 06/09/2018 with

CIEE: Guanajuato - Liberal Arts

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Spanish skills. Connections. Definitely worthwhile.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The academic workload in Mexico is very different from that in the United States. For most of the semester, we did not do much; the classes were focused on notes, discussion, and daily reflections. The majority of the heavy work came at the end with the final essays that were worth the majority of your grade. However, I will note that I learned a large amount this semester.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The on-site staff did well. I don't have much to say about them. There were always there to help.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My housing situation wasn't the best, but it also wasn't the worst. I was very much a guest and not part of the family. The major problem came when I wasn't receiving things that the I paid for in the program costs, and this took a long time and multiple meetings with the CIEE on-site administration to fix, and not everything was fixed.

* Food:

Mexico has some of the best food in the world.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I contracted a parasite during the program, and the CIEE insurance was great. We had to go to a certain hospital, and I was attended to 24/7. However, I had to go to the doctor again for stomach issues, and I still have not received reimbursement for that. The CIEE insurance takes a long time.

* Safety:

Guanajuato is a very safe city. However, it's important to keep in mind that I am a male. Some of my female friends received harassment.

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

I made life-long friendships and connections, and I improved my Spanish drastically.


* 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)

Prices in Mexico are very low compared to the US.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Around $10
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Don't spend money on tourist-traps.


* 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

Our host families didn't speak any English, and all of our classes were in pure Spanish.

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? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? SPN 321
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? Don't speak English to your fellow classmates from the US.

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
  • 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 classes
  • My cohort
  • The atmosphere
* What could be improved?
  • Communication with the on-site staff
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? A little bit more about Mexican culture

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!