West Meets East Past Review

By (Russian Language, The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 09/04/2012 to 12/19/2012 with

CIEE: St. Petersburg - Russian Language

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
If anything, I learned about myself the most. Who am I and what is important to me. Entering a new culture challenges your views and opinions, because you are no longer surrounded by people who think and feel similarly to you.

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.

We were in class for an average of 7 1/2 hours each day. However, we were given little homework.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The on-site administration was absolutely fantastic! They were all so hopeful even at a moments notice.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family was warm, helpful, and talkative. I could tell they genuinely enjoyed hosting foreign students.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Integration was difficult. The Russian students didn't seem very interested in socializing with us, and others seemed annoyed simply to have to deal with a foreigner.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

They were helpful with serious medical conditions. However, we all did sick quite a bit while in Russia and were only given 3 days of sick leave.

* Safety:

As a female, don't venture out alone. Even if you're walking three or four blocks back to your host family, go with someone! I can't stress this enough! So many unexpected and frightening situations happened to me while I was walking home for dinner.

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? $75
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Buying items from the local convenience stores is drastically cheaper than going out to a restaurant. Don't eat out if you can help it.


* 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

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? 3rd year, 2nd semester
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Talk with your host family. They were my number one source for practice.

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
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?
  • People
  • Location
  • Trips
* What could be improved?
  • Classes
  • Tours
  • Event Scheduling
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Russia may be a first world country, but it is still very, very traditional when it comes to gender roles.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'