Best semester abroad! January 30, 2020

By (Western Washington University) - abroad from 07/27/2019 to 12/08/2019 with

CLA: Guanajuato - Liberal Arts & Culture Semester

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I studied abroad in Fall semester of 2019 and I loved it! Like most study abroad students, I had my reservations about coming. While of course there are moments of frustration when you can't communicate yourself in Spanish, I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone. You will not only grow immensely in your Spanish abilities, but in confidence, cultural knowledge/awareness, understanding about yourself, and most importantly, your dancing skills haha. (I would highly recommend the dance class- it was awesome). CLA had a lot of things I was looking for in a program. I loved that they were a small organization, run by locals who knew the culture and I could answer my many questions using their own experiences. Fabi and Samantha were awesome and made me feel comfortable talking (even when my Spanish was rough) giving me more confidence to share. I often felt that we had actually known each other longer than we had! haha. Interestingly, I have a lot of other friends who have studied abroad in a Spanish speaking country and their reports seem to be similar. They had a great time but spoke a ton of English with their large group of students in their program, not making many friends with the locals. Being a small program, I was encouraged to speak a lot of Spanish and had the chance to interact with other Mexican students and exchange students, all in Spanish! Regarding the schooling, I really enjoyed my Spanish for foreigners classes. Not only was the location super cool but the classes were great too and I loved the complimentary conversation classes offered through CAADI. The program also did a lot of fun excursions. The city itself is a really great location too. Full of history, there are a million museums and interesting architecture. The night life is also super fun. I didn't realize how quiet my university city was until I returned from the night life of Guanajuato! And of course the food. So yummy! I miss the street ice cream so much. :'( I am also celiac and finding gluten free food can be challenging. However, it was actually really easy to find food to eat! All of the corn products are great. They even have some natural foods stores that carry other allergen free products in case subsisting on corn tortillas is too hard haha. All in all, a wonderful experience with this great program and in such a magical city. Thanks for everything! I will treasure these experiences forever.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

I am celiac and the care and attention it was received with by both the program leaders and my host family were really great.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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

Finances

* 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)

Language

* 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
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+

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
  • 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?
  • I loved the program directors, small size, location, and my host family.
* What could be improved?
  • Finding more participants!
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Don't stress out so much! It will be such a positive experience.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.