Guanajuato 2018 August 03, 2018

By (California State University - Sacramento) - abroad from 06/01/2018 to 06/30/2018 with

CLA: Guanajuato - Summer Spanish & Culture

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I was incredibly impressed with my trip with CLA to Guanajuato. I went to improve my proficiency in Spanish and learn about my heritage and I ended up gaining so much more. By the end of the month I was completely thinking in Spanish without having to translate everything into English first and even slept talked in Spanish which tells you it was deep in my subconscious. The classes that you will take at the University of Guanajuato are very well rounded. You will learn grammar, culture, literature, history, and dance from teachers who really care. The entire trip is completely immersive which is the most effective way to learn a language when paired with language classes. My host mom was amazing and made me feel at home from the very first day. It was also way easier to make friends than I expected. Fabiola, the director, made herself incredibly available to any need we had and planned so many fun and cultural activities to make the most out of our month in Guanajuato. I left Guanajuato in LOVE with Mexico and plan on returning more long term in the future. This program is the ultimate to experience Mexico as a one time trip or a tester before a more long term move.

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 classes at the University of Guanajuato come in 3 levels (beginner, intermediate, and advanced). I was placed in advanced and my Spanish and knowledge improved so much from my classes. Classes are very class heavy with little homework so that you have time to study and do other things in the city.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Fabiola, the director, took care of all the administration needs and the faculty at the university were very accommodating of any needs.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host mom was absolutely amazing and helped me learn the language, prepared authentic Mexican food, and integrated me into her life and the culture.

* Food:

Every meal I had was a cultural experience. There is so much more than just tacos. The meals from my host mom, restaurants, and stands were truely special.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt incredibly at home in the culture even though so much of it was new to me. Every person I met was kind and patient with me as I was learning the language and finding the right words to say.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Luckly I didn’t have any health problems but Fabiola was prepared in case I ever needed health care.

* Safety:

I would walk around the city by myself to relax and I always felt safe.

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)

I could have easily gone the whole month with very minimum expenses. The things I did pay for were just extras like Mexican blouses and gifts for friends. I also went out to eat with friends and coffee shops to hang out but food is very affordable here so you definitely won’t break the bank even if you treat your self.

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

Fabiola strongly encouraged us to only speak in Spanish even when it was hard because that’s the best way to learn the words you don’t know and become fluent. The other students also made a great effort to adjust their lives fully in Spanish. As a result we all left speaking far better than when we came.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 3 university level classes
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? Study the basic grammar in advanced and then only listen, read and speak Spanish while you’re there.

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

  • 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?
  • Improvement in my speaking abilities
  • The friends I made
  • Experiencing local culture
* What could be improved?
  • YOU going
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That there is nothing to worry about. I don’t exactly know how but as soon as you get there it’s easy to make friends and become integrated into the 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!