Three Months in the Most Beautiful City in the World August 26, 2020

By (Soka University of America) - abroad from 01/06/2020 to 03/27/2020 with

CLA: Guanajuato - Summer Spanish & Culture

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My Spanish improved SO MUCH. My host family didn't speak English and friends I made in the program were international so our only common language was Spanish. I spoke Spanish essentially 24/7. No waiters/store clerks spoke English. It was definitely worthwhile. After studying Spanish on and off for six years, this is the first time I feel like I've really retained it.

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:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

My healthcare provider only spoke in Spanish which posed some issues, but my host mom and I were able to navigate it and translate anything necessary.

* Safety:

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

It was truly the best three months of my life. I was placed with a host family that home-cooked every meal and had two amazing and supportive host parents. There were so many opportunities to meet people (language exchanges were a favorite). The cultural activities that we did with the program were also really tailored to our interests and super fun/informative (cooking classes, a traditional tattooing workshop). I cannot recommend this program enough. If there's anything I could change, it would be the timing of the pandemic so I could stay longer.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 30-50

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? Advanced
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? 400
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? Stay with a host family that doesn't speak English!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
  • 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?
  • The people in charge of the program
  • The social scene/nightlife
  • The food
* What could be improved?
  • The academics aren't super interesting, but they are helpful and manageable
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How much walking there would be! You walk EVERYWHERE. It's beautiful, but I would've brought some more pairs of sneakers.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.