El Nomad is the place for Spanish immersion! Past Review

By (Medicine., University of Maryland - Baltimore) - abroad from 05/31/2014 to 06/30/2014 with

Ecuador Study Abroad Reflections: Comprehensive Reviews of Past Programs

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I brought my Spanish back up to the same level it was when I came home from Spain. I also really improved my medical Spanish vocabulary. I also learned about a new culture. It was definitely worthwhile.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

A little disorganized and last minute, but that's the Ecuadorian way!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family welcomed me with open arms and treated me like a daughter. I really appreciated staying with them. It was probably the best part of my experience!

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It was difficult to speak Spanish when we all defaulted to English when together. But whenever I was with my host family I really felt like I was part of the culture

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I got the typhoid fever vaccine in preparation for my trip. I did not have any experience as a patient except going to the pharmacy. As a medical student, seeing a public health system was a really eye-opening experience

* Safety:

Definitely safe during the day, you can walk or bus anywhere. Always travel in groups/pairs at night. Don't take buses after the sun goes down, but if you're in a group you can walk if you don't want to pay for a taxi. Taxis are very safe and inexpensive, however.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* 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)

Program itself was expensive, but additional costs were low

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Less than $50
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Keep a good budget, and wait to buy souvenirs until the end of your program. Then you can splurge with whatever money you've saved while pinching!


* 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

Difficult to speak Spanish in a group where all other students spoke English. But in my internship and host family home, Spanish was the only language so it was great practice

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? 400 level Spanish at undergraduate institution, medical Spanish at current institution
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? Immersion is the key. Don't be afraid to just try to speak it and learn on the fly. You will find people who are willing to correct you but politely, and they are worth hanging out with

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?
  • Host family
  • Flexibility
  • Cultural activities
* What could be improved?
  • Organization
  • Costs
  • Pre-trip communication
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How awesome the bus system is in South America. You can't see it on the internet, but you can get anywhere for very cheap. I definitely would have used it more. Also, how cheap the cost of living is in Ecuador. I might have been able to save a lot of money by doing a more independent trip.

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.'