Immersion in Southern Ecuador Past Review

By (International Studies and Journalism, Elon University) - abroad from 01/14/2015 to 05/07/2015 with

El Nomad Immersion Programs: Ecuador

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Too difficult to explain...I learned everything from Spanish to how to live, work, study, travel and plan alone. I learned how to connect with people and how to problem-solve. It was difficult at times, but 100% worth 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.

The courses weren't hard - at least the material wasn't - but learning Spanish and learning how to properly write was.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Sometimes felt like I was in the country alone - which I'm not sure was a good thing or a bad one. In hindsight, maybe a good one.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

That's what this program does best.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Felt safer than in the States

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)

Got difficult towards the end. Was also difficult with visa costs and trip to the beach.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $20
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Eat in local places, where lunches and dinners won't be so expensive. Like here, the markets are the best places for lunch: Full meals with two or three courses for $2.

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
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 300-level
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. No matter how embarrassed you feel. The people here appreciate it SO much when you attempt to speak their language. Find books in the language and listen to music in the language. IMMERSION.

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

  • Other
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?
  • Independence
  • Home Stay
  • Volunteer experience
* What could be improved?
  • Follow-ups with students
  • Focusing on all students all the time
  • Center hours
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known that the center really wouldn't be open for my use after-hours. It was hard to get work done in my house because I didn't have a desk. I was busy most of the day and needed to use it occasionally.

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.'