Life-changing Exprerience That GREATLY Improved My Spanish Skills! January 29, 2019

By (Governors State University) - abroad from 01/04/2019 to 01/11/2019 with

GSU Legal Empowerment Brigade to Panama

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned so much about the Wounaan indigenous community of Darien! I learned what it means to fully respect and honor the earth and the people who live on 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?

* Safety:

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

I loved the program and the people who I got to bond with on the program. I also fell (even more) in love with language learning and I'm going to continue learning Spanish and more languages to fluency.

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? $40
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Save more money than you actually need! Create a daily budget for spending while abroad and adjust that budget depending on the activities you participate in that day. This will ensure that you have enough money to last you for your entire trip and you won't run out too soon.

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? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Spanish 2
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? I think it's really important to study listening comprehension before you study abroad. This way, you will be able to understand a lot of what the locals are saying, even if you cannot always respond in the language. Also. practice studying and listening to the specific accent of the country you are going to. Finally, learn some basic phrases that will help you survive in different situations. For example: Where is the exit? Where is the bathroom? How much does it cost? May I have...?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • 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?
  • Spanish Language
  • Learning about the Wounaan women
  • Bonding with my group mates
* What could be improved?
  • More vegetarian/no meat food options
  • More support for common travel illnesses like traveler's diarrhea and dehydration in hot climates
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Nothing. I think I am an open-minded and educated person, and what I learned during this trip was meant to be learned ON THE TRIP, not before.

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.'