History, Culture, and Language Galore Past Review

By (Case Western Reserve University) - abroad from 07/24/2017 to 11/23/2017 with

IES Abroad: Buenos Aires - Study Abroad With IES Abroad

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was incredibly worthwhile. Not only did I drastically improve my language skills, which is very important to me, but I also learned a lot about living in a culture different from your own. I have a very different viewpoint on people who move internationally, and feel like I much more understand what it means to move to a new culture. I became a much more humble person, and realized how much I truly do not know. I did, however, feel like I learned an incredible amount about a part of the world I didn't know much about before and I feel very connected to Buenos Aires and Argentina in general.

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 were very individualized, and helped me understand a lot more about my surroundings and the country I was in. They are challenging, but not so much so that they inhibit spending time outside class traveling and doing other things.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration staff always got everything done that needed to be done and were very helpful. They were sometimes a slow and relaxed group of people, so I occasionally was unsure if the things I needed were getting done, but they all were and the people truly cared about the students.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Living with a host family was amazing and one of the best parts of my experience.

* Food:

The cultural foods are great and most things are delicious, although healthier foods, fruits, and vegetables are less common than I was used to and were sometimes challenging to find.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The people of Buenos Aires were incredibly welcoming, and I felt a part of their society by the end.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Buenos Aires is a huge city, and there were definitely areas or circumstances that were unsafe. However, we were honestly informed and told upfront about these things, and I felt prepared to handle myself safely. I never had any bad experiences with safety due to the information I was given during orientation.

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

I absolutely loved every aspect of the program. Buenos Aires was the perfect place for me, and IES was the perfect program to do it through.


* 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)

Buenos Aires was slightly cheaper than a medium city in the United States, so if being frugal was a priority it was easy to find cheap options for most things. However, some things were expensive so it was also frequent to spend more than expected some weeks.


* 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

Buenos Aires is a city where you will mostly be speaking Spanish to get around on a day to day basis, and I loved that my host mom did not speak English and I only spoke Spanish with her at home. While we were at the program center, however, and not in class, we were not overwhelmingly encouraged to speak to each other in Spanish so we usually defaulted to English with each other outside of class time.

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? 300 level
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? Listen to music, watch TV shows, and ESPECIALLY read books in the target language! Even if you're only understanding ~70% of it, you will improve your vocabulary immensely.

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

  • 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?
  • Language immersion
  • Travel opportunities
  • Focus on learning local history/politics
* What could be improved?
  • Finding out about homestay earlier
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known that it's ok to have a little distance from family and friends. Keeping in touch is important, but it's also important to let yourself have your own experiences and take a little bit of space to just prioritize your semester and enjoy all the awesome things you're doing. People will understand.

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.'