Livin' la Vida Loca Past Review

By (Sociology and Education Studies, Brandeis University) - abroad from 05/30/2014 to 07/12/2014 with

IFSA: Buenos Aires - Advanced Language and Culture in Buenos Aires

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Incredible language skills, fantastic cultural experience, lifelong friendships, great memories. Would do everything again, exactly the same in a heartbeat. Only bad thing was that it ended.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Fantastic professors who were great educational and cultural resources

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Every staff member was friendly and caring. I valued my relationships with them as well as the organization. I never felt unsafe or unsure because of their careful instructions and the many safeguards they had in place

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family was incredible. All of my friends felt similarly. The program did an incredible job of finding the best people to pair students with.

* Food:

I found the cuisine repetitive and much too heavy. It was one of the only things I disliked about my stay.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I did not have many opportunities to spend time with locals outside of my host family. I spent most of my time with Americans. That being said I really loved the interactions I had with my host family and program staff and did feel like i got a very accurate picture of life in the city.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no healthcare issues aside from a minor cold which my host mother was quick to respond to with soup and advil.

* Safety:

I had a few near misses with pick pockets. Iphones especially are a big target that you should be wary about displaying in public. I don't reccomend walking alone at night in any major city and Buenos Aires is no exception. I did not feel any major safety concerns that were unique to being there.

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


* 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)

The exchange rate was good and so I was able to live on about $100 dollars a week, with the exception of when I traveled, when I spent much more. I budgeted 1000 dollars for 8 weeks and was able to stay somewhat close to that budget.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? around 120 dollars
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? It sometimes seems like the only option to eat out, especially for lunch which is not provided by the program, is somewhat fancy sit down restaurants which will cost around 100 to 200 pesos for a meal. If you look around a little though you can easily find empanada stands, hot dog venders and other cheaper options which will give you a quick on the go lunch for much less than a restaurant.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
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? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Spanish 106
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? Speak in spanish with the other americans on your program! You'll feel silly at first but it really makes a big difference! Don't be afraid to ask your host family for clarification when you don't understand things! They want to help you learn!

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 accomdations
  • Program staff's flexibility
  • Coursework
* What could be improved?
  • nothing
  • nothing
  • nothing
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? there was a lot i didnt know but I think thats inevitable. I learned on the go but it was a fantastic experience and I wouldnt change anythign about it.

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.