I wish I could go back! June 05, 2024

By (Education Studies, Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/05/2024 to 05/24/2024 with

IFSA: Mérida - Language and Cultural Studies in the Yucatán

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Spanish skills, confidence that I can do things independently, and friends.

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.

I loved having the option of multiple colleges (UADY, Modelo, and through IFSA) to take classes through. All of my professors were very kind and organized.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The directors were very communicative with the students, and always willing to help with any issues. During passover, they arranged a classroom so that I had a place to celebrate with my family over zoom.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved my host family, they treated me like family.

* Food:

Food in host family and in the city in general was amazing.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I think being with a host family helped me integrate a lot more than I would've been able to in a different living situation.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

How to access healthcare was clearly outlined in the beginning and throughout the program. I didn't use it personally, but I know the directors were very involved and helpful when some of my friends needed to seek healthcare.

* Safety:

I felt safe walking at night, especially if I was familiar with the part of the city I was walking in.

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

I could not have had a better experience than in Mérida


* 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? ~$85/week
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Learn the public transportation system early on, download the Va y Ven app and use google maps to learn bus routes early on, use the bus system early on. Also ask about getting the yellow student va y ven card instead of the regular blue one. (all of this instead of uber. try to save uber for late at night, really hot days, when in a hurry, and when carpooling with friends)


* 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

All of my classes were in Spanish, directors spoke to us only in Spanish, host families only talked to us in Spanish.

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? Spanish 106b
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 movies in Spanish with spanish subtitles on (or movies in English with Spanish subtitles on), talk to people in Spanish.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • 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?
  • People
  • Food
  • Buses
* What could be improved?
  • n/a
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? n/a

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 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.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Advanced Spanish I

Course Department: IFSA
Instructor: Irma Torregrosa
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: Professor was very engaging with the students and made sure we all participated. The content of the class was directly relevant to our study abroad experience (this was a class only for study abroad students).
Credit Transfer Issues: I did not have any issues transferring credit