I wish I could go back! August 10, 2019

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 06/15/2019 to 07/20/2019 with

IFSA: Merida - Medical Spanish and Public Health in the Yucatan

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was absolutely worthwhile. I got to completely immerse myself in the language. I became conversationally fluent during my time abroad, and I would not have wanted it any other way

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I enjoyed my classes. I thought that the medical spanish class was better than the public health class, but that is because I had more interest in the medical spanish class. Both teachers were more than willing to help with anything going on. It did not have to be regarding class, but they loved helping us plan excursions and other events in Merida

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program director, excursion leaders, and teachers were all incredible. They were more than willing to help with anything we needed. I felt so at home the entire time on this program, and I am so sad that it ended. I would absolutely recommend this program to anyone that is interested.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I absolutely loved my time abroad. All of the host families were so willing to have us in their homes, but more than that, they truly immersed us in their cultures. They exposed us to new kinds of food and new social customs. My host family was my best resource, and I always felt safe in the house

* Food:

The food in my house was amazing. I did have to branch out and try new things, but I am so glad that I did. It is advised to not eat the food off the streets, but all of the food in the city is very cheap and affordable.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt very integrated into the local culture. All of the excursions really allowed us to see different parts of the city. Being immersed in Spanish really allowed the development of language and expansion of fluency.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not have to deal with the health care system, but the girls that needed to deal with insurance had no problems at all.

* Safety:

I felt extremely safe in my host city. As long as you stay in groups, you will have no problems. Merida has police all over the place, and you cannot go more than a few minutes without police driving down the street near you.

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

This was the perfect program for me. Between combining Spanish and healthcare, I would not have changed a thing. I got to go to Cuba. How many people can say that?


* 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? $100 USD
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Make sure you portion out the gifts first so you can buy everyone you planned on getting a gift, a gift


* 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

The program had no language requirement. I used the language when talking with my host family or locals. I did not use the language in classes, but I used my language skills in all other times in Mexico

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? Level 4 in college
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? Make sure you have some knowledge about the language before you go. Be able to order food or ask for directions

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?
  • Medical spanish class
  • Host family
  • Immersion in culture
* What could be improved?
  • Public health class
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known how friendly everyone was. It is a culture where everyone will talk to you. It is really different from American culture, but it is something that is enjoyable

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.