Unforgettable - once in a lifetime experience Past Review

By (Business, Spanish, International Studies, Trinity University) - abroad from 01/07/2013 to 12/12/2014 with

IFSA: Merida - Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
How easy it is to make a change; how many problems Mexico has; the image that Mexico has of the US

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The teachers are great and very helpful. If you don't understand their Spanish they are more than willing to help you after class or to even talk more slowly in class. The homework was very demanding at times, but I would say that the exams were usually easier than the ones I've taken at Trinity.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They are very organized and prepared for your individual needs and requests.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family is great and does everything for me. There's nothing I can complain about.

* Food:

I'm a vegetarian, but the host families are prepared to cook according to your preferences. None of the vegetarians or people with food allergies had any problems.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I did a lot of community service that helped me to get to know a lot of locals and experience the local culture first-hand. Now I have a lot of Mayan friends that teach me a lot and I've been able to even learn some words of Mayan.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't have any health care issues but I heard that in the past the program has provided excellent support for those who needed it.

* Safety:

Merida is a very safe place. Obviously, like in any other place, you cannot walk around alone at midnight, but there are safe taxis that will take you to your destination. I never had any trouble, but what is annoying and sometimes a bit scary are the men that whistle and yell after the blonde American girls on the program.

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)

Mexico is quite cheap because of the conversion of dollars to pesos.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 70 dollars
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Don't buy souvenirs at the beginning of the semester - you will always find cheaper options at the end. Watch the weight of your suitcase and avoid having to pay extra in the end


* 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

Weren't allowed to use English, just Spanish, or else we had to pay a peso for each time we use English

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? Intermediate Level Spanish and 1st Literature class
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? Watch movies in Spanish, don't talk in English to your American friends

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
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • the weekend excursions
  • the host families
  • the university
* What could be improved?
  • getting the transcript at the end
  • not a lot of classes offered at local university
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How different the safety situation is in Yucatan compared to the rest of Mexico, at the beginning I was very tense about taking the bus and going out by myself

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.'