Mexico: Old Neighbor, New Friend Past Review

By (Accounting, Trinity University) for

IFSA: Merida - Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Understanding of Mexican people, Spanish language, life abroad, outlook on Americans, and experiences of a traveler.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan
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 teachers are all very knowledgeable in their respective fields, mostly are fluent in English so they are able to help out with language barriers, and in general they really want to help the students to understand and be interested in the material. The understanding of the culture and acceptance of its value was very important to them.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program administrator was extremely helpful, extremely knowledgeable, and did everything possible to make us comfortable. As I told her before leaving, she was like a mother to us while we were there.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Most of the time we were with a host family, but we lived in hostels and hotels while traveling. The host family was amazing. They became like my real family. They helped so much and treated me like their son/nephew/brother. It also greatly helped my language acquisition to stay with them because they only spoke Spanish.

* Food:

They tried very hard to get things that I liked and to not give me things I didn't like. It was just a difficult adjustment going from food in the US to food there because it's pretty different.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We were allowed to stay out at night and do as we pleased, we interacted freely with the Mexican people, and we traveled every weekend!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I felt like any problems would be dealt with immediately and if I had any problem I felt comfortable talking to people in charge. As I said, the program director was like a mother.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Oh man. I have no idea. I went in saying to myself that any money spent was worth it to have a good time. I only spent 6 weeks there, so I didn't want to hold back just to save a few dollars. I'd guess at around $80 per week, on average. Sometimes it was more because of buying bus tickets, etc.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Travel expenses are unpredictable depending on availability and where you're able to go. Also, some meals you'll spend a few dollars on a taco stand, some you'll spend $15US because the group goes somewhere nice, plus a taxi, plus club fees.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I practiced the language with everyone. Many people in the city did not know English, which in my case was a positive point. I wanted to learn a lot of Spanish, and the only way to do it is if you have to speak it with everyone. The classes were Spanish, my host family only spoke Spanish, and everyone in public only spoke Spanish. It was great.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Hostel
  • Hotel
  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Spanish language is a big part of it. Must want to learn or already know it. Mayan history is also a large part of it.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Mayan Culture and Civilization

Course Department:
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: Because it was in Spanish and it was dealing with a specific field of study (Mayan History) it became difficult to follow many times. The vocabulary is very specific to this subject and I am not particularly interested in history in the first place. I needed it for credit. At times, however, it was extremely interesting because the Mayan culture contributed greatly to the current lifestyles in the Yucatan Peninsula. Also, as a summer course, 2 hours of history on a PowerPoint is difficult to withstand.
Credit Transfer Issues: No issues as of yet, but school has not started. It was easy to get them approved before leaving, but hopefully there are no problems with the credits and transcripts.