An amazing semester in Mérida August 31, 2017

By (Physics, Grinnell College) - abroad from 01/05/2017 to 05/20/2017 with

IFSA: Merida - Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My Spanish skills have greatly improved, and with that my ability to have conversations with people from a variety of different backgrounds. Because many things were so new to me, from the climate to the Maya culture, it seemed like I learned something new in every conversation I had.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family was wonderful, incredibly warm and inviting. They helped me so much in adjusting to being abroad!

* Food:

As a vegetarian, being abroad in a place with a meat heavy cuisine seemed impossible. If my host mom had not been so accommodating and willing to cook a wide variety of vegetarian foods for me, I would have eaten meat. My host mother was so understanding and I didn't feel like I missed out at all!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Going to school with university students from Mexico helped me feel just about as integrated as I could have felt in the short time I was there.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I felt totally safe in Mérida, even being alone as a young white woman at any hour of the day!

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

the IFSA-Butler program in Mérida was an amazing, immersive experience that improved my Spanish immensely and showed me aspects of another culture that I will never forget. Everyday I felt like I could go out and learn something new by interacting with students or other residents of the city. Mérida was the perfect size for me to feel comfortable speaking and exploring.

Finances

* 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? Less than $15 on food a week, and maybe $15 on experiences for an average week.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Invest in experiences that you will remember. Especially in a place where the american dollar goes as far as it does in Mexico, it's worth seeking out those cool things!

Language

* 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

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
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? 320
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? Talk to your host families!

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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • living with a host family
  • direct enrollment in UADY
* What could be improved?
  • information given by IFSA about specifics of Maya culture
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had been prepared a little better for just how hot it would be in the spring! It is truly tropical and steamy.

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.