The trip you won't regret Past Review

By (Northern Illinois University) - abroad from 05/15/2018 to 06/06/2018 with

International Business Seminars: Summer Europe - 6 Countries in 23 Days!

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This trip has taught me to always be open to learning and trying new things.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I think there should have been more focus on the cultures of each country while we were there. A lot of students were caught off-guard by some simple differences from the United States that I think could have been prevented if we did a quick cultural overview.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The four leaders we had on this trip were all great.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The hotels utilized on this trip were great.

* Food:

Absolutely loved the food. It was great to try new cultural dishes.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Clearly some people did not like having young Americans running around, but overall everyone I encountered seemed nice. Everyone seemed to really like you if you took the time to try doing things their way and not the American way, such as practicing how to pronounce words in their language rather than asking in English.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Health was emphasized before the departure of the trip and not so much while we were on the trip. I, as well as many other students, came down with either allergies or a cold and we all handled it in a way similar to how we would at home.

* Safety:

I personally felt safe in all countries and cities, except for a few times in Paris where I became a little nervous. All I can say is be aware of your surroundings, hold onto your personal items a little stronger than you normally would, and keep an eye out for your friends. If you posses some common sense, there should be nothing to worry about on this trip.

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

I would spend more time learning about the companies we visited and languages/culture of each country before going. This trip allowed me to leave my comfort zone and explore new things and I couldn't have gained that anywhere else, especially not in America.


* 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)

I personally have been saving money my whole life, so I did not encounter many challenges during this trip. I think it needs to be emphasized that there are reasonably priced food options in Europe, just like there are in the United States. There should be no reason for a student to miss out on the cultural experience, especially the dining aspect, if the trip is budgeted correctly.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I probably spent about $200 on food each week, not limiting myself to the cheapest option on the menu.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you work a job, save a certain percentage of your paycheck every pay period. I dedicated 20% of my paychecks from my job at school for the past year just for this trip. If you're trying to save for a study abroad trip, think about how you spend your money at home. If you can avoid going out to eat, avoid it because that's some extra money to spend at a restaurant in Italy.


* 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

This was not really discussed all that much. We were provided with a few greeting phrases in the foreign languages, but I wish we had some assistance when it comes to ordering food or buying something at a market.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Spanish 3 my sophomore year of high school
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? You don't need to become fluent in the languages. It's best to know greetings, phrases related to dining and purchasing items, and goodbyes. Most of the time, you can get by just knowing those. However, don't limit yourself either if you are interested in exploring a new language. I know this trip has inspired me to re-visit Spanish and continue learning Italian more in-depth.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Hotel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* 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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • I liked the gracious amount of free time we had. It allowed us to do the touristy things.
  • We were paired with different roommates in the first 4 countries and that was beneficial
* What could be improved?
  • It was sometimes difficult to hear presenters because we were in larger groups so figuring out a way for everyone to hear would be useful.
  • A few more group lunches or dinners would be nice because they were great times for everyone to hang out
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Americans can sometimes be defensive over the simplest things and should be more open to learning about other cultures and ways of life. We can all learn from each other and become better.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!