Traveling helped me realize what I truly want for my life. Guayaquil - Study Abroad + Service Learning in Ecuador Past Review

By (College of Mount Saint Vincent) - abroad from 01/04/2016 to 05/01/2016 with

IPSL: Reviews from former Locations

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained the ability to speak Spanish and confidence. As a foreigner, I was put out of my comfort zone countless time and from that, I learned to embrace who I am and open myself up to others more.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't have any experiences with health issues. However, I lived in an area where doctors are easily accessible.

* Safety:

I lived in a gated community. The area in which I lived, which was Samborondon, is the wealthiest area in Guayaquil so I felt safe at all times.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

I would not do it all over again because I feel fulfilled enough with the experience I had in Ecuador. Now, I am ready move on to my next venture.


* 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)

It was relatively easy to live on a student budget, especially since my host family provided room and board. However, Samborondon is an expensive area, so necessities were expensive to purchase.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $50
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Do not spend too much money on unnecessary food. I spent money on snacks when walking to and home from school. Instead, I suggest to buy groceries, prepare the snacks at home, and bring them to school. It's better to have snacks for the week instead of buying one everyday.


* 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

My program encouraged me to use the language a lot. I spoke Spanish at home as well as my service. In fact, I had no choice to speak Spanish, especially at my service, because a majority of the employees did not speak English.

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? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Level 3 Spanish: Literature and Comprehension
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Speak Spanish to your family at all times (even if they know English), watch Spanish television shows, befriend locals so that you are surrounded by the language and culture, translate Spanish songs, and read the newspaper.

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

  • International 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?
  • Traveling on the weekends
  • Small Spanish Class
  • Eating dinner with my host family
* What could be improved?
  • Encouraging the host family not to speak in the student's native language
  • More options for volunteer placements
  • All classes should be taught in Spanish
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew the economic situation of the country. Samborondon, a sector in Guayaquil in which I lived, is extremely expensive. A majority of the goods in the coast are imported, meaning that everything has a high tax on it, essentially causing almost everything to be unreasonably priced. Had I known thins were going to be that expensive, I would have bought more necessities from States instead of waiting until I arrived to Guayaquil.

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.'