4 of the Most Memorable Months in My Life Thus Far Past Review

By (Global Studies, University of Nebraska- Lincoln) for

ISA Study Abroad in Lima, Peru

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I have studied abroad in three countries now and this program was my personal favorite. You have the unique chance to experience life in two other countries instead of one, and they contrast each other in the perfect way. If not this program, study abroad in another. Going through your entire college experience without studying abroad is an incomplete experience, and a missed opportunity.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: Universidad Belgrano (Buenos Aires, Argentina), Universidad del Pacifico (Lima, Peru)
How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The abroad workload at these two universities were perfectly acceptable. It was well understood by the program that the priority when studying abroad for students is to experience another culture, and not to spend hours studying. Having said that, there was enough work to keep students busy and provide them with adequate knowledge about the language and culture aiding in their temporary assimilation.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program readily encourages students to get outside of the classroom (in the form of field trips or museum visits and cultural events) which is to be commended. It was never taken for granted that studying abroad is an experience aimed at exposing students to new cultures and new ways of thinking, in fact, the program readily promoted this experience.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

In both cases, the host family aided in the language component. Neither host family spoke any English whatsoever, which led to several misunderstandings, but these misunderstandings are essential in understanding a language different from your own. In Buenos Aires, the host family was a bit cold and narrow minded (which I learned is just a cultural characteristic.) I became frustrated on several occasions, but this is something one must learn to deal with when experiencing other cultures. However in Peru, the host family was the complete opposite in that they were beyond welcoming and extremely intrigued by myself and my fellow American students. The host family was more than willing to do anything for my roommate and I. Also, it should be added, that in both countries host families were perfectly willing to give me complete freedom outside of the household. All that they asked was that I told them if I did not plan on coming home at night, and if I did tell them, they were perfectly content with letting me do whatever it was I wanted to do.

* Food:

In both countries host parents regularly asked if I was satisfied with the meals they gave me. This area seemed to be of particular concern to both host families, and they were more than willing to buy certain things I preferred over things I may have not preferred.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Both countries offered extremely important experiences for me. I would highly recommend the multi-country program because visits to the Iguazu Falls and Machu Picchu are included, both of which are unique wonders that may not be around in the future. I loved my experience with the multi-country program because it basically offered two study abroad experiences in one semester, which kept me constantly engaged in South American culture. This program provided me with 4 of the most memorable months I have experienced in life thus far.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

In both cities the safety concerns were highlighted thoroughly and even overemphasized. I was disappointed in the fact that several students were even frightened to travel around the cities because of things the program described. However, I understand the need to emphasize safety concerns. Nothing ever happened to me in either city that I would consider dangerous unless it was something I actively sought out for myself. Several students had things stolen in both cities but no one was subject to any violent attack.

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

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)

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
Language acquisition improvement?

The courses certainly fine-tuned my language skills and promoted my use of those language skills outside of the classroom. The learning of a new language requires 70% responsibility on the individuals part to actively use the language and not be afraid to experiment with it, and a 30% responsibility on the part of the institution teaching the appropriate technical language skills, which both universities did thoroughly.

If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Two countries in one program.
  • Two unique "out of school" trips included.
  • Two safe and rich cultures.
* What could be improved?
  • More accurate housing placement.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? My only words of wisdom would be to keep an open mind. Do not think in terms of things you would do in the United States, think of this program as an opportunity to do things you would NEVER do in the United States. You will be glad you did.