Great for those with little foreign experience, less so for the well-traveled Past Review

By (Materials Science and Engineering, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor) - abroad from 02/01/2011 to 07/16/2011 with

ISA Study Abroad in Valparaíso/Viña del Mar, Chile

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Was it worthwhile? Yes and no. I was hoping for a little more of an authentic experience - less 'tourist-y'. Some of that was on me; I could have done more to try to get myself involved in the culture, but some of it was a result of the program trying to save us from being uncomfortable. On the other hand, I had a blast, and I'm still happy I went.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: Universidad Adolfo Ibañez, Viña del Mar
How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

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?

* Safety:

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


* 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)

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? Yes
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 50


* 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? Intermediate
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? 4th year of study
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? If your language skills are decent coming in, try to find independent housing with other students - it'll be far easier to make (non-American) friends

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
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?
  • Administrative stuff was generally made easy
  • Great local support
  • Not overly expensive
* What could be improved?
  • Fewer mandatory programs for study abroad students
  • Make it easier to find shared student housing (not through host family/pensión)
  • More help getting visas beforehand
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Pensiónes aren't really much different from host families - if you want to live with students, arrange your own housing.