Formative, eye-opening, igniting July 11, 2017

By (Truman State University) - abroad from 02/01/2017 to 07/01/2017 with

ISEP Exchange: Buenos Aires - Exchange Program at Universidad del Salvador

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Definitely worthwhile. I learned a lot about the world, Argentina, and the United States. I learned even more about myself and what interests me.

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.

All of my courses utilized lecture-style instruction with minimal technology to supplement, so staying focused and engaged was at times a challenge for me. All of my professors clearly had a great grasp on the content and were able to talk about their respective topics in a way that was interesting. The evaluation of each course was based on either one or two assignments: an essay and an exam.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I highly recommend living with a host family! My host mom was very welcoming and helpful. She loves Argentina so much and shared so many stories about its history and politics with us. She was also very patient with my roommate and I with our respective levels of Spanish fluency.

* Food:

I am not sure if this is relating to the food in my host's house or the food that I came into contact with in the country. My host mom was a fabulous cook, so I would rate her food five stars. The food that I purchased on my own in Buenos Aires tended to be pretty expensive. The food, however, was delicious. I enjoyed the plentiful empanada shops and endless heladerias and cafeterias where I bought so many medialunas. I am not accustomed to eating so much meat, so that part of the diet was a bit of a shock to my system.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I wish that I had integrated myself more with my Argentine classmates but I often resorted to speaking in English with my fellow United Statesians. I found a nice group of Argentines whom I hung out with a few times. As far as immersing myself in the culture and history of the country, I would say that Buenos Aires is a wonderful place to do that. I feel like I learned so much about this country's identity and origins.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I suggest you never keep things in unzipped pockets or in exterior pockets of your backpack/purses. I heard of a few instances of people getting mugged or pick-pocketed but I was fortunate to not have had any negative experiences with safety. Another element of safety that is worth consideration is planning how to get home after a night out with friends. When it comes to safety, it is always worth the money to pay for a taxi that takes you right to your door if you have to walk a lot by yourself at night. My friends and I were good about walking each other home and making sure no one was walking alone when it got to be pretty late. This was not a huge issue for me because I lived on a major street with many bus stops within two blocks of my house, but this was something that some of my other female friends had to think about when planning their return transportation. A positive aspect of Buenos Aires nightlife is that you can pretty much count on there being people on the street at all hours of the night.

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

Argentina is beautiful and a wonderful place to immerse yourself. Buenos Aires opens itself up to visitors. Transportation is easy, people are nice, and there is literally always something to do. My teachers and host family were amazing.

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? I probably spent around $100/week if I was being very economical.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Figure out what big things you want to do and budget for those first before spending all of your money on delicious ice cream five times a week.

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? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
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? I would advise future study abroad participants to sign up for things that are going to make you practice the language. Whether it is signing up for a sports team, volunteering, joining a youth group, getting a job, etc. These types of things will help you combat the urge to speak your native language with your friends all the time. Also, make friends who also want to improve their language skills. Once you establish a language with a friend, it gets increasingly more difficult to switch. I recommend splitting your time at LEAST half and half between your native language and your L2. If your school offers a tutoring service, take advantage of it because you are probably going to hear so many different uses of the L2 that are going to be new and possibly confusing and having a tutor there to help you navigate the dialect will be invaluable. Make so many mistakes and thank people who correct you.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • 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?
  • The people that I met, my independence, and my host mom.
* What could be improved?
  • I wanted to meet more Argentines, but I understand that I definitely could have done that myself but chickened out/got lazy.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It flies by so much faster than you think.

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!