Soy celeste! Past Review

By (Hispanic and Latin American Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, General., Western Washington University) - abroad from 07/29/2013 to 12/14/2013 with

ISEP Exchange: Montevideo - Exchange Program at Universidad Católica del Uruguay

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My time in Montevideo was very well spent. I felt like I was able to learn more about and experience a culture that I knew almost nothing about prior to my arrival. Aside from the intercambio office and unfriendly local students, I really enjoyed attending this university. I learned to be more independent and gained a lot of confidence in my ability to speak and understand Spanish. Of course, my favorite part of the entire experience was being able to travel, both in and out of the country. Do everything! See everything! Uruguay is a charming little country with many little hidden treasures.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The courses designed for the international students are not very rigorous, which of course could be a positive thing, but at the same time I do not feel like my knowledge of Spanish was improved through classes.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The coordinators at la Catolica are very unfriendly. I never felt comfortable enough to ask them for any help, and even if I did, they made me feel very uncomfortable and unwelcome. Also, they do not organize any activities, trips, nor events for international students.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived with two host families. At first, I lived with an older woman and her daughter. However, her daughter was never home and the woman never offered to do anything. She was very condescending, and I was bored all the time. I was able to switch host families and ended up living with a mother, her three children, and another international student. This turned out to be a better situation, however, I still did not feel like I was very welcomed in to their home. If I could do it over again, I probably would not choose to live with a host family, but rather in a residential apartment with other international students.

* Food:

Overall, Uruguayan food is very good. Lots of meat, so vegetarians beware. When it comes to my host family though, there was not always food available. Sometimes there was no bread to eat for breakfast, so I had to go to class hungry. Also, I never received lunch while living with my host family. Granted, I was in class during lunch time, but it seemed like all my classmates' host families would make them a lunch to take to class. We typically ate dinner together, but sometimes I had to make dinner just for myself if no one was home.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The Uruguayan students at la Catolica are not really receptive toward international students. Especially in classes beyond first year, the students seem to already have their own "groups", so it is very difficult to try and be friends or even talk with them. Outside of class, I loved going to ferias on the weekends and experiencing Uruguayan culture through their holidays and day-to-day activities, such as walking along the rambla.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not have any health issues while abroad. I did know one international student who needed to go to the hospital for an injury, and they seemed to have taken good care of him.

* Safety:

As a female, you always have to be a little more cautious. You will have men say things to you and stare at you while you are walking around the city. Also, girls, DO NOT wear anything revealing (short shorts, short dresses, short skirts), because you will be verbally harassed and stared at by random men and likely feel very uncomfortable. Do whatever you can to not look like a tourist, especially at ferias (Tristan Narvaja, especially). Other than that, just be aware of your surroundings and do not go anywhere alone at night; especially Ciudad Vieja.

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


* 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)

Uruguay is a very expensive country. Anything imported (shampoos, lotion, imported food) is easily two to three times more expensive than it normally would be. Just be very conscience of your money and how you spend it!

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? There are plenty of apps out there that help you keep track of your money.


* 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

Obviously, we were expected to use Spanish in class, however, there were not repercussions if we spoke to one another in our native languages.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • International Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Being able to travel
  • Interacting with other international students
* What could be improved?
  • The intercambio office
  • The language class - Idioma Espanol
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? If you take only intercambio classes, your finals will be over very early, which allows you almost a month of free time before the program ends. If I had known that I was going to have so much free time, I would have saved more money in order to travel more.

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!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Literatura Uruguaya II

Course Department:
Instructor: Elvira Blanco Blanco
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: Elvira is a fantastic teacher. She does a good job at explaining the readings, which for the most part are pretty interesting and entertaining. She did, however, make up some assignments out of nowhere and gave us very little time to do them. Great course overall!
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Idioma Espanol B2

Course Department:
Instructor: Sylvia Podesta
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: This was probably my least favorite class. I really did not feel like my Spanish improved as a result of this class, and Sylvia was kind of everywhere when it came to course material. You would honestly be better off taking a normal class with other Uruguayan students if you want to improve your Spanish. Not a recommendable course.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Pensamiento en America Latina y Uruguay

Course Department:
Instructor: Susana Monreal
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: This is basically a crash course on the history of Uruguay. It is entirely lecture aside from three papers you will write that have nothing to do with the material reviewed in class. I always took notes in this class but found that we were never going be tested on the material or have to apply it to our papers. Interesting and easy course overall.
Credit Transfer Issues: