Great experience (with some drawbacks) January 13, 2017

By (Berea College) - abroad from 09/10/2016 to 12/10/2016 with

KIIS: Merida - Experience Merida Semester Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I improved my Spanish, made some great friends, discovered Mexico through a new lens, visited wonderful sites, and learned to dance Salsa. It was worthwhile.

Review Photos

KIIS: Merida - Experience Merida Semester Program Photo KIIS: Merida - Experience Merida Semester Program Photo KIIS: Merida - Experience Merida Semester Program Photo KIIS: Merida - Experience Merida Semester Program Photo

Personal Information

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

Claudia was so helpful and nice. It was a pleasure to have met her.

* 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? Yes

I had a wonderful experience, but I did not like some elements about the program. The group was dominated by one college (17 out of 20 students were from the same college), and this put the other 3 students in a different position. The Program Director was not as attentive in making some assignments, which let the other 3 students (including myself) feel like the "outsiders." I think more diversity (in terms of Colleges) would have fixed this issue.

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? About $10.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? To not take all the money they have when they go out. If you bring only a certain portion, it is easier not to spend too much.

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? Advanced
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? SPN 315
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 for the students to integrate themselves into the local culture where the locals hang out: dancing classes, library, university activities, and etc.

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

  • 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?
  • Homestay expeience
  • Literature Class
  • Travelling
* What could be improved?
  • The composition of the study abroad group.
  • The assignments that appear more as busy work than critical thinking.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Not applicable.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Linguistic Class

Course Department:
Instructor: Jason Doroga
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: The topic of the class was interesting, but many assignments seemed to be busy-work and the exams were extremely long and tedious. Except this, I learned a lot.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Literature Class

Course Department:
Instructor: MARIA DEL MAR PATRON VAZQUEZ
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: Excellent class. The teacher cared about our progress, pushed us to exceed and think critically in Spanish, and set the conditions for us to speak only Spanish in class.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Culture Class

Course Department:
Instructor: Silvia Navarrete Rivero
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: It did not feel like this was a College level class. The expectations were not clear. I don't think I have learned much.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Insiders and Outsiders

Course Department:
Instructor: Jason Doroga
Instruction Language: English
Comments:
Credit Transfer Issues: