Merida, Mexico: Rigorous Academics, Cultural Immersion Past Review

By (Spanish Language and Literature., Berea College) for

KIIS: Merida - Experience Merida, Summer Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Though I could have chose a program closer related to my interests, the program provided a very holistic experience by offering excursion experience but leaving the rest to the student to discover.

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.

The teachers taught according to the university education system in the United States. They graded per assignment, a certain percentage of each type of assignment counting towards your final grade. Much discussion and student involvement in presenting information to the class was involved. I took one course at the school I had courses in, that class being ridiculously simple (copy and memorize) and not very engaging. The teacher and students were almost always late for class as well.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The on-site director did extremely well in meeting our needs and communicating with the program director. She was born and raised in the city so she knows much about the area and her choice of professors proves her knowledge of the American higher education system. The program size was perfect for getting to know fellow students, but being able to branch out as well. Too big would have been overwhelming.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family lived the farthest away from the school than other students, but thankfully my family provided me with a bike to get around. Since I was in a large city, transportation to where I needed to be was extremely well accessible. My host family treated me like I was a family member, aiding to my needs and expecting the same respect and engagement towards them.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Every day, there was some cultural event going on in the Centro, including weekly dance presentations. There was also a time in the Fall where there were offered 52 Yucatecan cultural events to attend for free. Important Mexican holidays were celebrated via parades, firework shows, presentations in the main park, etc.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Merida is one of the safest cities in Mexico, safer even then some US cities, so there was little worry of danger. We had a doctor we could go to if we were sick, easily accessible.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? N
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Your international insurance may not cover certain expenses, like if you have a cold and need meds.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 315
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

Spanish was spoken in every class. Most people spoke Spanish to program participants. It was necessary to speak Spanish to interact with our host families and everyone who lived in the city.

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

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? A student wanting to get an idea of Mexican and Latin American culture through experiences and class time.