Challenging at times, but incredibly eye-opening and rewarding. Past Review

By (Claremont McKenna College) - abroad from 07/21/2016 to 12/17/2016 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: MIddlebury in Buenos Aires

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot about the role I play and my country plays on an international level and how our actions can have dire affects on others in ways I didn't fully understand before.

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.

The classes were good, not as difficult as CMC ones, but difficult compared to other abroad courses from what I have heard. That said, there is NO support at UBA really, but that't just a cultural difference that one should expect and learn from

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Sometimes I felt like it might have been better to have more opportunities to bring together the students and staff from the program so we got to know each other better and felt like we had more of a community to rely on while we were there.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

After I switched host families, I was very happy with my second. The program was great at helping me switch.

* Food:

Quite small portions and not super healthy, but mostly just cultural differences, nothing family-specific or anything like that.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It was hard to get to know local students well because many lived fairly far out of the city.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I can't really answer, because I never had an experience with healthcare.

* Safety:

Buenos Aires can definitely be unsafe if you are not aware of your surroundings. That said, if you stay aware of your surroundings and how you are presenting yourself, you can avoid issues for the most part.

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

I would choose the same program because academically it was hands down the best fit for me. That said, socially, I would have much preferred one of the larger programs, because only having 11 people on my program was tough at times.

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)

Food is incredibly cheap in Argentina.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $40-50
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Make restaurant reservations online, often times you get a 15% discount.

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? Fluent
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Spanish 125B
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Watch tv/listen to the radio/read books in Spanish

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

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • That everyone took speaking Spanish very seriously
  • That I directly enrolled in UBA
  • The in-country program staff were always there to help us
* What could be improved?
  • I would like to see more things done with the program as a whole so students feel they have more of a solid support system
  • The program should have more back up host families arranged more in advance
  • The culture class through Middlebury could be restructured to be more effective/meaningful. More field trips to relevant places, for instance, could be really great.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known just how much emphasis the Midd program places on autonomy, because I definitely did have some times where I struggled with it and felt lonely and like I didn't have even a fraction of the support system that I am used to having at CMC, and that can be very difficult. Personally, I was fine with it and grew thanks to it, but I can see some people really struggling and perhaps even developing some mental health issues that they would not be completely prepared for.

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!