Gaining perspective August 06, 2017

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 03/01/2017 to 07/28/2017 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: MIddlebury in Buenos Aires

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was absolutely worthwhile and probably one of the most important experiences I'll have as an undergraduate and as a person. I have much more confidence after being in Buenos Aires for a semester because I had to push my comfort zone in order to adapt and thrive in this new setting with new people, and I learned a lot about myself and how I want to interact with other people going forward. I'm also more relaxed in some ways because I am more comfortable thinking on my feet and not having everything so planned out all of the time. From a language and cultural immersion point of view, nothing can compare to a semester abroad.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I really enjoyed my educational experience at the Universidad de Buenos Aires. There is certainly a high academic standard and a good amount of reading, but it did not feel overwhelming and the other students at the university were very friendly and collaborative.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program administration in Buenos Aires was amazing. They did a wonderful job with orientation and supporting us throughout the semester, but were also hands-off and let us engage in the individual learning experiences that come with being abroad.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My housing situation was good. I liked being close to my university and having a roommate, but it was not the host family environment that I was originally anticipating. It ended up working out well, though, because I liked spending time outside of the house and engaging in all of the activities the city has to offer.

* Food:

I did not eat meals with my roommate, so I cannot comment on the food at the home stay. The food in the city is pretty good, but there is not a lot of variety and there are not many vegetables to be found. The parillas are excellent if you like meat!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The combination of the writing and cultural class we took through Middlebury, taking clases at the UBA, and my internship helped me understand more about life in Buenos Aires and integrate with the local culture, especially from a linguistic perspective.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I was fortunate in that I did not have to go to a hospital during my time in Buenos Aires, but I would have felt comfortable talking to our program administration about going if need be.

* Safety:

The city felt much safer than I had anticipated. It is important to be aware at all times and be cautious about taking a smartphone out on the street, but I did not have any problems with crime and I felt comfortable on the public transportation in the city.

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

I would definitely chose the same program. I really liked being in a city with so much going on and I enjoyed my university and internship immensely.

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? $100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? It seems cheaper to cook your own meals as opposed to paying your host family to cook for you, but of course it depends on what and how much you want to eat. In terms of transportation, I would recommend taking the buses and subways as much as possible because they are fairly safe and much cheaper than taxis.

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

We were on a language pledge, so we were constantly reminded to only speak in Spanish.

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
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 340
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? Challenge yourself to think in the target language. When you come across an object or situation you don't know how to explain in that language, look it up. Language is most useful when you apply it to your everyday life. It is also important to know that you are going to make a lot of mistakes and that is completely fine. Just keep practicing and asking for clarification if you don't understand. It's all part of the learning process.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Apartment
* 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?
  • People
  • Classes and internship
  • Living in the city
* What could be improved?
  • Living situation
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The first few weeks are a transition period. Don't worry if you are uncertain about how everything is going to play out. Give yourself some time to adjust and adapt because that is when you really grow, and you will be well rewarded after you have dealt with the initial challenges of studying abroad.

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:

Neurolinguistics

Course Department: Linguistics
Instructor: Virginia Jaichenco
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: The course was challenging because of the language barrier and because I do not have a linguistics background, but the material was very interesting and I was able to succeed with the help of a tutor and my classmates. We did not have field trips, but we did get to see clinical videos that complemented the lecture material. Our professors were all very knowledgeable and prepared for class. I participated in class less often than I would have at Middlebury because of the language barrier, but I tried to make up for it by engaging in conversations with the professors before or after class and clarifying material with the tutor. We were assessed by exams and one paper.
Credit Transfer Issues: I am still working on transferring the credit to a specific department, but I should not have any issues receiving general credit for this course.
Course Name/Rating:

Contemporary Migrations to Argentina

Course Department: Anthropological Sciences
Instructor: Maria Ines Pacecca
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: This course was challenging but did not have many required readings or rigid assignments, so there was a lot of flexibility to focus on subtopics that we were particularly interested in. We did not have field trips, but our professor was very knowledgeable on the topic and provided us with many examples to tie in the themes of the course. I participated in class less often than I would have at Middlebury due to the language barrier, but I tried to participate in small group discussions and touch base with the professor during break times. We were assessed with papers and one presentation.
Credit Transfer Issues: I am still in the process of getting department specific credit, but I should not have any problems getting general course credit for this class.