Middlebury Buenos Aires: the best study abroad program out there!! March 10, 2020

By (Environmental Analysis, Pomona College) - abroad from 02/28/2017 to 07/28/2017 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: MIddlebury in Buenos Aires

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned how to live abroad! How to soak in everyday experiences and see the beauty and importance of living in other people's realities. I learned a language that I have always wanted to learn, but struggled to really master in the traditional classroom. I learned that the study of memory and collective history is incredibly important. I made friends that I still keep in touch with. And lastly, I made a home and a family away from the U.S. that I will always go back to.

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 was incredibly challenged and was pushed academically in a way that I will always remember. Being with the Middlebury program inspired me to take advantage of my host university experience and to think about my U.S. education in a completely different light. I feel like I really grew as a student, and came back to my home university better equipped for my last year of undergrad.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The directors of the Middlebury in Buenos Aires program are some of the most inspiring and dedicated educators I have ever met. I was very supported emotionally and academically, and couldn't have had such a positive experience without the Middlebury staff. They have created a program that is truly immersive and gives students the opportunity to truly "live abroad" and learn about the history and culture of Buenos Aires and Argentina on a whole.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was incredibly satisfied with my living arrangement! I was living at a home stay, and to this day stay in contact with my host mother. I lived another year in Argentina after I graduated from undergrad and would regularly visit her. Middlebury had done such a wonderful job vetting and assigning each student with the best fit living arrangements, that I couldn't have imagined how much work and know-how it must have taken to create such a wonderful network of hosts.

* Food:

Food was great! My host mom was well informed on what my dietary needs, and the program made sure that I was being well taken care of!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Middlebury is not like your regular study abroad programs in Buenos Aires. I felt like I had integrated with the local culture and made friends that I still keep in contact with today. Middlebury made sure we had the institutional support and curriculum that would facilitate the most authentic exchange experience.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I ended up hurting my shoulder due to a sports injury, and the Middlebury program was incredibly helpful. They went over medical procedures in orientation thoroughly, however, when it came to actually using those procedures, Middlebury went above and beyond. One of the program directors took me to the hospital and made sure I had agency in the situation and understood everything that was going on.

* Safety:

Like any major city, you have to be careful. However, Middlebury does a really good job of preparing students and informing them of the realities of the city's safety situation. I would say my best advice is to listen to the Middlebury directors and stay cautious, but also don't let that impede you from exploring and learning about your host culture!

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

I owe a lot of my personal and academic growth to the Middlebury study abroad experience. Without these amazing educators, I wouldn't have applied to, and in the end awarded, the Fulbright grant. I wouldn't have developed my Spanish skills to what they are today, and I wouldn't have this growing curiosity to keep learning and living abroad. I don't mean this to sound overzealous, but it's really true.

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)

I would say that Buenos Aires is not the most student-budget friendly, but it's very manageable if you plan well and spend wisely. Just like any other major city

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

Middlebury's language pledge is the only reason why I am so proficient in Spanish. Although speaking in solely Spanish while abroad is incredibly challenging, it was so helpful for my language development in the long run and helped me develop a perspective on the language that I would have never gotten if I hadn't agreed to the task! The professors and directors taught us the language in a truly hands-on, immersive way that is unique to many other study abroad programs.

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? Spanish 101
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? Speak as much as you can, and practice! Don't let shame or embarrassment from making mistakes discourage you from practicing.

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
  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The educators (directors and professors)
  • The location
  • The program support
* What could be improved?
  • Length of program (wish it could've been longer)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known how important it was for me to say yes to the plethora of educational experiences that would present themselves to me while abroad. I think I was hesitant because I had my own preconceived notions of what my experience was supposed to be like, but the only regret I have is not doing more and taking advantage of where I was when I was there!

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'