A Semester of Travel and New Friends Past Review

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 02/22/2017 to 07/15/2017 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Concepcion

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My Spanish greatly improved and I got better at conversing with people I didn't know. I also improved in advocating for myself and dealing with unexpected issues. I became more independent and braver.

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Overall, the academic experience was good. Some classes were more intensive than others. I had an incredible experience with my independent study, but other classes that were just fine. Mostly, professors were happy to help you and work with you as an international student. The library was helpful, but there was a limit of how many books international students could take out at a time, which was frustrating.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administrator was incredible, supportive and very helpful.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My living arrangements were clean and very well located. My host mom was nice and helpful, but occasionally her approach clashed with my approach.

* Food:

Food was fine. I was well fed and my host asked me my opinion. However, I would have preferred healthier options.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Despite efforts, it was hard to form very close connections with the other students. General integration was fine, and I was acquaintances with many, but close friends with very few.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had two health care problems while I was away. My program was able to assist me very thoroughly and my experience was a positive one.

* Safety:

Mostly I felt safe, but my phone was stolen right out of my hand near my house.

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

ConcepciĆ³n was the perfect place to study abroad. It was a city, but not so big that it was intimidating. I met incredible people and feel very lucky for the connections I made. The community of international students from other Latin American countries was very strong. The support that I had from the Middlebury program while I was there was extraordinary, and helped significantly, once I learned that if I had a problem all I had to do was reach out.


* 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)


* 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? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Upper 300 level (350+)
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? Immerse yourself in the language. While you are there, insist on using the target language.

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
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?
  • The other students
  • Travel possibilities
  • my independent study
* What could be improved?
  • Advice on what activities to do in the city/places to go
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? My program ahead of time really warned against becoming friends with international students and emphasized trying to make friends with local students. So, in my first months there, I didn't spend much time with the community of international students and I tried very hard to integrate in the local student community. It was very difficult, stressful, and not fruitful. After a while, I began to spend more time with the international students, the majority of whom were from other Latin American countries, and I found that it was an incredibly rewarding experience that allowed me to explore the city I was in, practice my spanish with different dialects of spanish, form lasting friendships, and enjoy my time. By far, my best study abroad experiences were through that group, and it was even the way that I made my best Chilean friend. I wish that my program hadn't condemned it so much in the beginning so I would have been able to enjoy the company of those people for much more time and have had a better overall experience.

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.'

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Genero, Sociedad y Educacion

Course Department:
Instructor: Clicie
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: There were only two assessments during the class and I feel that, while I worked very hard to prepare for those, it was not an accurate representation of how I did in the course. I got a very good grade in the course that did not reflect the amount I learned. During the semester, we missed a lot of classes because our professor was sick, and the professor spoke in a mixture of Portuguese and Spanish, which was hard to follow. During the course, I did not feel very engaged in the material.
Credit Transfer Issues: I don't know yet.
Course Name/Rating:


Course Department: Pedagogia en Espanol
Instructor: Soto
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: It was challenging but the professor was great and did a good job involving me in the class, making use of my expertise as an English-speaker to compare the sounds in English and Spanish.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Investigacion Independiente

Course Department:
Instructor: Soto
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: THIS CLASS WAS INCREDIBLE. My professor went above and beyond to make it an extraordinary experience.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Educacion, Sociedad y Desarrollo Humano

Course Department: Pedagogia en Espanol
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: The professor changed a month in, and the new professor was very strict. The theory we read was not very interesting and neither was the class discussion. The assignments were hard and I got very little feedback on how to improve.
Credit Transfer Issues: