Full of Growth! August 13, 2018

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 03/01/2018 to 07/31/2018 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Montevideo

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes, it was definitely a worthwhile experience. I think most of all it's just learning to be okay in uncomfortable situations, and perhaps even more than that, expanding the scope of my comfortability so that I'm more comfortable in situations in the future than I would be if I never pushed myself out of my original comfort zone. I also gained friendships as mentioned above, and feel like I gained a better understanding of Latin America and Uruguay through both my classes and my experiences.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The courses were similar to Middlebury in terms of rigor/how much I learned.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Sylvias was amazing. Always well-prepared, and I felt safe with her as our guide, in that I felt like she provided us with all the necessary safety information. She also provided us with interesting/relative cultural information/practices and took us to neat places where we were able to learn more about and become more integrated into the culture. She is also just a fun, understanding person. She is efficient and timely, and I always knew she'd be there to support/help me if I had any problems.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Good setup for me.

* Food:

I cooked for myself.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I didn't hang out/make friends with very many Uruguayans, which is definitely the best way to be integrated into the local culture. I more just made friends with the people in the program. I really liked my housing situation, but it felt more like a tenant/landlord situation than a family situation (although we did a few family-ish things together). Taking classes and just spending time in the city/country integrated me a little, though.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't have any problems.

* Safety:

I felt pretty safe at all times, and sufficient safety advice was provided.

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

The program is run really well. I like the balance of doing things as a group, but also mostly being independent (but able to get help if necessary). The coordinator, Sylvia, was wonderful. She puts a lot of thought/effort into every facet of the program -- from matching people to homes to organizing cultural activities. I also really liked my classes. Additionally, I made a few really great friends (albeit from the US).

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? My situation was a little different because I am married and my husband joined me. Rough estimate, but we probably spent about 100 each week on food between the two of us. We cooked for ourselves and only ate out minimally.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Western Union is a good choice for money transfer.

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? Advanced
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? lower 300 level
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? Just push yourself to make friends. Don't worry about messing up; everybody messes up and nobody cares.

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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • other students in my program
  • balance of indpendence/group activites
  • university/classes
* What could be improved?
  • the half-credit Spanish course
  • NA
  • NA
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Can't think of anything.

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Contemporary History of Latin America

Course Department: International Studies
Instructor: Pedro Isern
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: I didn't always understand the class, especially at first, because Pedro kind of mumbles and talks in circles, and he didn't have a powerpoint with notes, which left me feeling kind of lost at times. He was definitely knowledgeable and well-prepared, if a little boring. I participated less than I normally would. There was one presentation, two tests, and a 15 page partner paper. I think they were more or less assessed fairly.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Culture and Society

Course Department: International Studies
Instructor: Sebastian Moreno
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: Covered a lot of topics, but in a way that didn't just feel shallow/surface level. Profesor Moreno was extremely knowledgable and always well-prepared for class; he made sure we understood the texts; however, at times, it felt like he was just repeating what the texts had to say. I participated less than I normally would at Middlebury. There were two shorter papers (2 and 5 pages respectively) and one longer research paper (15 pages). There were also two papers. Fairly graded.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Photography 101

Course Department: Communications
Instructor: Leo Barizzoni
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: I certainly learned how to use a camera, as well as a little about how the camera functions. So I would say it was definitely time well spent. However, I did feel like every thing we learned in the 3-hour long weekly classes we had for 4 months we could have learned in about 3 classes total. I expected to learn a bit more about what makes a good picture [planes, rules of thirds, don't know any more terms because i didn't learn them (shoulder shrug)], and more about the editing side of photography. The two assignments allowed me to practice/develop my skills. The teacher definitely knew what he was doing and was always well-prepared. I participated a normal amount.
Credit Transfer Issues: No.