My life has changed because of this experience. Past Review

By (Fordham University) - abroad from 01/18/2012 to 05/16/2012 with

Universidad Centroamericana, José Simeón Cañas: El Salvador - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I have gained a new outlook on life that connects my life with those in the most oppressed parts of the world. My spiritual life flourished as a result of this experience and I look forward to bringing all these insights back to the Fordham community. My heart feels ready to take on the world and show it that it can still change for the better.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: University of Central America (UCA)
How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I definitely learned in and out of the classroom. In fact, all my classes really did a nice job of using personal experiences in the country to make the class more relevant. I sometimes felt that even though my main goal with studying abroad is as a student, I thought the reading assignments and other essays asked of us sometimes took away from our experience of being with the Salvadorean people. It was a balancing act at times, but it was well worth it. I sometimes had to decide between doing a programmed activity with the group, or staying in to do the assigned homework. At the same time, professors were very helpful and understanding when it came to our work load.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Kevin and Trena and all the CC's were phenomenal

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Casa Romero was simple and exactly what I expected from this experience. It met all my needs.

* Food:

Loved every meal... The cooks at the house were incredible.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The program does a great job of easing you into the culture. I felt comfortable being a latino with Cuban parents, but others felt a little awkward (Which is totally normal). I will always be an outsider going into the culture, and that was something I had to recognize from the getgo. I loved my community at San Antonio Abad. I felt welcomed and incorporated into all aspects of their life.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The chances of getting sick are pretty high, so they did a great job of double checking the food given to us and having an on call doctor at all times. Health is a huge priority for the program.

* Safety:

The safety precautions at times feel a bit restrictive, but they are understandable given the situation of El Salvador. I think the rules are fair and critical.

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


* 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)

Everything was incredibly cheap. The American Dollar goes a long way in El Salvador. Only had to pay for weekend meals and it was not expensive at all.

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? Yes
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $20... Average. Sometimes nothing.


* 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

Anytime we were present with Salvadorans we were told to speak in Spanish, unless the Salvadorans wanted to practice English with us (Happened once a week).

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? Exit Level
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? Practice even thinking in Spanish and take every opportunity to speak it. Don't be afraid to make a mistake or ask stupid questions. The Salvadorans are very helpful and excited to help you with your spanish.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
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 Praxis Site relationships were phenomenal. They stress that alot.
  • The Food is healthy and delicious...
  • Being able to have classes and professors that are aware of our unique experiences and take advantage of that
* What could be improved?
  • Less reading assignments (history course) or less mandatory programs... felt overwhelmed at times
  • Eating the same half-cold Pupusas every Thursday got old pretty fast (Only negative on the food)
  • Have the directors do more one on one check ins with people
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Nothing. I rather have no expectations and learn along the way. But if I had to say something, to be gentle with myself and others in the initial stages. It can definitely get overwhelming at times