A moment for growth February 13, 2017

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 08/24/2015 to 05/06/2016 with

Sarah Lawrence College: Havana - Sarah Lawrence College in Cuba

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
That every place has its own reality and what is true in one culture can be a lie in another and yet it is always possible to make connections with those that we cannot understand and cannot understand us as long as there is respect in between

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

They place was beautiful but the working conditions of the ladies that did the house keeping were exploitative.

* Food:

We were very privileged, they tried their best to work within the food limitation in Cuba.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

There was one time I needed to get my eye checked and when I went to the hospital for cuban non-residents I was told that they couldn't find my insurance. Later a Cuban friend took me to a hospital for cubans were I was able to see a doctor to check my eye's irritation.

* Safety:

I felt very safe, although like in any city you might encounter with unsafe situations. During my first week there a friend from my program was assaulted and they took her purse.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

They program was not clear on how they were spending the money, made changes with little o zero previous notification to the students, were not understanding of students concerns.

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)

Cuba isn't too expensive yet I spent most of my money in food because I am a vegetarian and the vegetarian dishes were mostly in restaurants.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? depending the week but mostly $100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Not really, I need advise on that.

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? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? I am a native speaker
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? Do not be afraid/ ashamed to make mistakes usually people are very supportive and willing to help communicate.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* 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 Program's director assistant was very helpful
  • Salsa classes
  • classes
* What could be improved?
  • Comunication between staff and students
  • more involment in the working condition of their workers, not only cubans but the director/ and the assitant
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How to let go and flow in an active way with life.

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.