SIT Argentina: Amazing combination of environmental science and Spanish language February 16, 2023

By (Environmental Science, Allegheny College) - abroad from 09/05/2022 to 12/18/2022 with

SIT Study Abroad: Argentina: People, Environment, and Climate Change in Patagonia and Antarctica

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Absolutely! I gained the ability to adapt to another culture, the ability to speak Spanish effectively, confidence in myself, an understanding of a unique ecosystem, experience in a research lab, and many new friends!

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.

The academics were challenging but not overwhelming. The assignments were designed with purpose to help us learn and connect our topics of study. Sometimes the expectations were not clear in the assignments, but the professors were always available to help clarify the expectations. The workload varied greatly between weeks, but there was sufficient free time during the semester to explore the city of Ushuaia. The assignments were not returned very quickly, but they always had clear feedback. The independent research/internship component at the end of the program was a huge academic and networking opportunity as well. The mentors for this end of semester project were different for each student, and I had a wonderful experience.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The homestay component was one of the best parts of this program. I learned more Spanish and culture from my homestay family than I could have learned in a class.

* Food:

My host family cooked amazing food, and there are decent restaurants in Ushuaia. Argentinian food has lots of bread and meat. Due to the remote location of Ushuaia, fresh fruits and vegetables are available but limited. There are also vegetarian options in all the restaurants.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The Argentinian culture is extremely welcoming, which made it a great place to learn language and culture without feeling intimidated.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I personally did not have health issues during the program, but there are multiple hospitals and clinics in Ushuaia. The program assistant is always available to help make and attend appointments with students if necessary. I received a typhoid vaccine before departure, but there were no mandatory non-standard travel vaccines.

* Safety:

Ushuaia is EXTREMELY safe. I never felt uncomfortable in the city, even when I was walking alone at night.

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

This program had strong academics in environmental science combined with an intensive Spanish-language experience. I learned a lot, had a wonderful time, felt supported by my program and host family, and made lasting connections with locals in Ushuaia.


* 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)

All food is included in the tuition. Our host families provided breakfast and dinner, and we received a stipend that was more than enough to cover our lunches. The only personal money I spent was on additional activities in my free time and souvenirs.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $30 USD
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? You can buy ingredients and cook food for your lunches in your host family's kitchen which makes your food much cheaper.


* 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

All of our classes and communications with our professors were in Spanish. We also spoke Spanish with our host families. We were encouraged to use Spanish when talking with other students, which only happened sometimes.

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? 400 level Spanish
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? I encourage students to use Spanish when speaking to each other so the Spanish immersion is not broken with English throughout the day. Also, ask when you don't understand something. Pretending to understand does not help you learn the language and leads to awkward situations. The best way to learn is to just keep practicing and learning from your mistakes, so talk as much as possible.

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

  • Americans
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?
  • Excursions / Field Trips
  • Homestay experience
  • Spanish language in a scientific context
* What could be improved?
  • Assignment expectations
  • Workload balance throughout the semester
  • Spanish language classes
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? There are warm days in Ushuaia, so it is important to bring clothing for all types of weather.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!