Reconsider A Different Program Past Review

By (Public Health and Latin American Studies, Westminster College, UT) - abroad from 08/24/2016 to 12/07/2016 with

SIT Study Abroad: Argentina - Public Health in Urban Environments

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Not only did I learn about myself, I was able to learn how to stick up for myself (in Spanish) in difficult situations. The director and advisors of the program want you to feel like you have no control over the circumstances you are in if you do not agree with the way they are running things. It is important that as hardworking students, not only do we get what we paid for, but most importantly we get treated with a certain amount of respect.

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.

Good luck trying to figure out what the advisors expect you to write on your exams. If you want any clarification on why you missed points on an assignment/exam, you will be better off confused because there is no logical way advisors/directors of the program go about grading work.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I LOVE my host Mom, we still talk frequently. When it comes to the home-stay director... again, good luck! If you have ANY dietary restrictions be prepared to not eat all day or bring EXTRA money to buy your own food because when they say they provide food for students they mean those without dietary restrictions. Also, if you do have a complaint about anything going on within the program, keep it to yourself. The director will stick up for her fellow coworkers (its an Argentine thing).

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in a not so pleasant part of town and other than the neighborhood being dangerous/far out from other students, adapting to everything else comes with time.

* Food:

If you have ANY dietary restrictions bring extra cash. Although SIT states they will pay for X amount of meals, this is untrue if you have dietary restrictions. They will most likely forget about you.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Get ready for people to take photos of you on the Subte! Don't let it get to you though. Always be cautious and spend your days like a Porteño/a (this means speaking Spanish on public transit!).

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Issues were not always addressed clearly and oftentimes students were confused asking advisors for clarification.

* Safety:

There is always a risk of danger wherever you go. Do not be anxious just be aware.

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

The program is flawed, it has the potential to be good. The director needs to go. I have never met such disrespectful professionals in my life. All of the advisors will be extremely unprofessional towards students if you are not seeing eye to eye with the director. It is clear this program really does not care who learns what, they just want American money. Also, the director believes all Public Health students will go on to become doctors... So if she finds out that you will not be going to medical school to become a doctor, she no longer cares about your existence on this planet.

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)

SIT never gave me money for my Taxi ride to the airport and I had to pay for the majority of my meals near the end of my trip. I rarely ate out at restaurants. It is more realistic to live off $100 a week in the beginning of the program.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I spent around $40 a week (not including meals SIT was supposed to pay for)
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? The markets in BA can be pricey. Definitely save up if you are wanting to bring back gifts/buy wine in Mendoza! I would recommend finding a (paid) internship in Public Health focusing on policy. If you are bilingual,definitely look for (paying) opportunities where you can brush up on your Spanish! I did not do any of this before my trip, but it would have helped. You can also work at a restaurant, save your tips and spend it all in South America (it worked for me)!

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? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
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.PRACTICE.PRACTICE. Argentine Spanish will probably be different than any Spanish you have ever used before. I grew up speaking Spanish from Mexico and I was in for a surprise when I got to Argentina. Talk to yourself loud and proud in Spanish, schedule an appointment to speak with a Spanish professor on campus, or watch telenovelas. Anything to get you comfortable with the language will help out tremendously!

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

  • International 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?
  • learning how to speak Argentinian Spanish
  • interacting with different communities
  • hands on experience
* What could be improved?
  • leadership
  • structure
  • organization
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew that the Spanish course would not end up covering medical Spanish like the syllabus states. I would have preferred that a medical Spanish course be required before taking Epidemiology in Spanish and feeling completely lost.