A unique, life-changing experience Past Review

By (International Relations and Film Studies, Claremont McKenna College) - abroad from 02/28/2017 to 06/12/2017 with

SIT Study Abroad: Argentina - Social Movements and Human Rights

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Study abroad really changes you as person. You mature emotionally, socially, and academically. I came back from Argentina a more educated, passionate, and confident individual.

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 program really excels at improving your language skills. If you are willing to put in the work, you will come out with a strong grasp on Spanish. Additionally, the experiences with organizations in Buenos Aires are incredibly unique and eye-opening. Overall, you will learn a lot on this program--not just about Argentina and human rights, but also about yourself.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

All the program directors and staff were incredibly kind and helpful. Although things are sometimes disorganized and subject to change at the last minute, if you need something, the staff is always there for you.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The host family stay is an amazing experience. Almost everyone on the program had a good experience with their host family. My experience was wonderful and my host mom was kind and welcoming. She really helped immerse me in the culture and make me feel like part of the family.

* Food:

Most of your meals are with your host family. The program gives you a stipend for lunch. You will probably get tired of Argentine food, but Buenos Aires definitely offers you some great places to eat and a range of food, you just have to be willing to go out and look for them.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The host family does a great job of making you feel like a local. By the end of the program, you will really feel like you are at home in the city and know the ins and outs of getting around and finding cool places to hang out. However, I did not really get to make any local friends. The program is usually a small group of students and you spend a lot of time together. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it really decreases your chances of meeting locals. Not a lot of Argentines are willing to hang out with a large group of Americans. It is definitely possible to do so, but it requires a lot of work and commitment on your end.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I personally had no need to make use of the healthcare system while I was in Buenos Aires. However, most experiences other students had were relatively negative. Although the staff was incredibly caring and attentive for the students who were sick, the actual process of paying for health care was tedious and required people to jump through a lot of hoops. But still everyone got the care they needed.

* Safety:

I felt totally safe in Buenos Aires. As long as you use common sense, it is just like any other city in the world. Be smart and aware of your surroundings, but there is no need to be worried about safety.

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

I don't think I would have had many of the experiences I got on this program anywhere else. The program focus is unique and perfectly paired with the location.


* 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)

When I was in Buenos Aires, Argentina was experiencing high inflation. The prices were equivalent to what you would see in LA, but you were only receiving in stipends what locals would be spending a month. There wasn't much that the program could do to fix this issue. Even the program staff and host families were commenting on how expensive everything was getting. Depending on local conditions, it is possible to live on the budget, but it can be difficult.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $50
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? How much you spend really depends on what you want to do with your time in Buenos Aires. If you go out every night, you are going to end up spending a lot of money and probably miss out on a lot of the unique things Buenos Aires has to offer. I suggest taking advantage of the opportunities Buenos Aires has to offer and spend your money on the experiences you can't get anywhere else. If you really want to save money, take advantage of the meals with your host family.


* 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

The program really encourages you to speak the language and pushes you to use it all the time.

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? Spanish 44 (equivalent of 2 years of college 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? How much you speak Spanish is really up to you. You have the opportunity to only be speaking Spanish for the entire program if you want. Though a bit of balance will probably be good. Your host family is a great resource to practice your language skills. Be sure to go the events they invite you to, it is really the best way to practice.

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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Language Improvement
  • Experiential Learning
  • Program Focus on Human Rights
* What could be improved?
  • Organization
  • Flow of information
  • Contact with local students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Not everything will be organized and clear, but that's okay. Take this time to learn to adapt to new things quickly and live a lifestyle that isn't perfectly planned out. Don't compare it to the way things are in the U.S. because it won't be anything like that, but that's a good thing.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'