Surpassed all my expectations!!!! An Amazing Experience! January 05, 2023

By (Diplomacy and World Affairs, Occidental College) - abroad from 08/23/2023 to 12/06/2023 with

SIT Study Abroad: Argentina - Social Movements and Human Rights

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned about myself and gained so much maturity, confidence, and patience. I felt like a part of the local culture with friends in my community. I gained new inspiration and perspective about social movements and human rights, especially in Latin America and the Global South, which you can't get at a US university. I felt empowered, overcoming my anxieties and becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable, confused, and embarrassed in new situations. It made me realize that I am capable of not only surviving, but thriving, in an unfamiliar environment.

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.

I loved the experiential nature of this program -- many classes were led by guest professors and experts, or were on-site visits and field trips to human rights organizations and social movements. This made me inspired, and helped me gain an on-the-ground understanding of social movements in Buenos Aires. I found the independent study project extremely rewarding and empowering -- at first, I didn't think I would be able to conduct interviews and research in Spanish, but the program prepares you very well and helps you throughout the whole process, and by the end I was able to write a 40 page research paper! The workload is feasible and the professors and directors are very understanding that you are learning in a second language and dealing with many other overlapping challenges at the same time!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff on this program are truly angels. They are so welcoming, warm, and lovely, and make you feel instantly at home. I felt so comfortable coming to them with any problem, concern, minor question, etc. and they were always so helpful and caring. They also attend to your mental health and ensure you have regular one on one check ins, group reflection opportunities, etc.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

The cafes and pastries were a highlight, especially churros and dulce de leche. It was definitely an adjustment because there is a lot of meat, and not a lot of spice, which I missed :)

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I joined a local Ultimate Frisbee team, which was so much fun because I made friends with locals and learned a lot about their socializing, lifestyles, free time, etc. Going out to bars, cafes, parks was also so easy, and riding public transit helped integrate me into the local cultura. Also, there are SO many free events like dance classes, performances, exhibitions, etc. ALL the time throughout the city. And I was there for the World Cup, which was simply indescribable.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I had no problems. You do have to be cautious of your belongings, especially on public transit, but I felt very safe throughout my entire time.

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

I was so nervous going into the program, but looking back on it, I had nothing to be afraid of. Although it was challenging at times, the staff was incredibly supportive, and I grew immensely.


* 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 very very cheap, and pretty much all necessary costs are included in the program cost, so I only spent my money on extra expenses like treats, drinks, shopping, trips/events/concerts, etc.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? About $65
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? ALWAYS use Western Union or an exchange house with the Blue Dollar rate to exchange your money, and always pay in cash -- you get double the value. Although things are cheap, it does add up, and it can be dangerous to keep spending even though it seems like everything is really cheap. You're there for a long time, so I'd recommend spending on the bigger things like trips or events, and saving on small weekly expenses that you don't need


* 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 courses were taught in the language, our homestay was in the language, and we only spoke to the directors in 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? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Spanish 201
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? Definitely practice speaking and listening as much as possible, and try to practice listening to Argentine TV shows or podcasts to familiarize yourself with the accent. Reading and writing were easier for me, but getting familiar with dialogue was the biggest learning curve

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?
  • The interactive course structure and site visits
  • The people I met
  • The trips to the North and South
* What could be improved?
  • Homestay placement
  • clear academic expectations
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I was calmer and knew how welcoming and supportive the staff would be. I was so nervous about being away from my support system and embarrassed about my spanish capabilities, but I had no reason to be.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.