Past Review

By (Spanish, International Relations, Tufts University) for

SIT Study Abroad: Argentina - Transnationalism and Comparative Development in South America

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes, it was absolutely worthwhile. While I was not always pleased with the program itself, nor with the academics or my homestay, I absolutely loved the city and country I was in. I would definitely return for a longer period of time. I am now more aware of the political, economic and social situation in Argentina and South America and I feel like I can fit in there. My Spanish definitely improved.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: IDES: Instituto del desarrollo económico y social
The term and year this program took place: Fall 2008

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

All classes and materials in Spanish. All submitted work (i.e. paper and Independent Study Project) accepted in either Spanish or English, as the level of Spanish varied among students. Students were, however, encourage to write in Spanish if capable of doing so. The work was much easier for students who came into the program with a high level of Spanish.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Administrators were accessible, and all documents were taken care of. They were not entirely familiar with American higher education. The style of administration was different and sometimes overdone. I would have liked more freedom as far as administration goes.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Small apartment in the Belgrano neighborhood. Two host parents, both in their 60's, no kids living in the house. <br /><br /> Host mother was extremely overbearing at times. Seemed like she was only hosting for the stipend. Home was not in the heart of the city, but was very close to the metro, so it was easy to get to school, nightlife areas, cultural areas, etc. Neighborhood seemed relatively safe, I never had any problems with safety, never felt very unsafe.

* Food:

Food in Buenos Aires is cheap and excellent. Eating may be challenging for vegetarians/non-red meat eaters, as the majority of meals contains some sort of meat. Food in my homestay was very, very good. Quantity of food, however, was too much, and host mother often pushed more food onto my plate.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Buenos Aires has quite possibly the best nightlife of any city in the world. People are friendly and there are an infinite number of bars, clubs and restaurants. It has a huge art and music scene. There is truly something for everyone. My program did not arrange any cultural events. Travel to nearby cities and provinces (i.e. Rosario, estancias, small towns in BA province) is cheap and easy, thanks to an excellent national bus system.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I had to seek medical attention twice, once for an ear infection and once for poison ivy. The program was very helpful in both cases and I immediately received the correct treatment and medication. No complaints as far as medical and safety go. The quality of the health care in Buenos Aires seemed to be up to the standards of what I am used to at home, although neither of my medical issues were extremely serious, so I cannot comment conclusively.

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


* 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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I spent approximately $100 dollars a week. This includes lunch, going out at night, entertainment/travel on the weekend. The program also gave us 20 pesos (about 7 dollars) per day for lunch.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? You can eat and go out for very cheap in Buenos Aires. Electronic/technology goods are EXTREMELY expensive in Argentina, so do not expect to buy any (i.e. a digital camera) down there. There is also a tax to have electronic goods shipped from abroad, and you must pick them up at the airport, which is out of town. To stress this point: bring all necessary electronic goods with you. There is also a 50 peso (approx. 18 dollars) fee at the airport to leave the country.


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
Language acquisition improvement?

The other students were all Americans, so Spanish was not spoken amongst ourselves. My host family spoke no English. There were very few opportunities to meet local students/young people within the program.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? This is a strong program with a number of drawbacks. Select this program if you are not yet a strong Spanish speaker and want to greatly improve your Spanish. I was already fluent in Spanish, and therefore did not benefit from being around Americans all the time. I spoke only Spanish with my host family, but since I did not always get along with them, I would have preferred to have lived in an apartment and thus met more local young people. I think I would have benefited much more from studying in an Argentine university than from studying with only Americans. Again, though, if your Spanish skills are not that strong yet, you will benefit from this because there is a lot of Spanish instruction, but you can always revert to English if you cannot handle the Spanish.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Field Study Seminar

Course Department: ANTH-3500
Instructor: Alan Cibils
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: This course served to prepare students for the Independent Study Project. It was not especially challenging (though it was not intended to be). Much of the material was simply common sense that one should have when working on a research project.
Credit Transfer Issues: No
Course Name/Rating:

Independent Study Project

Course Department: ISPR-3000
Instructor: Alan Cibils and Ana Rita Diaz-Muñoz
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: A 20+ page research paper done over the course of about 6 weeks. It was challenging and required extensive research, including personal interviews. I chose to travel to research a topic in a different part of the country, although students have the option of conducting all research within Buenos Aires.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Intensive Language Study: Advanced Spanish II

Course Department: SPAN-3504
Instructor: Diego Lorenzo
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: Good, engaging course. Focused on conversation and cultural issues in Argentina. Not much written work, very light workload, but the conversational aspect was strong. Lots of speaking and participation in class. Also learned Argentine slang, idioms, etc. There were a few field trips to different areas of Buenos Aires.
Credit Transfer Issues: No
Course Name/Rating:

Regional Integration, Development, and Social Change Seminar

Course Department: LACB-3000
Instructor: Alan Cibils and Ana Rita Diaz-Muñoz
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: Challenging course on the economic and social situation in Argentina, especially in relation to the Diry War and later the economic crisis of 2001. Relevant field trips to living/working co-ops in the Capital and other groups that have been affected by the above events. Also, one week in Porto Algre, Brazil and one week in EITHER Montevideo, Uruguay OR Asunción, Paraguay because course focused on the Mercosur trade agreement in the Southern Cone. Teacher was knowledgeable. Again, work not especially difficult for students with high level of Spanish, but pretty challenging for those with low level of Spanish.
Credit Transfer Issues: No