A rewarding semester in Latin America Past Review

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 08/29/2017 to 12/11/2017 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Buenos Aires feels like a fairly European city, but I did get more exposure to non-Western cultures and ideals, which I think was extremely valuable. I also became more willing to challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone and try things I never thought I would. It was definitely worthwhile, and I've been recommending the experience to many people!

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

You WILL be doing work in this program -- I'd say I spent almost as much time studying/working throughout the semester as I do at my home institution. The ISP period especially was an intense amount of work, but a very valuable experience. This being said, the course load isn't unmanageable or overly rigorous, but you'll still learn a lot. I personally thought the Development seminar was one of the most interesting classes I've ever taken.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I neither loved nor hated the admin of the program. A lot of the students on my program, including myself, were frustrated at times throughout the semester about a lack of communication with the admin; looking back, I think, though communication could have been improved, the admin trusted us as adults to solve problems and figure things out for ourselves, which isn't exactly what I'm used to at my home institution.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I LOVED living with a host family! I was so well-matched with my host parents and continue to stay in contact with them. Definitely one of my favorite parts of the program.

* Food:

It's fine, but kind of bland. There's no such thing as spicy food. Steak, pasta, and milanesa were the dishes I ate most often, and not a lot of fruits and veggies were available. I was lucky that my host parents were good cooks though!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I personally felt pretty integrated with the local culture and started thinking of Buenos Aires as a new home. I will say I didn't make many local friends since classes are all with Americans, but everyone was always really friendly.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?


* Safety:

There are definitely places you don't want to be walking alone at night, especially if you're a woman, but I think that's true of many big cities. Unfortunately, it's pretty common to have something stolen -- my phone was stolen out of my hand from a man on a motorcycle in the middle of they day, so it's really important to stay aware of your surroundings.

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

I'm so glad I chose a program in Latin America with an academic focus I was interested in! Buenos Aires has become one of my favorite cities in the world, and I really do think I learned a lot, both in and outside of the classroom. There were times throughout the semester where I felt overwhelmed with work, but I ended up being mostly grateful for the pressure.


* 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)

In addition to our host parents providing breakfast and dinner for us, SIT gave us a lunch stipend and paid for our transportation to and from classes, which was extremely helpful. My own money mostly went towards going out and traveling -- it added up, but was still less than I'd spend during an average semester and I think you could definitely manage your money while abroad. Food and transportation is generally more affordable than in the U.S.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Probably about $40 U.S. dollars per week
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Avoid buying imported items (clothes, makeup, toiletries) because they're more expensive in Argentina than in the U.S. Try to bring a supply from home that will last the whole program. And learn to take the colectivo! It's way cheaper than ubering and it's always running.


* 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 were in Spanish and our admin tried to communicate in Spanish with us unless we were really confused about something. We also had a specific class devoted to developing our language skills, and a lot of host families don't speak any English. We were also encouraged to speak in Spanish with each other when we were on our own.

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?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Apartment
  • Hotel
* 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?
  • Location
  • Host Family
  • Program Trips
* What could be improved?
  • Communication with admin
  • Mental health support
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had know it would be impossible to do all the things I wanted to do during the semester -- super important to pick the things you're most interested in rather than wasting time stressing about how to fit it all in.

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!