Perfect Balance of Work and Play Past Review

By (International/Global Studies., Brandeis University) - abroad from 02/12/2014 to 05/18/2014 with

SIT Study Abroad: Belgrade, Budapest, and Vienna - Comparative European Perspectives on Conflict and Democracy

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The obvious answer would be that it's much easier for me to write research papers. The ISP process is an invaluable experience that I wish for everyone to have, and I have learned that I want to conduct research in the future. But I also gained a lot of confidence outside of the area of academia. I feel much more comfortable talking to new people and experiencing new things since studying in this program.

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.

The classes before the ISP are not hard, and the homework is minimal. I gave it four stars because once the ISP portion starts, you must work very hard to complete a paper you are proud of. It was well worth it.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

My program staff was fantastic! They helped me every step of the way, with every misfortune that befell me. They were willing to lend me money when mine got stolen, to help me retrieve possessions I had lost, to give advice. They were always there and always willing to help. They were also very friendly and just fun to be around!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family was fantastic! I wish I had been put in a family that was more involved with each other. When you do your homestay interview, make sure not to say you are independent if you want a homestay that will include you in family events.

* Food:

My homestay mother was a very good cook. They couldn't afford to feed me the best ingredients, but I was always well fed with food I enjoyed. They made a point to ask me what I liked and didn't like and cooked my favorite food a lot.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I probably could have been more integrated, but that's up to my own effort.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I felt safer in Belgrade than parts of Boston. Don't let this country's history scare you off.

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


* 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)

Serbia is a cheap country. SIT provides a stipend for food, so I knew people who went to study abroad with $500 and had some left at the end of the semester. It's very very easy.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? The money SIT provides you with should be enough. Spend it on what it's meant to be spent on and save your own funds for partying.


* 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? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
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? Just practice it. Force yourself to use it instead of resorting to English. You have tons of opportunities.

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?
  • ISP process
  • administrative staff/teachers
  • immersive cultural experience
* What could be improved?
  • longer ISP period (we had about 2.5 weeks because there were two holidays)
  • more language practice
  • talking to more outside organizations
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known how to let things happen more. Because of all my bad luck (I had my wallet stolen twice, I left my camera in another country, it took me four days to get there, three of which were spent in airports, etc), I spent way too much time anxious and worried. Just know that everything will work out and that the staff will help you!

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!