An unforgettable enlightening and life changing academic and social experience Past Review

By (Sociology and Spanish, Harvard University) - abroad from 02/04/2015 to 05/19/2015 with

SIT Study Abroad: Bolivia - Multiculturalism, Globalization, and Social Change

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The trip was utterly worthwhile. I improved my language abilities, gained confidence and loved the entire experience

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 educational side of SIT Bolivia, it was challenging, but not overwhelming. We also studied an astonishingly wide variety of aspects of Bolivia culture and History. The context based classes, namely Vivir Bien and Social Change were eye opening and really helped to understand and appreciate the Bolivian experience. I would say that the Spanish Grammar classes could have been improved a little as at times they were slightly stale, however nonetheless my Spanish speaking, writing and comprehension abilities improved exponentially.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The Bolivian administrative staff were mind blowingly effective and helpful. And Paty, the main programme organizer moved mountains for all of the students.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I really enjoyed living with my host family, they were kind, helpful and welcoming. I stayed with my host family for the last optional month, working on my final project and I will say that it seemed a little long to be there, not that I felt unwelcome at all, however we were all restless to be totally in our comfort zones and at complete ease again.

* Food:

The food was pretty average, the food my host family cooked was wonderful however the food generally was not massively exciting. The fresh fruit and vegetables available at the markets and especially La Cancha was however wonderful

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt very very integrated with local culture. I feel that this was mainly due to the style and location of my final project, namely in our home city, Cochabamba and with an astonishingly welcoming organization, (Vida y Esperanza). I was able to really emmerse myself in their culture, going to religious outings, for street food and to play soccer with the kids at local soccer fields every week.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I managed to fracture my ankle while I was on the program and SIT dealt with it wonderfully, picking me up from the clinic, and helping me with everything I could possibly need. The healthcare providers they suggested were also very reasonably priced and responsible. The vaccines and tests needed to be able to come to Bolivia and apply for a Visa were however a nightmare and somewhat ridiculous, but that is a tiny downside to what was otherwise a brilliant experience.

* Safety:

Very very very safe. Not once did I feel particularly unsafe or at risk.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $40
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I found it pretty easy to stick to my budget but still have fun as so much of the course was included through SIT.


* 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

We spoke Spanish all through class unless a subject or theme was especially difficult and we wouldn't have been able to convey ideas using Spanish

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? Intermediate level Spanish
How many hours per day did you use the language?

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
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The other students
  • My final ISP period and project
  • The staff
* What could be improved?
  • Some of the trips don't quite link succinctly into the academic side of things
  • The relevance or linking between readings and classes could be slightly improved
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That the academics are manageable and enjoyable and to not worry about struggling academically

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.'