SIT Bolivia Changed My Life! Past Review

By (Skidmore College) - abroad from 02/02/2016 to 05/18/2016 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Lots of friendships and lots of personal growth in terms of my plans for my future and my new approaches to the rest of my undergraduate career.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The directors and program staff are all extremely accessible during the program, even during the independent study period when I wasn't living in the same city as the program office. They all made efforts to meet with students individually as needed and were always available outside of class times or group trips.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had an experience with stomach amoebas probably from unclean water or raw food, and both my host family and the program administrators were very helpful in getting me to a local hospital, facilitating transactions with doctors, and taking care of me during my recovery.

* Safety:

I never felt any more unsafe in Cochabamba than I would walking alone at night in my hometown. In general, it is best to go out in groups and have people in the program that can split taxi rides home or ride the bus together if your host families live near each other. But even when travelling through the city by myself, local people were always helpful and friendly with directions if I ever felt unsure about where I was going.

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

The administration of the program was extremely well organized to help meet the needs of individual students while bringing us together as a group, and living with host families allowed us to have our own experiences in the culture apart from other U.S. students. You're given the right amount of freedom to explore what you want while being guided through a totally new and unique place.


* 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? $20
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Take advantage of being fed in the host family, although it's tempting to eat out and try street food. Also be conscious about budgeting the money you receive as a stipend for group excursions, because it is designed to help with meals while you're away but it can be easy to spend it on going out or buying souvenirs.


* 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? Advanced
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? multiple 300-level seminar courses
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? Talk with your host family as much as possible during meals together but also just hanging out around the house, and try to do things outside the house with them on weekends or in the afternoons. Also try to speak in Spanish when walking around in public with other students in the program - partially to practice but also because you stand out a lot as a group of foreigners speaking English in a city that's not accustomed to big groups of tourists.

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?
  • Host Family
  • Program directors & other students
  • Independent Study Project
* What could be improved?
  • More time with host families
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Take advantage of the host family and spend as much time with them as possible, even though it's fun to hang out with the other students on the program

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.'