Abroad for the Adventurer: finding beauty and value while abroad Past Review

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 02/23/2016 to 06/06/2016 with

SIT Study Abroad: Chile - Comparative Education and Social Change

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I became so much more confident in my Spanish-speaking skills. I also realized how big and diverse the world is and how so many things we have as American college students are taken for granted.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Certainly not an academically demanding program, but can be as intense as you make it.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The host family coordinator was friendly and understanding. Although I personally had a subpar homestay experience, I have friends who loved their families. You can certainly get two extremes, as a fair warning.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I did not have a good host family experience in Santiago, but I always felt safe.

* Food:

I did not like the food in Santiago. As a healthy eater, I struggled with the food provided.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The program does a great job immersing you in the culture. By the end of the program, I felt connected to local politics, history, and culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Superb. From the smallest health concern to the most serious, the program took extreme precaution and sensitivity.

* Safety:

Don't let orientation make you think that Santiago is an unsafe city! Honestly, I was scared into thinking that I would be robbed or mugged while walking in Santiago. I was convinced that walking by myself after dark would leave me in an unsafe position. Towards the end of the program, I was taking busses and walking late at night, with a sense of precaution of course.

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? $25-$50
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Go in big groups, since money saving will always be on someone's mind. This will lead you to scour for the best deals.


* 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? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 100-level Spanish
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? Watch Spanish TV, listen to Spanish music and practice. I was so insecure about my Spanish-speaking skills, but when I became more certain in my ability, I had a much easier time speaking. Sometimes, language acquisition success can be measured by confidence.

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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Nature & Excursions
  • Program Participants
  • Academic Directors
* What could be improved?
  • Spanish course
  • Homestay
  • Communication regarding academics
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Speaking a language is about 25% technical skills and 75% confidence. I spent all of fall semester anxious about my Spanish ability, but I learned so much so fast while abroad.

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.