Wish I Could Go Back January 25, 2019

By (Spanish Language and English Literature, Smith College) - abroad from 08/27/2018 to 12/13/2018 with

SIT Study Abroad: Chile - Cultural Identity, Social Justice, and Community Development

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained so many cultural insights, improved my Spanish astronomically, and met really interesting and vibrant 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.

There were Spanish classes that met daily and lectures in the afternoon on a variety of topics. I didn't find this program to be overly academic; in fact, I feel like the real learning came from cultural integration -- from conversations and observations and travel throughout the country. The 1-month independent research project was a highlight for me. You're given the opportunity to elect a theme and are permitted to travel anywhere in the country to conduct that project.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program was led by really interesting and passionate administrators.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The 3 homestays we had throughout the program is where my Spanish improved the most. The program does a really great job of matching students with families and, if the family doesn't work for you for whatever reason, the program staff is good about moving you to another family.

* Food:

I wasn't overwhelmed by the food, but I will say that I had some of the best avocados, tea, and honey of my life.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The program staff (and host families) repeatedly reminded us to always stay together when going out at night (especially true for the women on the program). There were a couple of potentially scary incidents (nothing dangerous, just scary) that reinforced that.

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

Finances

* 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)

Language

* 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? 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?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Movies, books, podcasts

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?
  • Home Stays
  • Independent Research Project
  • The beach!
* What could be improved?
  • Lectures
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Chileans eat a lot of hot dogs for dinner and don't drink coffee