Perspective altering! July 03, 2014

By (Public Policy Analysis, Pomona College) - abroad from 01/26/2014 to 05/10/2014 with

SIT Study Abroad: Ecuador - Development, Politics and Languages

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This program in particular challenges it's students to view the world through a new lens. It is fun, exciting, challenging and unforgettable.

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.

The focus of this program is experiential learning. At times the academic part of it can be challenging, particularly toward the end of the semester. However, for the most part the academic components are very interesting and it doesn't seem like an overwhelming amount of work.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff of this program are incredible. They have been working with the program for decades, however they constantly seek to improve it with the knowledge they gain every year.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The homestays are chosen well, if there ever is a problem students can easily switch. The hotel accommodations for trips are great.

* Food:

The soups and juices are the best part about the food in Ecuador.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The program really emphasizes this, and through homestays as well as the independent project at the end, students are very well integrated.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Students with health problems were accompanied to the doctor and things were well taken care of.

* Safety:

While being abroad comes with some level of danger no matter what, the program does an excellent job of preparing students to be aware and make themselves as safe as possible.

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)

The program gives you money frequently for food and transportation. I spent less than I had planned for the semester.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $20-50.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Eat with your family when you can. Don't buy too many souvenirs are heavy to carry anyway if you're going to travel after the program.

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
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Spanish 101- Literature analysis
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 families constantly! Make friends with local people.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Hotel
* 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?
  • The academic directors
  • the country
  • the other students
* What could be improved?
  • some academic components
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It's going to be incredible, be so excited.

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.'