Best time of my life. Past Review

By (Peace And Justice Studies, Wellesley College) - abroad from 01/17/2012 to 05/08/2012 with

SIT Study Abroad: IHP - Health and Community: Globalization, Culture and Care (Fall 2)

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned so much from my abroad experience, I do not know where to begin. I learned a lot about public health, which is great because I suppose thats what I paid for. This was definitely a worthwhile experience.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

We had a wonderful trustees fellow, and great country coordinators.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Host family experiences were invaluable, would not change them.

* Food:

The food was incredible, one of my favorite parts of the trip.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

That varied from country to country. Brazil and South Africa were no problem, Vietnam was a bit more difficult.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Healthcare every where we went was accessible, especially with the help of the program. Brazil was the country with the most accessible healthcare because it is considered a human right and is therefore free for all.

* Safety:

I thought we were all kept very safe, I was surprised that we were not targeted considering we were a group of 35 tourists.

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)

Budget was a bit difficult. I would advise a future IHP H&C student to prepare to spend more money (the estimated budget is $1,800, I spent almost twice that). Brazil is probably the most difficult place to budget because it is quite expensive. Brazil would be 1. Vietnam would be a 3 or 4 . I suspect South Africa would be a 3 or 4 as well. Just plan for spring break as well. I would say Brazil and Spring

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? Yes
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? roughly an average of 200 or more.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Obviously try to do as much as you can. Remember the currency may be less valued, but it adds up. Packing lunches in Brazil is a good idea because that is the only meal you are required to pay for. Vietnam food is so cheap you probably won't have a problem and in South Africa we were required to pack our lunches (big money saver!!). Budget well and save for spring break!


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? had never taken shangan, Vietnamese, or Portuguese
How many hours per day did you use the language? 0
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? No need to practice. The four/five weeks is too short, especially when we are focused on so many other things.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • 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?
  • I loved the people we were able to meet.
  • I enjoyed the new food we were exposed too.
  • I am so greatfull for the academic experience I had. It wasn't rigorous and challenging in the traditional Wellesley sense, but I would not trade it.
* What could be improved?
  • Faculty. I would be wonderful to have faculty members in country. Our traveling faculty was great, but there were definitely things regarding the country that a native would do better teaching.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I think I was pretty well forewarned. One thing I would reiterate is that time flies, just let some things go and appreciate everything.