World-widening and life-changing January 07, 2020

By (Communications, The College of Wooster) - abroad from 08/28/2019 to 12/10/2019 with

SIT Study Abroad Mexico: Migration, Borders, and Transnational Communities

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Now, I feel like I can face any experience with confidence. With friends, faculty, and a host family that were ready and willing to support me, my experience living in a foreign country was unproblematic and enjoyable.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

If you enjoy hands-on learning, SIT Mexico is an excellent program for you. Each class/unit has an on-site experience that will enforce all that you learned and more in the classroom. Each individual that accompanies you on the trips has a vast amount of knowledge that they are passionate about sharing with students. You will be introduced to individuals residing in each place that are working to assist their community. Finally, in your final month, you will have the incredible opportunity to complete an independent study on any topic that you find interesting. During the process, you have loads of support from academic directors and program coordinators. You can also reach out to those that you've met during your excursions and collaborate. It allows you to completely dive into your interests and learn in a project-based manner.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Generally, administrators are always present to help. You develop a sense of community with everyone working in the Ollin educational center, and they're always willing to help. Sometimes, there is so much going on that things slip to the bottom and more minor questions don't get answered right away. But, schedule a face-to-face meeting and you'll get all of your questions answered and more.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved my homestay, and it was probably the best part of my abroad experience. The homestay's were expertly matched, and care was taken to ensure that each student's needs could be met by the family they were matched with. I still stay in touch with my family, and they had been hosting students for almost 20 years. If one does have problems, though, there are plenty of opportunities to speak to administrators about the problem and find a solution.

* Food:

Again, dietary restrictions were taken into consideration for each student and they were matched with their family appropriately. The food in Oaxaca is world renowned and excellent, but there are all kinds of restaurant's that serve everything from hamburgers to hummus. My family was great about making food that I liked, though I'm not exactly a picky eater.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There are all kinds of opportunities to participate in local events and groups. You really feel as though you're living in the city of Oaxaca by the end. However, the group is only American students, meaning that you have to branch out on your own in order to make connections with local Oaxacans outside of your host family.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had few health issues during this trip. However, my friends that did generally had the full support of their host families and the administration.

* Safety:

Oaxaca is incredibly safe, and if one simply follows protocol that they would fall in any larger city, they'll be more than safe!

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)

The only problem is that everything is so inexpensive that you can't help but purchase things!

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Approx. $40-50 but I ate/went out often


* 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? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Spanish 201
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? Conversation!

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?
  • Topic
  • City
  • Family
* What could be improved?
  • More practice with the language
  • More structured academics
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had had more confidence with spanish off the bat!