Oh yeah, I'd do it again! Past Review

By (Claremont McKenna College) - abroad from 08/26/2019 to 12/08/2019 with

SIT Study Abroad: Peru - Indigenous Peoples and Globalization

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I certainly improved my Spanish and reflected on the things I like and don't like about my own culture, and what kinds of values I wanted to take back with me. It was 100% worthwhile for me to study abroad.

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.

I definitely learned a lot during my time in Peru thanks to SIT. The classes themselves were mostly lectures followed by group discussions and could be a bit repetitive, but being able to meet with community leaders and members around the country gave me a more well-rounded perspective of the social and human rights we studied than any class I could take back on campus. The workload is fairly light outside of plenty of reading and a few essays, but it just gives you more time to spend with your host families and to interact with the people you meet along the way!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

There were some instances when students got sick that the administration was a little cold in dealing with, especially when all but five of us came down with some kind of illness in the Amazon (thankfully they finally canceled our planned activities the day of). I will say that when an incident occurred while working on my final project, the academic director took immediate action and went above and beyond to make sure I was okay and that justice was served. I've heard past students haven't had as much luck with the administrators and this sort of thing, but they really stepped up for me when I needed them too! Additionally, the office caretaker Julia is just the absolute sweetest and worth getting to know. The other staff are really professional and hard to approach sometimes, but funny and quirky when you least expect it!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

When we traveled, we stayed in cushy hotels with great breakfast buffets. Our host families were great, and the staff we good about matching us with compatible families.

* Food:

Peruvian cuisine might be one of my favorites now. My host mom was the best home cook (don't tell my actual mom) and I always felt comfortable telling her if there was something that didn't agree with me, which was rare.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We lived with host families that took us with them on cool little family adventures and got to eat out and explore the cities and communities we visited. The only thing that was difficult was meeting people our age outside of the cohort since we're not connected to a local university and have our own office.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Health care was easily accessible but sometimes a pain (which I guess is true back in the states). You have to pay for health care upfront, which can be pretty pricey, then do paperwork online and wait about 2 weeks to get reimbursed.The doctor does tend to assume the worst and therefore over-prescribe. Otherwise, the staff always knows where the nearest doctor and hospital are when we're traveling in case anything happens. Thankfully no one had to go to the hospital, of course!

* Safety:

I feel like Peru and Cuzco in particular are safer than most other places in the region, as sad as that is to say. Things got really bad in Bolivia and Chile while we were there, and students' from SIT's Bolivia program had to come to Cuzco to finish out their program. Like any big city or when being a tourist, you have to watch out for pick-pockets and not wonder around at night. Otherwise, SIT is really good about briefing you how to take care of yourself. As a female, you will probably have to deal with some cat-calling and unwarranted attention. Again, SIT will help you in dealing with those sorts of things both before and after they happen (especially if it's hotel staff or anyone else SIT contracts with - inappropriate behavior isn't tolerated one bit).

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

I'm really impressed with how rigorous and exciting SIT's program was. I heard all kinds of good things about them from students who went to other countries, but couldn't imagine myself anywhere having gone anywhere else. I love the variety of cultures and people we met, and can't wait to visit again!


* 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)

Just about everything is included in the cost of the program AND you get checks to cover eating out while you travel. There's few things to buy on your own otherwise once you get there, like a pair of boots for the Amazon (~$5) and souvenirs if you'd like.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? >$25
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Peru is much cheaper than the US. A good latte was 5-7 soles ($1.50-$2) where we were in Cuzco, and even the fancy food isn't too expensive. Bring some money to occasionally go out with friends, but eat as many meals as you can with your host family because they're already paid for in your tuition for the program. Also check out Bunnu Café for good and cheap eats and coffee in a comfy environment. :)


* 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

The director will constantly encourage you to use Spanish outside of class, and all your group discussions will be in Spanish after the lectures. Trust me, it's not as daunting as it might seem at first!

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? Span101: Spanish literature course (taken after Span10-40)
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? 1. Talk to and make mistakes talking to your host family - they'll kindly correct you and are already used to non-native speakers. 2. Chat up staff and tour guides. It makes the experience more fun and interactive AND you're practicing your speaking!

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?
  • Kind locals & families
  • Travel
  • Food
* What could be improved?
  • Allow personal travel to other cities on weekends
  • More host families during travel
  • Sometimes distant staff
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew that I would receive a stipend for my final project that covered most of my expenses, from travel to food and housing; I wouldn't have stressed about saving as much for it. Most American brands of beauty products are available, if only a bit more expensive, and buying boots in the Amazon is much cheaper than buying and bringing them from the US!

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.'

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Spanish 3 (Advanced)

Course Department:
Instructor: Josie
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: Absolutely the best Spanish class I've ever taken. Some students had difficulty with the other levels of Spanish classes, but the Spanish 3 professor was incredibly kind as well as rigorous. We actually practiced new vocabulary and grammatical structures by speaking and being gently corrected as we went along. I always looked forward to Spanish with Josie!!
Credit Transfer Issues: