I loved Argentina and SOL! July 17, 2019

By (Carroll University) - abroad from 05/25/2019 to 06/21/2019 with

Sol Education Abroad - Spanish and Health Care Program at Elebaires in Buenos Aires, Argentina

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot about the healthcare system in Argentina, healthcare in general, and I gained a lot of confidence in my Spanish speaking. I also enjoyed learning about the South American culture because while I have been to many other countries, Argentina was very different and I loved experiencing it,

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 spanish courses were perfect for my current level of speaking and was a great environment to learn. I was able to speak fluidly with the other students and not feel overwhelmed while still learning and improving my conversation skills.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program directors felt like family to us and were wonderful in helping us navigate the city. They were very organized and knowledgable and made us feel at home.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host mom would not spend very much time with us and would often leave the home in the morning and not return until after we went to bed. She would leave us dinner to heat up and would often not have dinner with us, which was upsetting because we were missing out on this opportunity to practice speaking with a native speaker. She would also tell me that I could not wear certain clothes because it was too cold, where "cold" in Argentina is not the same "cold" we have in Wisconsin. For example, I was wearing sandals one day and she told me that I could not wear them because it is winter and I was going to catch the flu. However, it was 65 degrees out and I felt very comfortable in sandals. She did not understand that this was not cold for me and would tell me every time I wore something light that it was too cold to wear that.

* Food:

My host mom would give us toast for breakfast every single day which got to be very repetitive. It would have been nice to have some variety. She did not cook home-made food for us very often either, it was usually something that she reheated. The food overall in Argentina was delicious though.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not have issue personally but the program directors were helpful in explaining the options in the case of something happening.

* Safety:

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

The medical shadowing portion of this program was so much more amazing than I could have ever imagined and I think it will be so beneficial to have that experience behind me entering the medical field. It was so eye opening and I learned so much, I also got to to see so much more of the hospitals that I have seen in the US.

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)

It would have been helpful to know that almost everything is paid for in cash in Argentina and that students should come prepared with a lot of US dollars in cash to exchange at the airport so they won't have to keep going to the ATM and getting charged the fees for using that.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $150 US dollars
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? It would have been helpful to know that almost everything is paid for in cash in Argentina and that students should come prepared with a lot of US dollars in cash to exchange at the airport so they won't have to keep going to the ATM and getting charged the fees for using that.

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

The program directors did not always speak spanish with us, which is understandable when giving directions/telling us where/when to meet, but the program could have encouraged more use of Spanish in conversation with each other.

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
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? I would suggest other students use the language as much as possible and to not be nervous about not speaking as well as the native speakers because they understand that you are not from the country and are happy to have you trying to communicate with them. I also found Mate Club to be very very helpful in practicing 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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Medical Shadowing
  • SOL activities almost every day
  • The people I met here
* What could be improved?
  • The host family I stayed with
  • Toast for breakfast
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew just how big Buenos Aires is, because I was not expecting the city to be so big and to have to take the public bus or subway to get around. I also wish I would have brought more cash to exchange so I didn't have to use the ATM all the time.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!