Incredible Oaxaca September 10, 2014

By (University of California - Los Angeles) - abroad from 07/05/2014 to 08/16/2014 with

Sol Education Abroad: Oaxaca - University of Oaxaca

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
That I want to live abroad for a while and work with Latin America.

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.

The Spanish classes were boring, but necessary for my language development...some of the teachers were better than others. The grammar was less painful than conversation. However, the content classes were AMAZING. Between the experience of the content classes, learning so much Spanish in a short time, and the home stay experience, I decided to return for the semester program.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Phenomenal. All the directors are available and unique with what they can share. I had Eva, Erika and Layla as director's at various times who all enhanced my experience in Oaxaca.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The home stay was the best part. I adored the family I was placed with, and was able to meet other family's housing students. The family's communicated with each other and wanted to sincerely provided an experience for their students.

* Food:

I was sad to see processed food in Oaxaca, American labels and big supermarkets like Chedraui. However, other than that, Oaxacan and Mexican food in general is pretty incredible.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The summer program is packed with activities almost everyday, and there wasn't a lot of time to explore. The activities "showed" students Oaxacan culture, but it was hard to "live" it in such a short time. I would only recommend a summer program if you absolutely can't stay longer. Otherwise, there isn't much cultural immersion besides intercambios and living with a host family. Stay as long as you can!!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Efficient and excellent health care. However, like anywhere, you have to seek out good doctors. I had two incidents with my stomach and visited an ophthalmologist once. The prices are better than the U.S. and I think the care is just as good, if not better.

* Safety:

Extremely safe. The school and program keep track of the students, but Oaxaca feels safer than my native Los Angeles.

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)

You can live very easily on very little. Unless you are eating at high end restaurants, taking taxis, buying souvenirs or traveling outside of the region, you don't need more than $5-10/day (providing you are in a home stay and all meals are provided).

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 50
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Take out money in medium-large quantities and ration it for a period of time. Only keep a little at a time in your wallet. Always enough for a taxi in case of an emergency or if you feel unsafe and a little for street food.

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

Complete immersion - no english from the very start and it was the best thing for us.

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? I had studied Portuguese, but not Spanish
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? Do a home stay and make local friends.

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
  • International Students
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?
  • home stay
* What could be improved?
  • more integration with local university students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That processed food exists in Oaxaca

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!