A series of unfortunate events in a wonderful country Past Review

By (Ithaca College) - abroad from 02/03/2012 to 06/30/2012 with

Spanish Studies Abroad: Córdoba - Semester, Year or Summer in Argentina

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned that I am in control of my own experiences, that I can adjust to a new environment (especially a giant city), that I can find good people and good places wherever I go, and that I have the rest of my life to explore so it's okay if every moment isn't filled with meaning and perfection. In those ways, and others, it was absolutely worthwhile, even if it wasn't perfect at all.

Review Photos

Spanish Studies Abroad (CC-CS: Córdoba - Spanish and Integrated Studies Photo Spanish Studies Abroad (CC-CS: Córdoba - Spanish and Integrated Studies Photo Spanish Studies Abroad (CC-CS: Córdoba - Spanish and Integrated Studies Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Poorly constructed classes, often lacking academic stimulation or proper support from professors.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Although they meant well, the program administrators were poorly prepared to help us with the concerns we voiced. I came to them with concerns about my host family, my academic classes, my internship, and general study abroad questions and they were not well-equipped to help me with these problems. They often blamed "culture shock" as an all-encompassing scapegoat for challenges abroad, which I found rather demeaning.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The house was beautiful but the housing atmosphere was dreadful. I never felt welcomed in the house, my host family treated me and the other host students very disrespectfully, and never wanted to be a part of our lives. I voiced this concern with CC-CS and they did not help me change houses, only exacerbated the issue. Most unfortunately, the housing experience in general was sad and extremely uncomfortable.

* Food:

In the beginning of the program, my host family cooked a lot. However, a lot of students lived in the house and there was never enough food for all of us. Often they would eat separate food and give us leftovers. We often had to buy our own food.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I had a great speaking partner and a good internship and that helped me feel a part of the local culture a lot. I loved However, tainted by the host family experience, I never felt fully "at home" in Córdoba.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I was sick nearly the entire time due to poor nutrition. The health care was easily accessible enough and there were no direct issues, except with the unhealthy and unbalanced meals we received at home.

* Safety:

I felt fairly safe in Córdoba. I was robbed once but otherwise, if you're smart about walking alone, there are no grave concerns.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

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)

There was a huge rise in inflation while I was there so it steadily became more and more expensive. On average though, nothing was wildly pricey except for traveling. Also, I wish CC-CS had been able to compensate those living far away from the university who had to pay a lot more to take the bus and taxis to school than those living in the city center.

* 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? ~$70
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Traveling will add up quickly but it is totally worth it in my book. Clothing is very expensive so bring what you need with you.

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

No-English policy lightly enforced in the beginning, but I felt pretty confident with my Spanish by the end.

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? Spanish 202
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? Speak ALL the time. Read, watch TV, listen, and write down words and phrases to memorize them.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
  • 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?
  • Speaking spanish
  • Argentine culture
  • Being able to travel a lot
* What could be improved?
  • Administration (in country and in the US)
  • Host family screening
  • Everything academic
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had had a better sense of what I was looking for in study abroad so that I could have found a more academically stimulating program. I also wish I had had the conviction in knowing that I deserved to be with a better host family and forced the program to help me find one.