Córdoba gave me everything I wanted but never expected. Past Review

By (Spanish & Writing, Wartburg College) - abroad from 02/12/2013 to 07/06/2013 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 to leave fear behind and dive right into what I want to do. I also learned the values of independence and true friendship. It was completely worthwhile.

Review Photos

Spanish Studies Abroad (CC-CS): Córdoba - Semester, Year or Summer in Argentina Photo Spanish Studies Abroad (CC-CS): Córdoba - Semester, Year or Summer in Argentina Photo Spanish Studies Abroad (CC-CS): Córdoba - Semester, Year or Summer in Argentina Photo Spanish Studies Abroad (CC-CS): Córdoba - Semester, Year or Summer in Argentina Photo Spanish Studies Abroad (CC-CS): Córdoba - Semester, Year or Summer in Argentina Photo

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 classes I took at PECLA were extremely basic--many students in my program lacked language proficiency, so the classes were slow-paced and very, very lacking. I feel I did not learn inside the classroom and am disappointed overall with my PECLA experience.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I moved from my original housing assignment after two months, and my second (and current) host family is amazing; my host mother is a sweet, caring, sensible woman and I always feel welcome.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It's important to note that social and cultural integration is really up to the student--it is totally possible to stay 6 months in Córdoba without real cultural experiences if the student isn't willing to step out of his comfort zone. I found the most rewarding experience was joining a theater group and taking improv classes with Argentines.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I've never used the Argentine health care system, but I have friends in my program who received the care they needed with the health insurance provided through the CCCS.

* Safety:

Common sense is one of the biggest safeguards. Although there is probably a normal crime rate associated with an urban city, I never felt as if I were in danger.

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)

I didn't have a lot of money to spend and I didn't take trips to other parts of Argentina/South America--most of the other students in my program did. So although I wound up spending less, I also traveled less.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $40 USD
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Take the bus instead of taxis, look for free events in the city (there are a TON!) and just keep an eye on what you buy. Try using the money-transfer service XOOM instead of withdrawing from ATMs--XOOM gives you more for your dollar than Argentine ATMs.

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

I had to sign an "only in Spanish" contract at the beginning of the semester; basically, I agreed to speak Spanish for the entire term (English only in emergencies, etc.) Again, adherence to this rule is up to the student--there were many students in the program who didn't try to follow this rule, spoke English outside of the classroom, and, as a result, didn't improve in their Spanish speaking. If you're looking for total fluency, try as hard as you can to speak the local language as much as possible. Yes, it will be difficult, but it'll also pay off. Trust me.

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? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 300s level Spanish courses at Wartburg.
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Join a club or group with native speakers! It's very tempting to spend all of your time with other native speakers / Americans, but that also brings the temptation of speaking English. Find something you like to do & join a club that does it--I joined an improv theater team and it made my fluency skyrocket. Not only did I learn so much new vocabulary, but I met people who supported me and helped me learn Spanish.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Hotel
  • Hostel
* 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?
  • The people I met
  • The location
  • The activities offered in Córdoba
* What could be improved?
  • After the first 2 months, the CCCS did not offer much student support.
  • More optional weekend trips offered by the CCCS
  • The quality of PECLA classes is lacking--the students are not challenged enough, which is frustrating for students that enter with high proficiency levels.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I'd brought more warm clothes.

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 Networker
An active student leader, it was important for you to network abroad as well. Once overseas, you sought out student clubs, volunteered with local organizations, or attended community events. You encouraged your friends join you, and often considered how you could reflect your international experiences in a resume.