My Experiences in Cordoba, Argentina! November 13, 2014

By (English, Spanish, Morningside College) - abroad from 02/07/2014 to 06/27/2014 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
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Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I studied in the PECLA program, which was designed for International students, and I was not integrated into the University courses directly. For me, I thought that the classes provided were decent, and the professors provided a lot of resources for the students to use. I thought that the amount of homework was fairly light compared to what I am used to in the U.S. The classes were based primarily around discussion or lecture. Some of the professors were more engaging than others. However, I did not think that the classroom setting was very beneficial for my group of students. For example, for the first month, one of our classrooms didn't have desks for us to use. But, overall, I think that it really comes down to each student's abilities and motivation to do well in the classroom, as well as overcoming any frustrations by communicating with the professors. This was something that was an issue for some of the people in my group.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I thought that overall, the administration did a good job of addressing the students needs. For example, when a person in my group did not get along with her host family, they quickly changed it to make it right. Again, I think that especially in situations where there are two different cultural expectations, communication is key. I know that several people in my group had issues with the administration because they felt they were not helpful enough, but I had no issues. I do think that there was a lack of professionalism in the office when it came to matters of dress.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I think that Spanish Studies Abroad did a wonderful job of placing me with my host family. I stayed with Guadalupe and her daughter Almendra, and they were very welcoming and inviting. We may have had a few small disagreements over the 5 months, but after communicating, it wasn't a problem. I truly felt like family when I stayed with them, and they accommodated to my dietary preferences without hesitation.

* Food:

I loved the food! This was probably one of my favorite parts about studying abroad. :) I am a vegetarian, which may seem strange since Argentina is known for loving meat, but my host mom made great food, and there were other options when going out to eat.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I think my integration process was a bit slower than other students, since I didn't live close to the downtown area, and wasn't involved in as many activities, but I do think I had a great time. Once I opened up to more people, it was easier to do. I think the class that Alejandra taught helped me to learn about the integration process and how to deal with different cultural or social expectations. I stayed an extra 3 weeks after the program date ended because I was dreading going home!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

No health care issues.

* Safety:

I think that the city was pretty safe; I never felt in danger while I was there. When I went out, I made sure to go out with friends or to be home at a certain time.

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 thought that it was fairly easy to live on a budget here in Argentina. The price for things is pretty low, and if you budget well, you could easily make it on $100 a week. It all depends on what kinds of things you want to do. For me, I saved and budgeted my money to go on trips instead of going out for drinks or dinner with friends all the time.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $40
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I would say to save your money as much as you can right now! I saved around $6000 for my trip, and I only spent around $3000 total. (This includes covering the $1000 difference in tuition).

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 required us to sign a contract to only use Spanish in our classes and with each other, but I don't think very many people stuck to that policy. There was encouragement to use it, but not many people took is seriously because there wasn't any punishment for not doing so. I tried my best to use Spanish as much as possible, as improving my Spanish was one of my goals while studying abroad. Making local friends was a huge help with this.

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? 300
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? Talk with local people! TalkAbroad.com or mylanguageexchange.com are two places that helped me to learn the language. Try to look up local slang as well since many people will use this. Don't be afraid to make mistakes; once you get over this, it is easy to speak in Spanish. Confidence is key. I would say that I have improved my Spanish, but the biggest improvement is the confidence in myself to use the language, even if I don't use it correctly all of the time.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • 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 do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? f