Making a family abroad! Past Review

By (Stephen F. Austin State University) - abroad from 06/03/2014 to 07/02/2014 with

Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA): Traveling in Central Europe - American Government - Theory

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned about how different democracies can be. I knew that there was diversity in the definition of democracy, but learning about it and witnessing it is totally different. I gained from this experience friends that will last a lifetime, including Slovak and American students.

Review Photos

Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA): Traveling in Central Europe - American Government - Theory Photo Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA): Traveling in Central Europe - American Government - Theory Photo Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA): Traveling in Central Europe - American Government - Theory Photo Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA): Traveling in Central Europe - American Government - Theory 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.

This was one of the best experiences of my life. It was just enough time to get us exposed to the culture without being overwhelmed. Also, we had a lot of freedom within the program and the course to explore on our own, which was great! Compared to other programs where there is a constant itinerary, it was awesome to basically have mostly free time.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I loved the students, but the language barrier, lack of enthusiasm from their Dean, and the bureaucracy of their lunch system was kind of annoying at times. Otherwise, it was a great experience! I loved their facilities and how they structured the guest lecturers.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The only complaint was that there wasn't air conditioning, so windows being open meant constant bugs sometimes. It wasn't bad though, I loved the way it was set up and how we got to pick our roommates. I know the air conditioning thing was a culture thing, too, not just in our dorm. I loved the beds and that they had linens, too.

* Food:

It was hard because the administration wasn't great at helping us with the food. I was super happy that we were provided with lunches though so it tasted great! The biggest problem was trying to translate the menu into english. Other than that, I enjoyed the food when we ate it.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It was so weird at first because I did not think I was that integrated until I came back and picked up some habits. Like eating a lot slower, drinking one beverage the whole dinner, and also wanting to walk everywhere. It has been an interesting transition back to American culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

There were not any major health issues to be focused on, so it was handled well I guess. It was nice to know that it would be taken care of if we needed it.

* Safety:

I felt so safe in Bratislava. I know that there was training provided, but after being there for a week I felt like I was at home. I knew when I needed to be more safe in certain situations, but basically I felt like I was at home. There was little to no crime that I witnessed, no Roma/gypsies (if there were, we blended in enough to where we didn't get messed with) and transportation was plenty. Also, police often spoke English so if we ever felt unsafe and there was police nearby, we could talk to them as well.

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


* 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)

In Bratislava, everything was pretty cheap. You could find places to eat for less than 6 euros a meal for sure. It was a great town to be in for students. The most I think we ever spent was 20 euros, and that was involving alcohol and food.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? About 75 euros maximum (roughly like $100, give or take some).
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Do not let servers talk you into buying something. And if you order something and it does not look right, do not touch it but bring it to the attention of the server. Often, restaurants will actually give you a different entree if they are out of what you ordered, sometimes it will be more expensive. If you notice the difference, you can sometimes ask for the cheaper price or a different entree. Also, if you ask to pay at the register, you can usually pay separate (which will probably save you money as a group overall).


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Hotel
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • I enjoyed the students I met.
  • The class was fun
  • The town we stayed in was also really awesome
* What could be improved?
  • Communication between host professor/professor and students about traveling stuff (like when we left)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That it is warm over there. I wish I would have brought more shorts! I brought one pair because I was told it would be cooler, it was sometimes, but overall it was warm enough to wear shorts usually. Also, I wish I would have been told how converters/adaptors work more. I knew we were supposed to get one, so I did, what I did not know was that if not properly used my straightener would die within the first few days of being there.

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!