The Experience of a Lifetime September 25, 2014

By (Stephen F. Austin State University) - abroad from 06/03/2014 to 06/30/2014 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 gained first-hand knowledge about European political culture that I could have never learned from reading a textbook. I became a lot more confident traveling on my own and I learned the hectic process of using city public transportation. I learned about the cultures that exist outside of America and that our way of doing things isn't the only way. On this trip, I had some of the craziest adventures I've ever experienced with some really great people and I would do it all over again if I could.

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 was able to learn about central Europe's political culture in a way I never would have been able to if I were stuck studying it in a classroom in America. Dr. Tkacik is a phenomenal professor and his conversational teaching style made the lessons very enjoyable. I thought the way that the trip was set up was really cool because it allowed me to be able to speak to people from several different countries about their view points on Europe's political system. The conversations I had with them were incredibly enlightening and changed my perspective on not only European politics, but also US politics.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I really enjoyed the guest presentations that were given given.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

There were a couple of nights where I was awoken by moths body slamming into my face but other than that, I have zero complaints.

* Food:

The food was incredible. I don't think I had a single meal that I didn't love.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt very integrated into the local culture. I think having the Slovakian students there definitely enhanced that experience. I don't think the trip would have been the same if we didn't have them to introduce us to their culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

There weren't really any health emergencies that arose during the trip so it's hard for me to say.

* Safety:

I felt pretty safe in Bratislava, Slovakia. It was a little dangerous out on the streets at night but that should be expected from any large city that you visit. Other than that, it felt like home.

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 would have been able to live on a student's budget fairly easily if I had tried. Prices in Slovakia were relatively cheap. It was my own personal decision to binge shop.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $500
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Do not binge shop. Don't go to expensive restaurants too often.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* 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?
  • The adventures
  • The knowledge I gained
  • The food
* What could be improved?
  • Nothing
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How to navigate public transportation when nothing is written in english and to never take a taxi that is waiting outside of a club.

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!