Incredible Guatemala Experience. Want to go back. Past Review

By (Elementary Education, Bethel University) - abroad from 02/01/2012 to 05/21/2012 with

Students International: Academic Mission Study Abroad Programs

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Spanish, and yes, it was worthwhile. It opened my eyes to a whole other culture.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Students International was the program that hosted us in Guatemala, and they were awesome.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The places we stayed were clean, the families were welcoming, and the food was great.

* Food:

Loved all of the food. They make such delicious food there, I definitely recommend for anyone who travels there to be open to everything. They have some of the best traditional dishes.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt very integrated living right in the middle of the city in Antigua and Magdalena. We were constantly surrounded by Guatemalans and picked up on the language pretty fast. We were close to the markets, so we could barter or choose to just shop in regular stores.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

When I needed to get medicine, it was quickly addressed. When I was sick, we went to the clinic, and I was treated by a doctor. When I came back to the states, I was reimbursed by the insurance company that was covering the students when we were down in Guatemala.

* Safety:

I felt very safe most of the time. The only thing I would not recommend is traveling alone at night, of course, and drawing attention to yourself. Always be aware of your surroundings.

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)

Our trip was covered by our tuition, and we were given stipends to eat on when we weren't with our host family. Therefore, extra money was not really needed, but was helpful when you wanted to buy gifts or extra food.

* 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? $10-$15
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Don't buy things you aren't sure that you will be giving away as gifts. For example, buy specific things for specific people so you aren't buying extra. Also, be conscientious of saving money for when you go on extra trips places, when your group goes to tourist sites, and it's nice having lots of extra money to spend at the end of the trip. Don't waste money on a lot of extra food either, because you might not eat all of it.


* 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

THey encouraged us to use it in class and outside of it.

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? College level intermediate
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? Try to not speak english with your friends on your trip.

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?
  • Food
  • People
  • Language
* What could be improved?
  • Having more free time.
  • Being able to spend more time at our sites with SI.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The medicine that I didn't need to buy before hand and never ended up using it.