Fascinating - BCA Chennai - Madras Christian College Past Review

By (Social Work and International Studies, Loras College) - abroad from 07/01/2011 to 11/16/2011 with

Study Abroad Programs in India

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was certainly worthwhile. I learned a great amount about myself, including how to cope with stress, the importance of reflecting in such a busy, colorful, stimulating environment. I learned so much not just about one other culture, but about several. I also learned what it meant to live in a developing country, vs a developed familiar country.

Review Photos

Study Abroad Programs in India Photo

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: Madras Christian College
How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Although it was much different than what I was familiar with, the program was excellent way for me to learn through another country's academic system.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Our onsite coordinator was fabulous! She helped tremendously in helping us get integrated within the Indian culture, travel throughout the country, and learn to experience the culture both academically and experientially.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was very happy with the housing and the services that were provided for us in the girls dormitory. The staff were really helpful. Everything was really simple, just the way I wanted it.

* Food:

The food was such a great way to learn about the culture. It was DELICIOUS.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The culture was much different than ours in many ways, yet similar in some. It was fascinating to see the comparisons.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Health services were not an issue at all. Admitedly, I was a little suprised. It was really simple to receive any sort of perscription or to be seen by a doctor. Futhermore, there was an on campus nurse you could see for anything. I did get several vaccines before I went over to India, which every health department should know. Along with that I had to take malaria pills every day. In general, I did not have any side effects.

* Safety:

As a white foreigner I really stood out. I had to be careful of when and where I traveled, just common sense. At first it was intimidating to get to some parts of the city. Once I knew the city more, it was no problem.

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)

It was very easy. I was also very thankful that there was room to buy my own food in small quantities to make the transition from American to Indian food a bit easier.

* 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? 40$ for myself, travel, and extra food
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I would recommend really utilizing the services that are given to you under the tuition and taking advantage of the food that they provide for example. I came into the program having a budget myself, and that way I was able to set aside more money for my own traveling within the country and for some personal things I really wanted to buy.


* 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

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? None
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? It may help to have more of a foreign language component to the program, but it is difficult because most people speak English. I would encourage students to really speak with those that don't know English really well. The staff of the girls dormitory is an example from my experience.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • Traveling opportunities within the country
  • Learning about the local food
  • Being able to learn about a different academic system
* What could be improved?
  • A larger langauge component
  • An improved course/more structured on the Indian culture/history/political system as a foundation
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I think it would have been a little more prepared about the differences involved in working with an Indian NGO vs. an organization we may think of from the United States.