The best 3.5 months of my life. Past Review

By (Communication and Media Studies., Bethel University) - abroad from 08/28/2011 to 12/14/2011 with

Study Abroad Programs in Switzerland

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This review may have made it sound like I disliked a lot about this trip, but this is the furthest thing from true. I gained several amazing new friends and together, we took advantage of every opportunity we could to have adventures. On a trip like this, where there is a great deal of free time, your experience and memories are what you make them. So what did I learn from this experience? Time flies and I can't stand the thought of wasting even a moment of it with people who bring me down or doing activities that keep me from pursuing what I truly want from life. Every good memory I had with my friends is worth a million way too personal questions from people I don't know, dehydrated tours of the city, arguments with professors, and times being told to be quiet.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I was a senior at the time of the trip and felt that the depth of content and style of assignments took me backwards at times. However, this is understandable, as the classes for this trip are shown as being junior level.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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 Swiss cities, especially Geneva, it was difficult to eat on this budget, but in Italy and Austria, it was fine.

* 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? It depends. When traveling, the group was more prone to eat out, making the cost of food to go up. When we stayed in one place though, if you were smart and planned well, you could grocery shop and eat very cheaply.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? 1. Learn to cook filling meals and grocery shop accordingly. 2. Research group rates for travel, museums, shows, etc, and go with your friends. 3. Bring a water bottle.


* 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

Outside of class, the Swiss and Italian people seemed to not want us to even try speaking Italian.

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? No prior Italian courses
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? Participate in class and take advantage of the teachers. They are patient and want you to learn.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The friends I made
  • Being given a large amount of independence
  • Austria
* What could be improved?
  • More relevant cultural integration
  • Try harder to avoid dehydration
  • Spend the greatest amount of time in a less expensive city
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Don't waste time with classmates who aren't willing to explore, try new things, and integrate themselves into the local culture.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Italian Language and Culture

Course Department: Communication
Instruction Language: Italian/English
Comments: The class was fun, provided a good atmosphere for bonding between students at the start of the trip, and the teachers were excellent. However, we spent little time in Italian speaking countries after the course and most students forgot most of what they learned.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Advanced Group Communication

Course Department: Communication
Instructor: Peggy Kendall
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The professor was engaging, open, and creative with her assignments. She allowed us to take advantage of our new and beautiful surroundings when it came to group projects and reading assignments. Discussion based class periods led us to correct conclusions, rather than the professor simply telling us what information was right and wrong. However, I don't feel that this course went any more in depth on the topic than Group Communication.
Credit Transfer Issues: