TBB -- the best decision I've ever made! (Truly!) Past Review

By (Bowdoin College) - abroad from 09/10/2018 to 03/16/2019 with

Thinking Beyond Borders: Traveling - Global Gap Year

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
What didn't I gain/learn?! As cheesy as it sounds, TBB was the single-most transformative experience I've had, and every part of it was beyond worthwhile -- even (/especially) the moments of culture shock and discomfort.

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.

The seminars were AWESOME. Each and every seminar really pushed my thinking, taught me a whole host of perspectives, and encouraged me to grow in so many ways. I really cannot stress how much I enjoyed the seminars and how much I learned from them.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

There were some instances of miscommunication, but nothing that really interfered with my overall experience.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host families really made my experiences all that they were. I felt very comfortable and cared for within my host families, and the conversations and experiences I shared with them are so priceless. I could not be more grateful for the immersive homestay experiences TBB provided me.

* Food:

It was really fun to try foods from each of the countries we visited, and honestly, I was very pleasantly surprised by how well I ate (and how much I ate too!).

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

My host families really took me in and encouraged me to join them on a wide variety of excursions. It was so awesome to experience so many lifestyles. TBB also scheduled several cultural activities that were great, but my experience living with host families was definitely crucial to learning about the different cultures.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I, fortunately, didn't have any health issues – I think largely because my host families took care of me so well! Other people did have some minor health issues, and I think the various health systems were sightly hard to navigate, but the Program Leaders were ALWAYS there to help!

* Safety:

Travelling definitely put me out of my comfort zone quite a bit. My program leaders always were there to make sure I felt safe and to talk through any other issues.

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

Not only did TBB push me to grow in COUNTLESS ways, but I also really really loved it. I am so incredibly grateful for the experience and I would love to do it a hundred times my. My program leaders were absolutely spectacular and offered endless support and encouragement and challenged me to really put myself out there.


* 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)

The program was not cheap, but I had very, very minimal expenses outside of the original tuition. Almost everything was fully included in the tuition.


* 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

Throughout the program, we had semi-regular language classes to learn the local languages. My host families also helped me practice language when I wanted to, and I spoke to my Guatemalan host fmaily entirely in Spanish which was excellent practice!

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Challenge yourself and accept that you will make mistakes! Practice, practice, practice!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* 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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • host families
  • program leaders
  • seminars
* What could be improved?
  • communication with in-country administration
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew how much personal reflection was involved in the program. It really pushed me to reflect on my educational experiences and my life in the most beautiful ways, but I wasn't expecting it! I also wish I knew how important the TBB group would be -- they were so important to my learning and support network, and they are now some of my absolute closest friends!