Studying in Mexico was the best experience I've ever had! Guanajuato Past Review

By (Economics & Psychology, University of Maryland - Baltimore County) for

Universidad de Guanajuato: Guanajuato - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
When I came home from my 5 weeks studying abroad, I literally felt like a new person. I realized how much I grew in the time away. I was nervous to go, but afterwards I wished I went for an entire year. I also learned so much of the language. Prior to the trip, I could not understand half of what the teacher would say in my college Spanish class. When I walked into class my first day back, I could not believe that I understood every single word the teacher was saying. I am not exaggerating when I say that I was in shock, it was amazing.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The professors at the University of Guanajuato were amazing. They were able to break down the grammar for me to understand better than anyone had been in my school in the USA. It was more focused on learning rather than making sure you got a good grade, which also made a huge difference in what you took from the class. Less pressure to pass an exam, meant you could learn the material at your own pace and get the additional help if necessary. There was homework in the class and concepts were taught in multiple ways to ensure that you understand. The culture class was fun and we could relate to what we were learning since we were actually living in the country and experiencing it. It was the best experience I've ever had and if I could go back, I would have stayed longer.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

This was a wonderful program. The coordinators were always available and willing to help you. The class sizes were prefect, about 25 in each class. This allowed for 1:1 with the teachers and group exercises. The whole program exceeded my expectations.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived with other students who were studying abroad, two were from the US and one was from the Bahamas, but we all spoke English and Spanish. We had our own rooms separate from the family, since they seemed to be a little more well-off than other families in the city. This in a way hindered our ability to fully experience the culture, as we were not really living the way that they were. We each had our own bathroom; it was more of an apartment-type living. The house was off to the side and we couldn't access it if they were not home. Other students, though, lived in the house with the families and spent the majority of the time with them, experiencing the culture the fullest. The house was in a safe location and pretty close to class and nightlife.

* Food:

Having a sensitive stomach, the authentic Mexican food did not settle well with me. I could not eat most of the food without getting sick and by the end of the trip, I was eating pp&j sandwiches, which offended the family a bit. This was not typical though! All of my friends who I met there were able to enjoy all of the food. I would suggest trying everything and anything you can to get the entire experience. You never know what you like until you try it! (Just have some Pepto on hand, in case)

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The weekend excursions were amazing. Each weekend was something new to see and do. The best trip was when we went to see the pyramids, swim in the waterfalls, and ride on horseback to a very well-known dormant volcano. The program had so much to offer to ensure that we took as much out of the experience as we could

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The city was very safe and you were hardly bothered. It is a historical city and had many tourists. The people in the city were also a lot more well-off than other places in Mexico, so walking the streets at night did not pose anymore risk than back home in the US. We did not need any vaccines prior to the trip.

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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I lived with a host family who only spoke Spanish, so I had to use the language almost all day everyday. I would also have to speak Spanish at the school, interacting with natives, or going to the store to buy something. The only time I spoke English was with the fellow Americans who I had class with.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Other

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Cultural experience by going on trips
  • They had their own office in the city to go to for anything you needed, to study, eat, socialize, use WIFI, etc.
  • Coordinators were always available to help
* What could be improved?
  • N/A
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? If you want to learn Spanish, this is an excellent program to choose. Not only do you get to immerse yourself in the language, ISA also gives you the cultural experience. Take everything you can from the experience, don't hold back! You'll look back at it and wish you could do it all over again. I advise everyone to study abroad at least once, if not more, while they are in college!