Lifechanging Guanajuato - Spanish Language and Mexican Culture Past Review

By (Political Science/Spanish, University of Florida) for

Universidad de Guanajuato: Guanajuato - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Absolutely worthwhile. I improved my Spanish, got to see and understand a different culture and different way of life altogether. Studying abroad changed my outlook towards life in other countries, and if I'm able, I would like to live somewhere other than the United States, somewhere slower-paced like Guanajuato. I would probably go for Spain because it's developed and spanish-speaking, and I hope I can do that in the future.

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.

Work load really wasn't that horrible, we had 2 classes and were typically free to go out almost every night (almost).

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I felt ISA was really organized, and the support services were great. There was a local office that we would go to every day to work on projects and use the internet, etc. I believe I got out of it what I expected, and the program size really wasn't too large to where I felt unnoticed or anything.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My housing was done by ISA, they placed me with a host family, in particular one who catered to vegetarians which was really nice. I felt pretty safe, no more or less safe than I would in my city in the US. The house was nice, and very fitting, and the proximity to the school/"downtown" area was awesome compared to others (I was centrally located). I didn't need any household items except toiletries/clothes, everything was provided. My host family was awesome, it was a 60something grandmother and she always had family visiting, and they were super friendly and caring.

* Food:

They accommodated my vegetarianism, and I ate way more there than I do in the US. The quality of the food was really good, though I hate to say I got tired of eating the same kind of food every day. As Americans, we're very diverse and are used to eating Chinese, Italian, Mexican, Jamaican, every nationality pretty much; but when you're IN Mexico, you obviously tend to eat only Mexican, and 6 weeks of it can become tiresom. Kind of bratty to complain about, but for other Americans, just a warning for study abroad in general. There were many places to go, but we mostly ate at home unless we wanted a small something from cafes and such. There WAS a McDonalds, for whenever we craved fast food, but it was about 10-15 minutes away by bus in the mall.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Things were so much easier in Guanajuato; we studied, we drank, we went to clubs, we socialized til' maybe 2 or 3, then repeated the whole thing. Life just seemed easier and more fun there. Every weekend we went on excursions which were all awesome, like seeing the pyramids and museums of the area. So many awesome trips and events took place.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The safety, unlike other parts of Mexico, was really good. Obviously you should not walk anywhere at night alone, especially if you're a girl (the men are very sexist there). Sometimes, healthwise, many of us would have stomach problems based on what we ate, but in general they were just us getting used to different foods. No we did not drink the water, water jugs are everywhere and bottled water as well; I did brush my teeth with the tap water, and I was fine. I didn't use the healthcare system there because I was never extremely sick, my hostmom tended to have home remedies for anything. That's about it.

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
Language acquisition improvement?

I practiced with my friends, my host family, and people I met in Guanajuato. If you wanted to buy anything, even a coke at a store, you had to use Spanish obviously. I did speak English a lot with my friends from my the US, which could've had negative effects on my acquisition, but overall I spoke Spanish a lot, daily.

If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Try to speak Spanish as much as you can! I think a student interested in acquiring Spanish would be perfect for this program, along with maybe medical students that want to get a look at different places of medicine.