Complaints of Guanajuato: None - Spanish Language and Mexican Culture Past Review

By (Speech Communication, University of Central Missouri) for

Universidad de Guanajuato: Guanajuato - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
After studying abroad, I felt like I should have been in Mexico most of my life. I felt like I belonged to the culture more than my own. I was healthy, happy, and wouldn't have changed my experiences for anything. Hopefully I am able to go back to Guanajuato often for vacation if not for a job at some point. The one regret that I may have is that I didn't go for a whole semester. I only completed a 5 week summer session, and while I learned SO much, I can only imagine what I might have learned through a whole 4 month semester.

Review Photos

Universidad de Guanajuato: Guanajuato - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo

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.

Before I went to Mexico, I was really worried about the difference in cultures at the universities, so I signed up for pass/fail grades. After arriving in Mexico and attending a couple classes, I really wish I would have trusted myself and signed up for letter grades. The culture in Mexico bleeds into the universities there; laid-back, understanding, caring, and fun-loving are only some words to describe most all atmospheres I encountered during my stay. ISA had an activity itinerary that wasn't required, but it was included. I took advantage of almost all the activities included, except one day when I was feeling sick. The people in Mexico were never an issue even late at night in the bars. Everyone was very caring, and I felt very comfortable with my host family, my Mexican friends, my friends from the United States, the ISA staff, and the university staff. The food my family cooked was delicious. I really have absolutely no complaints...except that electronics are very expensive in Mexico. My computer shorted out mid-way through my stay, and I had to wait until I was back in the United States to have it repaired because it was too expensive in Mexico. Overall, I would put my study abroad experience on the list of the best things I've ever experienced. It was great, and I wish I could have stayed longer.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Like I mentioned before, everyone was caring and helpful. Our ISA group was fantastic. When I was sick, the coordinator (who did not speak English)helped me to get to a clinic, talk with the doctor, get to a pharmacy and get my prescriptions. She was very helpful and told me exactly what I needed to do in order to be reimbursed by my insurance once I arrived back in the United States. At one point, a pharmacy gave me the wrong type of medicine, and I didn't realize until I was at home. I talked to one of my teachers (also who did not speak English) about the medicine to make sure it was what I needed before taking it. She explained that it was not. After class, she walked to the pharmacy with me and explained to them exactly what I needed. It was so helpful to have these people around while studying abroad!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The house I stayed in was beautiful. I felt very safe there. The house was about a 10-15 minute walk from most places that I enjoyed going, el jardin where the nightlife was and the university. The host family supplied everything except personal items/hygienic items. Someone came around each day and cleaned our rooms. Our laundry was washed at least once a week. Every weekday lunch was prepared around 2:00p.m. and it was a large meal. The host family was very agreeable and helped prepare us for certain activities where we would need a lunch or snack or other items like raincoats, umbrellas, etc. At the same time the family was hands-off, meaning that they let us come and go as we pleased, understanding the cultural differences. This was a very welcoming environment.

* Food:

Every meal that my family prepared was absolutely wonderful. The food was very delicious but healthy at the same time. There was always more than enough food for lunch. For breakfast, we were welcome to have whatever was around. Most of the time I ate a bowl of cereal and fruit. Most of the time I went out for dinner, but if I didn't I was welcome to the food in the house. The restaurants were good. At one point, I really wanted a burger and fries, so I ordered one. Let's just say, Mexicans make Mexican food best. While I ate out a lot, I can't remember specific names of restaurants. There is a cafe in the center of town in el jardin, which is really good, and the name of the cafe begins with the letter "P," but the full name slips my mind. The locals that I met were the best in giving advice for where to eat.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Through ISA we were able to go to Urapan and climb a volcano and swim in a waterfall in a national park. We went to so many museums located in Guanajuato, only minutes from home. I would recommend that everyone who studies abroad with ISA participate in the excursions.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Guanajuato is no different from any other city. There is always a chance that it could be unsafe, but I never experienced that. I mentioned earlier that my local friends would walk me home at night and give me advice on "what to do" or "what not to do." My advice is the same that I would give for any place. Don't carry large amounts of cash on you at one time. Don't walk home alone at night. Always have identification cards on you. Be polite to people. Make local friends/alliances.

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?

Spanish use was an absolute must while I was in Mexico. Although many people spoke some English, my host family, my teachers, and ISA members did not. I was very happy about this because when you have to use the language, you have to learn it. Some of the friends I made in Mexico spoke English, but I always preferred to speak Spanish with them in order to improve my conversational abilities. It was a necessity in everyday interaction, but it was one of the best things about the experience. I learned so much more than I could have imagined in the short time I was there.

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

  • Host Family
  • Local Students
  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Students who really want to learn the culture and the language would be students who would benefit from this program. The teachers understand that these are learned best through experience, and encourage the students to partake in the nightlife. Participate in the activities offered to you, and try to experience more if time permits (it did for me). Don't be afraid to stay longer than one summer session!