Guanajuato: An experience of a lifetime! Past Review

By (Psycology and Criminal Justice, Bridgewater State College) for

Universidad de Guanajuato: Guanajuato - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a strong sense of cultural awareness, plus I'm better at communicating in Spanish now too! ( :

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.

Being submerged in the heart of a Spanish speaking country, it was easy to learn to communicate better in this language. By the end of the summer I was near fluent and had learned (both in the classroom and through experience) so much about the wonderful, colorful culture of Mexico!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

ISA administrators were helpful with information and finding fun activities. School faculty was fair with grading and helpful in our studies. I appreciated the time and effort they took in and out of class to help me.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

It was a safe area with a beautiful view of the mountainous terrain that surrounds the small city of Guanajuato. The house was very nice and cozy - they had an alarm system too, which they taught me how to use in case I came home and they were out for the day. I didn't need to buy anything really, since everything had been provided. I had my own room and the Senora did my laundry once weekly, including changing sheets. The family was very kind to me and answered questions. They also made suggestions for things to do.

* Food:

There are many cafes and restaurants throughout the city. I've tried many things from several local places- but if you're pining for "American" food there's a mall you can go to with a McDonald's and other chain restaurants you may be familiar with (to include a large walmart). My recommendation is to explore and try it all! HOWEVER - I do not recommend buying tacos off the street. Or any food that contains meat from street carts. ISA staff warn against this, as most travel guides, but of course, I had to try it because I didn't think it would affect me. I became sick and extremely nauseated. I had to go to the doctors and though I recovered within two days it ruined my weekend. My friend ate a taco with me, from the same place and had no consequence from it at all. Overall, it depends I suppose, on your body's immune system, however, I wouldn't take the risk...And for those who dare, well, it tasted delicious and if you get sick, at least you know it won't kill you. ( :

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There are many religious parades that go through the city. These are fun to watch! Take advantage of all the extracurricular activities that ISA includes in the program!! If you go to Teotihuacan make sure to bring sunscreen! Overall, there is so much to do and learn. Research ahead of time all the upcoming holidays and traditions involved. There's much to see and do! One of my favorite memories is when me and two friends took a trip to Mexico City. We spent a week there, going from hostel to hostel, visiting famous landmarks like Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera's house, the large Museo de Anthropologia, the Palacio de Bellas Artes... Trust me, there's a ton to do in the city, just be careful because some areas aren't as safe as others and I recommend bringing a few friends along. Traveling alone is never a safe idea.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Guanajuato is probably the safest place I've ever been to - safer than where I live now actually. As long as you have some common sense and some level of caution about where you're going, who you're with, and what time of day (or night) it should be fine. It's not recommended to travel alone in taxis, especially if you're female, and though I have done this, I don't necessarily recommend it. It's safer traveling with others - so make friends! And it's better because you can split the fair! ( :

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 spoke to professors in Spanish and occasionally practiced with my American colleagues in and out of class. However, much was learned from the friends I made in Mexico and the host family I stayed with. The only people that spoke English were those working with ISA and the American students. Few others speak it fluently.

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

  • Local Students
  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Someone who's adventurous, loves the outdoors, new experiences, the Latino/Mexican culture, and traveling! ( :