Making Friends Around the WORLD Past Review

By (Biology, Oklahoma State University - Stillwater) - abroad from 01/07/2013 to 05/15/2013 with

Universidad de las Americas - Puebla / UDLAP : Puebla - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned how to make friends with people from cultures all around the world, also to be more independent, and I am immensely prouder of my own country.

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 classes were not difficult in comparison to those at OSU, but sometimes the workload was too much; most professors waited until the last couple of weeks to pile on the homework. These classes were 100% international students, who of course would have preferred to travel more and spend time with friends before leaving the country.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The host country international office was extremely friendly and helpful with whatever needs arose. For example when I experienced a broken ankle, they brought me a wheelchair and crutches, and even wheeled me to my orthopedist appointments. Also, they did my grocery shopping for me.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My living arrangements were fairly nice, however there were many available suites, so it would be nice if more age grouping was available; it was sometimes difficult living with all 18-19 year olds being 22. The age gap was pretty noticeable many times.

* Food:

The eating options on campus were amazing and very affordable.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

After about 2.5 or 3 months I felt completely at home.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I experienced a broken ankle and the host country study abroad personnel went above and beyond; taking me to the on campus orthopedist for treatment each time I had an appointment, bringing me a wheelchair and crutches to use. Also, scheduling appointments with the on campus clinic was very easy. It was sometimes difficult to get prescriptions filled. We also were not made aware of how insurance was supposed to work concerning prescription medication, so I paid out of pocket each time, which turned out to not be an issue since I didn't reach my deductible anyway, but it could have been a problem.

* Safety:

The campus itself is very safe; it is fenced and there is a heavy presence of friendly security guards at each entrance to campus, as well as around the campus itself. The town surrounding the campus is safe with the exception of the very dangerous sidewalks. Also, there are no smoke detectors in bedrooms.

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)

The trouble didn't come from money spent abroad, but certain government or school policy restrictions on disbursement that made paying bills that continued at home a bit of a challenge.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? about $50
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Know the country you're in; unlike the United States, it isn't necessarily more cost effective to grocery shop as opposed to eating in small cafes, restaurants, or on campus.


* 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

Spanish classes were taught exclusively in Spanish.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 3000 level
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? It's comforting to associate yourself with people who speak your language, but try to use the local language with them as much as possible. Only use your home language if necessary.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Exchange

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
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?
  • Making global friendships
  • Becoming fluent in Spanish
  • Cheap cost of living
* What could be improved?
  • I had a list of classes that I intended to take before arriving to the host country, but none of the classes were actually available for the term I was studying in.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The extreme altitude change from my home city to the host city. The first week or two were very difficult!

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Networker
An active student leader, it was important for you to network abroad as well. Once overseas, you sought out student clubs, volunteered with local organizations, or attended community events. You encouraged your friends join you, and often considered how you could reflect your international experiences in a resume.