Marvelous Mexico Past Review

By (Cell/Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences., University of Wisconsin - LaCrosse) - abroad from 08/05/2013 to 12/12/2013 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Too much to write! One thing was confidence- I thought I was pretty confident and self sufficient before but this is such a different situation where you are isolated from your family/friends. ABSOLUTELY worthwhile! I wish I could have stayed a whole year instead of just a semester.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The classes were hard enough that I felt challenged but I did not receive homework over the weekends. The professors understand you are an international student and want to use your weekends to explore the country. The professors were glad to work with international students outside of class to help them better understand the language.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program leaders were kind but not organized at all. This hurt for them being able to support me.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I stayed in the dorms on campus. I did not like that I was placed with another US student but the rest of the international students I knew were placed only with native students. The rules for the residence halls were more strict than I was used to: all guests have to sign in with a resident who is responsible for them, no opposite gender guests after 10pm, if a friend/relative stayed overnight they would be charged 90 pesos, no alcohol, no coming back to the residence halls appearing under the influence of alcohol, and having to meet with a school psychologist.

* Food:

Food on campus and places within walking distance of campus was amazing! There were even two US like burger restaurants in case you were craving home-like food. The market just off the zocalo had fresh food/produce every day including meat, fruit, and veggies.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

This has more to do with effort. If you try and put yourself out there, make native friends, take trips with small groups instead of the groups of 80+ international students that go on school- lead trips. Part of studying at a private school disconnects you from the culture because you are with the children of relatively wealthy people in the country instead of the range you would get at a public school.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Living in the residence halls gives you direct access to the health care system on campus. They immediately find a bed for you and rehydrate you. The only thing is that they pump you full of antibiotics without asking for consent/ telling you about your treatment. This is standard procedure when dealing with foreigners not used to the organisms living in their water.

* Safety:

If you are smart and stick with a group and don't go to places you are unfamiliar with at night you will be fine! I never once felt afraid or threatened.

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)

If you wanted to travel/ explore the country every weekend it would cost about $200/week. Food and personal expenses were inexpensive.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $150
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Shop at the local market once a week to get your fruit/vegtables/beans/meat. You can cook for yourself and save lots of money! Some restaurants have great deals- lots of food for a little money. Also- dining at the dining hall is relatively cheap.


* 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

Taking language classes and classes with native speakers. When you are with your international friends it can be hard to continue to speak the language but encourage each other! You are all in this country for a reason!

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? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 300
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Find a friend native to the country before you leave to ask for some sayings specific to that country. Also before you leave- read books/articles in the language. While in the country: make native friends, form study groups for your classes with native students, set up a language exchange, and read books or news articles.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • fellow students
  • food
  • travel
* What could be improved?
  • administration in country
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? There is opportunity to live off campus in apartments just off campus.

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.