Siempre Arica! Past Review

By (TESOL-Spanish, University of Northern Iowa) - abroad from 05/29/2013 to 07/29/2013 with

University of Northern Iowa: Arica - Culture and Intensive Spanish Program (CISP)

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Besides gaining Spanish skills and improving as a student, I feel like I learned a lot about myself while having the chance of a lifetime to travel to another country. It was definitely worth it, and I would love to go back!

Review Photos

University of Northern Iowa: Arica - Culture and Intensive Spanish Program (CISP) Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I learned so much in two months, and even though a lot of what I learned came from outside the classroom many times the professors were still the ones giving us the experiences.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved my family and feel like I have a second home in Chile now. They were so warm and treated me like one of their own children.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Arica is a very safe city. The only times it could be a little scary was at night which only happened a few times. Also, listening to the locals you know is important.

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)

It all depends on what you choose to make your priorities with spending. If going out to eat with friends happens to be important, then you're going to spend more money. It's very manageable though!

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? My roommate had a great idea to budget $100/week and even if you go over this sometimes, it's still giving you a better idea of how much you're spending and budgeting is easier.


* 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

Since we had a big group of Americans we spoke more than we should have in English, but that's a choice you make for yourself. Our family, professors, and locals would constantly encourage us to speak 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? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Introduction to Translation/ Intro. to Literature
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? Speak the language even if other students around you aren't. If you start speaking the language more it will help the others begin to use it more often as well. More beneficial for everyone!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Americans
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?
  • The host families
  • Meeting locals
  • Hearing and speaking Spanish everywhere!
* What could be improved?
  • The university was on strike for a while when we were there so that was different. At the same time it taught us a lot about the culture and how Chilean society functions.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How important it is to be independent and take risks. If I would have stayed in my room more throughout the trip I wouldn't have experienced half of the awesome things I did when I was exploring the city. It's given me a better perspective on how to live life in America as well.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'