A great experience but unsatisfying program Past Review

By (University of Northern Iowa) - abroad from 05/28/2013 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?
I absolutely loved my time in the culture and using the language. The program itself, expenses and challenges considered, I do not believe was worth it. It's hard to say whether I would do the same thing again or not because I loved my time there though I did not appreciate many aspects of the program.

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 courses really weren't challenging and it was slightly frustrating not to be learning more in class.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Pochy was not a great leader and it was difficult to handle her disorganization in so many situations.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved my family, but they struggled to afford placing food on the table and I don't believe it was appropriate that they did not get paid until after I left. I certainly did not receive what I paid for and they were placed in an even more difficult financial situation.

* Food:

I liked the food I ate out, but again, the food in the house was not great - a lot of hot dogs, tortilla shells with vegetables and instant potatoes.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I enjoyed the time I had with my family, but I do feel that we were expected to be with the American group far too much. It was also disappointing to have all classes with the American group only.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Not applicable; I only selected a star because it was required to move to the next section.

* Safety:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* 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)

Much of the money I did spend was to help my host family buy supplies and food for the home.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $50


* 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

Any time spent with the American students was essentially a time for using English and there was a lot of time expected to be spent with the group.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
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? Advanced Writing
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? Avoid being around English speakers who refuse to use Spanish as much as possible. When they won't speak in Spanish, you don't need to continue spending time with them.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • 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?
  • Living in Latin American Culture
  • Using Spanish in daily living
  • Living with a host family
* What could be improved?
  • Administration
  • Group Expectations
  • Class Difficulty
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I think it would have been helpful to be informed about some cultural things that we would never think of. For example, no one mentioned before we got there that it is highly uncommon to flush toilet paper.

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.'