Spanish Language Study in Cuernavaca; Educational and Unforegettable! Past Review

By (Communications, Carthage College) for

University of the Valley of Cuernavaca (UNIVAC): Cuernavaca - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I am now working toward becoming a Study Abroad Adviser and Recruiter and the positive impact the UNIVAC advisers and instructors gave me definitely influenced my career choice.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

My time in Cuernavaca and at the UNIVAC Language Center couldn't have been more positive. I had a marvelous host family, the classes were set just to my language level, the excursions were fun and educational, and not a day went by when I didn't learn more about Mexican culture.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Our group was split up by level of Spanish proficiency. My group had only three students and I felt I was given lots of attention and practice where I needed it.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Each host family housed two students, and my host family was very warm to us both. You were responsible for your own laundry, which you carried to a near by lavandería. WOW did it smell good when you picked it up! UNIVAC gave us membership to a local gym as well, where I took Spin class and Zumba. The homes were all very clean and I always felt safe. I should also mention that my friend and roommate is blind and that my host family was very considerate and creative in making sure she could participate in everything we did.

* Food:

My host mom and her muchacha are great cooks. The cafeteria at the Language Center is good too, nothing fancy, but they understand American tastes and don't make anything too spicy. The women who work in the cafeteria are very caring and take an interest in the health of all the students. As for where to go, they will take you to Las Mananitas, which is a bit pricey, but so elegant and delicious you'll want to stay all night, especially if there is music.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Being there for New Years Eve was so much fun! Eating grapes and making wishes for the New Year, learning the foods traditions of my host family was unforgettable. We were also there for Three Kings Day and because the family we stayed with had a young daughter, we really got into the fun of the Santa Claus-like excitement. We were a bit put off when the men dressed as the Three Kings at the modern mall smiled too big and patted their laps for us come and sit. :) Oh! and then there was the rosca de reyes bread! Well, I don't want to spoil the fun by telling you everything now. There are a weekend excursions every weekend, my favorites were Tepotzotlán, Taxco and the beautiful natural water park.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

As in any foreign country, you must always be aware of your surroundings. I always felt safe, but I also traveled nearly everywhere with a friend. I would recommend taking most care on the buses and in taxis. You should also be fairly careful with what water you drink, but I did brush my teeth with the water from the tap (not that it is advisable) and I was healthy the whole month.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

Finances

* 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)

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

As a Language Center, everything is very Spanish-learning focused. Other then classes five days a week, our host families followed the instructions to only speak Spanish to us at home. I found myself using Spanish in the markets, in buses and taxis, and even out dancing. If you needed to talk about something important, everyone at the Center speaks good English, and most of the host parents know some.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

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

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? You should have a strong interest in learning Spanish, but even if you don't you'll definitely end up enjoying yourself. It is a fairly structured program, so if you feel a need to venture out on your own often, this might not be the program for you.