An absolutely indescribable experience! Past Review

By (Anthropology, Spanish, University of Maine at Orono) - abroad from 08/26/2012 to 12/14/2012 with

USAC India: Bengaluru – Culture, Society, and Global Perspectives

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I honestly can't even sum up what I learned while abroad because I gained so much from the experience. Simply being thrown into a completely different culture, where everything is basically exactly the opposite of where I live in America, was priceless. I gained self motivation, confidence, a ton of new friends, some new language skills, leadership skills, and so much more!

Review Photos

USAC: Bangalore, India - Sociology, Service Learning, and Indian Cultural Studies Photo USAC: Bangalore, India - Sociology, Service Learning, and Indian Cultural Studies Photo USAC: Bangalore, India - Sociology, Service Learning, and Indian Cultural Studies Photo USAC: Bangalore, India - Sociology, Service Learning, and Indian Cultural Studies Photo USAC: Bangalore, India - Sociology, Service Learning, and Indian Cultural Studies Photo

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.

Classes were very easy and exchange students were on their own curriculum. Would have been nicer and more challenging to be in classes with Indian students, although I did like most of our professors very much.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

My resident director Jacob and his assistant Ms. Florence were EXCELLENT! They were supportive and there every time we needed them.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The apartments in general were in a good location. Most of the apartments had no problems, my roommates and myself were unlucky enough to get the dud, however, and spent all semester calling in problems with the place. All of the USAC students from here on out though get brand new apartments, so lucky them!

* Food:

Food was amazing, you just have to be really careful it is safe or you will get food poisoning!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Made some really good Indian friends, although living with only USAC students made it a bit hard sometimes. You just have to go into it with a really open mind and you will do fine!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't have a problem, I never went to the doctor I toughed out every bout of food poisoning I had, but all of my friends who went with me to India and had to go to the doctor never had a problem.

* Safety:

India is obviously a very dangerous place, but as long as you are smart about where you go and who you go with you shouldn't have a problem. I never went out at night without a male to accompany me and I didn't wander around like a lost puppy and I was just fine.

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)

Especially compared to where I live now, India is VERY affordable, in every sense and case.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I spent maybe $4 a day on food and if we went shopping I spent anywhere from $5 to $25
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Save your souvenir shopping for the middle and last leg of your trip. You think you are getting good deals when you first get there and you are going to be panicked about getting gifts for everyone at home, but trust me, wait. You will hone in your bargaining skills and get even better deals the longer you are there!


* 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

Everyone at school spoke English. Everyone on the streets did not but you could get by with hand signals and their broken English. It was fun to use Kannada, though, everyone enjoyed it when we tried.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? I took no Hindi or Kannada before leaving. I am proficient in Spanish, however, no one can speak it there so it did not help me at all!
How many hours per day did you use the language? 0
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Pay attention in class and practice on everyone, even if you are embarrassed; it's the only way to learn!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* 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?
  • Jacob and Ms. Florence (resident director and assistant)
  • The Indian "buddies" we were paired with
  • Total immersion
* What could be improved?
  • Class syllabuses
  • More professor communication
  • A more in depth city tour
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? To let go of everything I knew about life and culture and to start fresh. You are literally a baby when you get there, you know nothing about the culture, the people, the language, or even how or what to eat. It is amazing, yet terrifying, and it makes the experience all worth while and exciting.

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.