Wonderful people, not so great classes Past Review

By (The College of William and Mary) - abroad from 02/14/2012 to 07/12/2012 with

William & Mary: La Plata - Universidad Nacional de La Plata

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I improved my language skills and matured a lot by living away from my family for so long. I also got to see a lot of beautiful places.

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.

I expected the academic aspects of this program to be very challenging, because that was the impression I got from attending the information sessions. However, I found the classes to be really easy. It was nice not to have a huge workload, because it allowed me to focus on enjoying my time abroad. However, I felt that readings and class discussions were not as stimulating as classes of the same level on campus usually are. This was very disappointing to me.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Bettina and Diego are great, but there were lots of logistical problems. It was difficult to schedule class times with our professors at the commission. Also, since the commission is in the process of moving we sometimes had to evacuate our classroom in the middle of class and move to a tiny office. We also didn't have a place at the commission that we could use to study, which would have been helpful. Since the commission runs so many other programs it sometimes felt like we were an afterthought.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family was great. They were very kind and caring and did their best to make us feel at home. There wasn't always breakfast food in the house. Also there was no heat in our bedroom, which was very uncomfortable during the winter months.

* Food:

The food was always delicious and we always had plenty to eat for lunch and dinner. At the beginning of the program there was no breakfast food in the house, because my host family doesn't eat breakfast. After talking to our host mom she bought yogurt and cereal for us, but we would often run out. Also we didn't eat as many fruit and vegetables as I would have liked.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I was sick twice while abroad and the insurance provided by William and Mary was not accepted by the doctor or pharmacy here, so I had to pay out of pocket.

* 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)

If I had only done the program sponsored activities I could have spent less money, but in order to socialize and take advantage of my time abroad to travel and participate in local cultural activities I had to spend more money.

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? Yes
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Buy a bus pass at the beginning of the semester and learn how to use the bus system. Google "cual bondi La Plata" and you'll find a very helpful website. You can also use the bus pass to go to and from Buenos Aires, which will save you time and money since you won't have to go to the terminal to buy tickets.


* 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

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? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 400 level
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • 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?
  • The host family.
* What could be improved?
  • The classes and logistical aspects of the program.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known that the classes were not William and Mary quality and that the internship was a very small part of the experience.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Intensive Spanish Language Course

Course Department:
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: This class was not challenging. I think it was difficult to make class time productive, because we were such a small group and all of us had different strengths and weaknesses. We spent lots of time reviewing basic grammar and vocabulary, which I think we could have reviewed on our own time. By the time we got to more advanced grammar concepts and complicated verb tenses, the things that we needed class time to review, there was not enough time left in the course to cover them sufficiently.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

20th Century History of Argentina

Course Department:
Instruction Language:
Comments: This course presented concepts related to the history of the dictatorship that were challenging and provoked lots of thought. The professor was very knowledgeable, but class was often boring. She almost always lectured, which was frustrating because lots of the topics we covered could have made for very interesting class discussion. The field trips were very informative and relevant and my favorite part of the class.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Argentine Youth and Culture

Course Department:
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: This course was not challenging. Some of the readings were interesting, but others seemed irrelevant and class discussions were not stimulating. The professor was very knowledgeable but was not well-prepared for class. She arrived 30 minutes late almost every time. Also the class didn't relate very strongly to human rights, which was disappointing because I chose this program because that's what I was interested in learning.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Indigenous Rights and Nature Conservation

Course Department:
Instructor: Gisela Juare
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: This was by far my favorite class in Argentina. The professor was very knowledgeable and the class structure was organized. Homework was always relevant and the professor provoked stimulating class discussion.
Credit Transfer Issues: