BCA Study Abroad
New friends and culture
Submitted by Abby - University of Wisconsin La Crosse | August 04, 2014
I was pleased with how deep I got to be immersed into the Spanish culture. It was nice to be in a city that was smaller and not very touristy to get a real feel for the country and it's culture. My host family was amazing and added to make it an awesome experience.
Incredibly Diverse Experience
Submitted by pazenelmundo - Goshen College | July 15, 2014
My time in Ecuador with BCA was certainly one of the most fantastic things I've done in my life so far. My host family was beyond kind to me and treated me as if I were their own daughter. BCA planned four different trips for us, including a week in the Galapagos Islands and a social justice focus was emphasized on the other three trips. It was so easy to travel on our own and see more of the incredibly biodiverse and culturally expansive country. Classes were taken through the University of San Francisco Quito, which has been rated the best university in the entire country. Unfortunately, that means that it attracts a certain crowd of well-off Ecuadorian students, which was unhelpful in my goal of integration with the cultural and experience of the different classes of Ecuadorian society. However, school is not the most important part of a study abroad experience, and I learned so much outside of the classroom that it didn't even matter.
Program: BCA Study Abroad in Quito, Ecuador
First Extended Time in a European Country
Submitted by Angelina - Manchester University | July 15, 2014
I was nervous about going to Ireland because it would be my first long distance travel for more than a week. BCA helped with everything which made it easier to travel. It was very helpful that they offered a planned flight instead of having to book on your own and then try to figure out how to get to the university. Also, since this was a relatively new program, we had a program coordinator, Elizabeth Huskin, come with on our trip. Not everyone gets to experience that, but it was very helpful because she was able to answer questions about the program right on the spot.
When we first arrived, we were assigned our housing, which was very nice. It was on-campus housing, and so it was convenient, especially since we learned that not all study abroad students were given on-campus housing.
The program also included a course on top of the academics offered at Maynooth. It was a really helpful course that brought insight to the religious issues during the time known as "The Troubles." Paul Arthur was our teacher and he was amazing. He was involved heavily in talks and negotiations, even if he is not mentioned in the history books. He was a walking encyclopedia of knowledge. This made it easy and fun to learn about the Troubles. Since he was involved, he also brought in speakers who had even more influence on the events.
Part of the program included a week stay in Derry, Northern Ireland, one of the main cities involved during the Troubles. The week was spent learning everything there is to know about the events that occurred. We visited several important sites, as well as some more artistic places. There was an art exhibit that contained unique sculptures. They were in fact pictures placed as sculptures of images during the Troubles. We also saw Witness Theatre, which is theatre based and using real people with real issues. This specific one was gaining citizenship in Ireland while trying to run away from persecution in other countries. It was a wonderful experience and made you think how grateful a person is to just have a family.
Since I was there a full year, I got more of an experience. First semester was very heavily BCA based. However, second semester, I became very involved with the school. I started working on my Cultural Heritage Certificate, which included courses on the literature, and the older culture of Ireland. I was also able to direct a full play with the Drama Society. The previous semester, I even joined the Rugby Club and played a view games. By this time, I was submerged into the Irish culture.
BCA does a wonderful job of promoting the submerging into a culture. I truly believe that a full year is very effective in gaining goals for studying abroad because the first semester, I spent traveling a lot. Yet, by second semester I was hanging out with the new friends I had made.
BCA is also great on making sure that you are comfortable and everything is okay, with occasional messages asking about how everything is going. They truly look after you while you are abroad, and do everything they can to make sure your experience is the best it can be.
Program: BCA Study Abroad in Dublin, Ireland
Immersive, adventurous, eye-opening, thought-provoking, and social
Submitted by Laura Garlock - Carleton College | July 09, 2014
After a trip to an organic farm on the Ecuadorian coast with my program, we were given the option to return to Quito with the program or to stay on the coast and return on our own. Three friends from the study abroad program and I decided to travel up the coast for a few days, and it ended up being my favorite trip I've taken despite several obstacles we had to work around. We stayed in $5 hostels, hitchhiked in the back of a pickup truck, learned to make the Ecuadorian dish bolon verde, ended up staying a couple nights in huts behind a juice bar because everywhere else was full but the juice bar owners helped us out, had a campfire and salsa dancing night with new friends from the juice bar, and tried my favorite Ecuadorian dish for the first time - encocado de pescado. It was all unplanned, but the four of us cemented our friendship and made Ecuadorian friends during that trip.
I was impressed with the social justice focus of the program, which facilitated volunteer internships for the students and was careful to support local, community-based tourism rather than large international companies. The program allowed for direct enrollment in a local university, included four long trips and a few day trips, included a month-long orientation, placed students with host families, and was more affordable than other programs despite being longer and including more trips. I wanted to go to Ecuador because I was very interested in indigenous cultures and wanted to learn Kichwa, and was also attracted by Ecuador's impressive geographic diversity.
Program: BCA Study Abroad in Quito, Ecuador
The Best Study Abroad program in South America
Submitted by senoritakelly - DePauw University | June 25, 2012
Best program in South America--hands down. If you go for the fall semester you spend a month before classes start learning Spanish at the university USFQ--and you get course credit! There are also cultural classes and excursions to many parts in Quito (the director is super well connected from his Peace Corps days), the coast, the Amazon, and the Galapagos. The director is there for all students needs and is a really swell guy to have as a resource. Not only that, but the host families you stay with are all wonderful! BCA has high standards for their host families and cuts families for any signs of racism, bad treatment, or other problems. There were only 20 students in the BCA Quito program--but over 200 at the university from other programs. All the other program's students were jealous at how wonderful our program was. We get a lot for our buck! I have nothing bad to say about the program. The university itself was not the best of times--the students, for the most part, come from what I would say a "preppy/chic" background. They were always friendly, but I spent most of my free time meeting others outside of the university in the city--it's a big city so there are plenty of people to meet!
The program isn't completely academic oriented through USFQ. However, the program itself, through the director Daniel Bryan, has a commitment to academics. There are informal discussions scheduled through the semester, well thought out excursions with time to talk and discuss, and most of the students are deeply committed to cultural learning and understanding.
The program puts you with a host family to match your need. There are many family's with different living situations that are suitable for everyone. The director works hard with the family's and students to make sure everyone is happy, comfortable, and where they want to be.
Best director of study abroad programs at USFQ--all other programs students were jealous of BCA-Quito. The director is THERE for students at all times and works hard with all the students, home universities, USFQ, and BCA to make it come together. Honestly, you could not be better taken care of.
Program: BCA Study Abroad in Quito, Ecuador