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CCIS: Guadalajara--Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara

Overall Rating

10/ 10

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CCIS is expensive

there are many other ways to go study abroad that are cheaper. Many students at my same university spent over a thousand dollars less than I did to be there the same amount of time. Not sure why CCIS charges so much to use the program. At the time I purchased my trip, I thought it was my only option. now I realize there are many other cheaper options. I.e direct enrollment.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

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A Great experience

The teachers are great. They are well qualified and know how to explain things. I learned a lot of Spanish through this Program. And I loved the people and culture of Guadalajara.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

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My first time leaving the country and I had an amazing experience!

The CCIS Mexico program is an amazing experience for someone who really wants to learn Spanish, and immerse themselves in the culture. Guadalajara is a big, bustling city with lots to offer but its not a big tourist city so you will not find many people who speak English. If you want to learn the culture and the language, this is a great program. Finding your way around on the buses, to and from school, to el centro or to the plazas can be challenging but its the best way to learn the language! The language program at the school also offers great options for new learners as well as experienced speakers. You will connect with people from all over the world! The school offers a lot of trips and tours all over the city and all over Mexico that are fun and affordable. Guadalajara is a pretty safe area as long as you know what you are doing. The one thing I was not prepared for was the homestay - for me it was a little uncomfortable, and I ended up finding my own room to rent with some other students on campus. Otherwise, this is a great program I would recommend to anyone with an interest in furthering their knowledge in Spanish.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

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Suficiente para una adventura Mexicana

I think that to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the two months that I spent living in Guadalajara is probably be greatest praise that I could possibly give to this program. After arriving at the home of the Mexican Señora that I lived with for my duration, the home of whom was just a few blocks from the Autónoma campus, I soon eagerly jumped into Spanish classes at the University, and met many amazing people from all around the world.

The classes for me consisted of 4 hours of class in the morning, two of grammar, and then two of conversation (and then later grammar and literature, as I moved up to more advanced classes). When you first get there you take a placement exam for which level you will attend, which range from complete beginner to more advanced. The class sizes for me were pretty small - actually, they seemed fairly deserted, and I'm not sure if that's because I was there in the summer, or the state of the economy with travel being expensive, or for the fact that Guadalajara has been thought to be 'dangerous' lately (honestly, the region of the city where the University is located, called Zapopán, is very safe, and I never had a problem. I think anyone will be fine, so long as they are smart and don't go out to the center of the city or the poorer districts at night alone. Where the university is located is fine though). I actually didn't meet as many Americans as I would have expected to meet, and most of my classmates were of Asian nationality. The classes are taught in Spanish, and are fairly rigorous, but if you do the homework and stay on top of things every evening then you should be fine.

The home stay where I lived was also wonderful. I lived with an older woman who hosted several international students from different countries (most of them Japanese students who also were learning Spanish), which worked out really well. As the only English speaker in the house, this was really great for me, as we just spoke Spanish all the time (I think the Japanese students actually spoke fairly good English, but their Spanish was better, and we were in Mexico, so there wasn't any reason to speak anything other than Spanish). This was a lot better than some of the living arrangements of some of the other American students that I met, a lot of whom lived together and ended up speaking English to each other a lot of the time (which is a real shame I think, as we were there to improve our Spanish!). The food that my Señora fed me was pretty predictable, we ate eggs and fruit every morning, and usually sandwiches made with wonder bread (yuk!) later in the evening for dinner, and this got old pretty quickly. Only the lunches were different every day, but boy they were really very good, with lots of traditional Mexican dishes. Yum! This was only my experience though, and it depends on where you live. All of the home stays will provide you with food every day except Sunday, so we would usually go out to a restaurant or cook for ourselves once a week.

While I was there the Foreign Language Department organized several day trips to neighboring cities and a 3-day tour of Mexico City, all of which were worth going to, especially Mexico City, which costed around $250 (but that was all inclusive of hotels, travel, entrance to museums and such). The other day trips were only around $10 or so, and were way worth it for that price (if you get the chance to go to Tonolá take some spending money, because you can buy all kinds of handmade handicrafts, ceramics, and glassware, and people come from all over Mexico to get the amazing prices directly from the artisans who make the incredible pieces for a good price. Tequila was also very fun, and we got to tour the facility of one of the oldest tequila distilleries in the world). If you get the chance you can also do some traveling around Mexico to different cities. I went to a few different places using the inner-city bus system, which is amazing. I traveled about 5 hours away to spend a weekend in Guanajuato, and it only cost me around $11 with a student discount to get there (I then stayed in a youth hostel, which was a fun experience too). This is a very convenient and easy way to see some other parts of the country, so take advantage of this if there is anywhere else you'd like to go (I actually ended my trip in Mexico by spending several days on the beach in Puerto Vallarta, and then flying home from there).

My Señora at point asked me how long I was planning on spending in Mexico, and when I told her only for 2 months, she told me that this was not enough time. I told her that no, it was not enough time, but it was enough time to learn some Spanish and also have a nice little adventure in Mexico. I honestly loved my time there, and the city of Guadalajara is a beautiful place. The people were always kind and polite to me, and very helpful, and the streets are surprisingly clean. It should seem obvious with Mexico being our next-door neighbor to the south, but what really struck me after living there for a while was not how different Mexicans were from Americans, how how much the same they were. I've also traveled all around Europe and China, so have a lot of experience outside the country, and Mexico honestly felt very much like home. I enjoyed my time there very much, and tried to take advantage of every opportunity to see everything that I could see, but also did not feel the need to rush things, as I felt like if there was something that I missed I could always go back.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

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Time of my life.

At first, Guadalajara, a city of 8 million people, was very intimidating. However, I had a strong spanish background and was able to get by, When school started, my adventure started! I starting to think and dream in spanish within one month at UAG. The professors were great, and I made friends with students from all around the world. The opportunities to get involved in the community and travel were amazing and plentiful. However, you have to ask a lot of questions to be able to do what you want. DO NOT just go through the motions, go explore and live the life in Mexico! I really had the time of my life, and now I can speak and understand spanish fluently.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

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Well Supported and Limitless Experience

The program really helped my Spanish but it also really helped me grow as a person.

I learned many life skills and overcame many obstacles. I learned to survive but also how to thrive in a region that is not my original tongue.

My first family was a negative experience, however I reflect on it to learn from it.

The program itself is what you make of it, if a student wants to be active then the program allows it. On the contrary if the student is less active and simply wants to go abroad then the program can do that too. This was good because the experience that can be gained was limitless.

I encourage anyone and everyone to take this program.

Overall Rating

7/ 10

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I would recomend this program to students of interest.

I had a great experience in Mexico thanks to CCIS. I was placed with a wonderful family and had help as needed from the program provider. Also, I made some awesome memories and life-time friends.

Overall Rating

7/ 10

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Good experience, but classes could have been more challenging

Overall, I had a great experience on this program. There were plenty of opportunities to travel, including a trip to Mexico City arranged by the Student Exchange office at UAG. I lived with a host family and other international students, which gave me plenty of opportunity to learn Spanish through cultural immersion. My main complaint about the program is that the classes weren't hard enough and the university wasn't very organized in offering its exchange students opportunities to make friends with Mexican students. I certainly got a more solid foundation of Spanish grammar through the classes I took, and it was nice that I could focus all of my attention of that since I was only doing Spanish immersion, but I still wish I'd been more academically challenged while there, instead of feeling like I'd taken a semester off to travel. My Spanish mostly improved through needing to use it constantly in social situations, rather than scholastic ones. That said, most of the professors I had were extremely nice and helpful, and the experience of Mexican culture was well worth it. It was also very nice that UAG had international students from all over the world, so that instead of just interacting with other Americans every day, I met students from Korea, Japan, Taiwan, France, Austria, Denmark, and other countries in my classes.

Overall Rating

6/ 10

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Good City, Good People, Good School, Bad Family

Guadalajara is gorgeous. The food is wonderful (and cheap, relative to the US). Once you're over the first bout of stomach troubles, it becomes a spectacular place. Every night of the week, and every time of day, there is something to do. My host family was awful, but this was an anomaly, I had many friends who truly enjoyed their host family. The people there are extremely friendly; they'll bare with you as you try and communicate in Spanish, they're genuinely happy to see you trying to communicate in their language. I would go back at the drop of a hat, so long as I don't have to stay with the same host family.

Overall Rating

5/ 10

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I loved Mexico but overall I was very disappointed in the program.

As I said above, I loved Mexico. The country has such a rich culture and there were so many fun and interesting things to do and see. In addition, being there definitely improved my Spanish skills, particularly in the area of speaking. As far as the program goes, however, I was very disappointed, both academically and with the living arrangements. The department of Intercambio at UAG was not organized in a way that was truly conducive to learning. While most of the professors were great and very good at their jobs, this meant little in that I learned very little about Spanish that I didn't know before I went. We studied the subjunctive case three different times. And the conversation classes were not helpful in learning to speak. Overall, I do not feel like I learned anything while at the university. Everything that I learned, I learned outside the classroom. As far as the host family program, I was very pleased with how much my speaking abilities improved from living with a Mexican family. I did, however, really struggle with living with a host family. There were very strict rules, the worst of which being that we were not allowed to have friends over. And while I really really liked my house mom as a person, she was very difficult to live with, and I know that a lot of the other students dealt with the same problem. All in all, I would not recommend this program to another student.

Overall Rating

5/ 10

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    7

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    3

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    6

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    9

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A Month in Mexico

This was a wonderful experience for me. UAG is a great school, with great teachers. I went there to increase my Spanish proficiency. The way they taught Spanish would be difficult to duplicate back home. I would love to return for more classes. Maybe next summer.

Living Situation:
The host family was the best. However, when it came time to pay - the money conversion was shifty, so beware.

Program Administration:
The administration was very helpful and patient. I could ask them any question and they were there to help.

Overall Rating

4/ 10

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Awesome experience, poorly set-up curriculum

I had an awesome time in Mexico. The host family the school placed me with was extremely helpful with giving me advice on travel, safety, bus lines...everything. They also made me great food - vegetarian/pescatarian (my diet restrictions) to boot. They spoke with me in Spanish during all my meals and this was pretty much my only opportunity to speak conversationally with native speakers, I feel it is the biggest reason my spanish improved. Do choose to live with a host family, it's worth it.

The school tests your spanish level on your first day there. If you don't do well , as I didn't, on that test they say you can re-take it. I asked about that but instead of being able to they said "there was no room in the levels above" and I therefore couldn't move up into levels I would actually be learning. Because of this, I would say that this may be a better experience for your second or third semester of spanish, not your sixth year of it like mine was. I was very disappointed to not be taking any classes with Mexicans who 's native language is spanish. My experience was characterized by only speaking to non-native speakers like myself.

It was a very multi-cultural classroom. This brought a lot of views into discussions and allowed a space to build friendships with people from all over the world, something that is pretty cool. Some of the professors were really great, they could explain something five different ways until you got it. Others were really set in their ways and completely unhelpful. Levels 1-5 are grammar and conversation, until a little bit of literature gets thrown in level five in place of conversation. Conversation class is a joke. Grammar is alright, but the book is unhelpful and the class doesn't always go forward logically. This is when it is luck of the draw with which prof you get. The Literature class is really great. That's when I finally felt like I was out of high school again.

The campus is beautiful, has plenty of sporting areas (including an awesome pool), and some lounge areas to hang out in. You can take dance, music, or art classes for fun. It is located close to a lot of living areas, shopping areas, bus lines, and a starbucks. Guadalajara has convenient and cheap public transportation, a rich history, and a lot to do.

The schools field trips were always interesting, fun, and full of history. Go to Mexico city and go on all of the smaller trips. They are well put together and completely worthwhile.

It's easy to see the rest of Mexico during your time there. There are buses that go to destinations and available tours.

I think this study abroad was well worth it. I speak better conversational spanish thanks to my home stay. I have more confidence thanks to having lived in a foreign country speaking my second language. I am disappointed in the school and how they treated my concerns about my education down there, but I would go back again - so long as I could ABSOLUTELY ACTUALLY TAKE CLASSES OTHER THAN GRAMMER AND CONVERSATION-just so I could live in Guadalajara another semester.

---The student handbook says the dress code mandates skirts or "slacks" and disallows shorts. They actually do allows shorts, and nobody wore skirts while I was there. A lot of people wore leggings and some wore jeans.