This program was great! The other students were friendly and made it much easier to go out and do non-program activities. I had a class to myself so I got a lot of individual attention and in... Will
Submitted by Jermaine Bibb - Louisville, Kentucky JCTC | June 19, 2015
I had so much fun exploring the land of Oaxaca, Mexico. Sol did a great job of keeping us busying while at the same time allowing us to explore on our own. This has been a life changing trip for me not only because I have never been to Mexico but because what was created while I was there. The new friends that I made, the culture, etc. Based off of my trip I have decided that I will make Spanish my minor while studying at the University of Louisville & if possible I will be studying with Sol again next summer. Keep Smiling.
This Is A Beautiful Program
Submitted by Elsa Carette - New York University | August 28, 2014
This is a beautiful program, that truly allowed me to become part of another culture for 3 months in ways that I wouldn't have imagined possible. The experience was so different from a usual tourist experience, and so enriching and rewarding. I adored every moment in this town. Oaxaca is a beautiful place, with so much blue sky and enormous clouds, and with endless cultural activities, such as music or dancing in the Zocalo, art galleries and openings, free movies in many different places, gorgeous churches, delicious delicious food, and warm, welcoming people. There are so many different faces to Mexico, and many of them are within reach of Oaxaca: Mexico City, Guanajuato, the mountains, the beach, ruins, daily markets, are all a bus-ride away. My experience with my family has left me feeling like I have a family and home in Mexico. I feel like I have been let in to so many of Mexico's secrets, just through my stay here with Sol Abroad.
My Love For Oaxaca And Sol Education Abroad
Submitted by AshleyClampitt - Undisclosed | August 28, 2014
Going to Oaxaca through Sol Abroad was absolutely the best decision I could have ever made for myself. I more than adored my host family and cried my eyes out the morning I had to leave. I still keep in touch with friends I met through the program. I had studied abroad 3 times before and NEVER had the experience like I did through Sol Abroad. I could not possibly say enough to explain how much I loved my host family. They truly made me feel like I was a part of their family. I miss them so very much. The food we had was A-mazing! The teachers at the university were wonderful and the options of classes to choose from were pretty cool. The excurions we went on were the best and off the beaten path. Each week we had some type of cultural activity and it could be anything from jewelry making, cooking class, dance class, etc. I enjoyed how EVERYTHING really was included in the price. My past experiences we very different from the one through Sol. It was definitely everything they promised it would be AND MORE. I have looked over so many programs each time I have studied abroad, so I know how you feel like the reviews are not a true description. I wish words could explain how much this trip meant to me and how awesome it was. It has almost been two years since I have been home from Oaxaca and I still think about it on a daily basis. :( I desperately want to go back!!!
Submitted by Sally Wilcox - University of Kentucky | August 28, 2014
I went for four weeks, one summer session. For me this was the perfect amount of time to spend away from home and still get the credits I needed, but I could have extended it--and I really wanted to, it was so hard to leave the greatest traveling experience I have ever had. The summer sessions are packed with activities every single day, and all of them are really interesting and culturally engaging. Never, at any point, was I bored or worried that I was speaking too much English day-to-day. I was shocked that the program was able to fit so many great experiences into one short session. I would definitely go to Oaxaca again, and I would definitely recommend this program to anybody on a Spanish track who wants some language/culture exposure. Oh yeah--and the family made me feel very at home, and the food was awesome.
Submitted by Craig S. Sanders - Undisclosed | August 28, 2014
This past winter break (Jan. 2011) myself and 13 other students from Morgan State University were blessed with a wonderful opportunity to study abroad with Sol Education Abroad in Oaxaca, Mexico. The three weeks stay was an amazing experience. We learned how to adapt to a different culture and studied Spanish at Benito Juarez University. I think the entire trip helped me learned the importance of life and how to treat people. Going outside the U.S. and living in Mexico made me appreciate the little things that I have and I no longer wanted to complain about the small problems I have in U.S. Going to school in Mexico opened my eyes to a different style of teaching and school. There are so many different cultures in the world and I think it is good to experience them and learn how to adapt to diversity. Living with a Mexican family for 3 weeks taught and showed me how families from all over are somewhat the same, but the culture is different. I made very sure to be respectful of these differences while living in Mexico. I realized that I was representing the U.S. and I was happy to share my culture and teach the people I've met in Mexico things about me as well as learn from them. This experience taught me the history behind the Mexican and Spanish speaking cultures. It also changed the way I view Mexico because I once thought it was nothing but dry/dessert land with very few things to look at. I discovered it was completely the opposite. Mexico is beautiful with a rich history. It has some of the oldest churches built handmade. This experience can impact my future, career wise and going to graduate school. The trip can open doors for more studying abroad trips and or employment. I now want to travel or work overseas more. I would recommend studying abroad to anyone because it is something that everyone should experience. It is a great way to expand your horizon outside of the U.S. because there is much in the world to learn! Traveling and studying abroad made me appreciate life so much more. I want to thank Sol Education as well as my school (MSU) for this great opportunity! Sol Education really did a good job at handling the preparing the trip for us. I recommend Sol Education for anyone who is thinking about studying abroad!
Submitted by Margaret Schriefer - Undisclosed | August 28, 2014
My daughter studied abroad the summer of 2010 through 'Sol Education'.
We were impressed by Sol Education's concern for the education, welfare and security of the students.
The Program Director sent us e-mail updates concerning safety issues, and my daughter and I both felt secure in the knowledge that SOL was vigilant and truly looking out for the students' safety.
My daughter thoroughly enjoyed her classes at the University of Oaxaca. In addition to the academics she was immersed in Mexican culture and the spanish language. (Her host family was great)
During free time from classes, Sol had excursions for the students to learn more about the country.
Truly a well rounded learning experience.
Submitted by Jackson Fish - Undisclosed | August 28, 2014
I studied abroad through the SOL Education program in Oaxaca, Mexico last summer (2010) for 8 weeks, and it was an amazing experience! The directors at SOL were very easy to work with, and they went above and beyond to work directly with the International Studies Office at my university to ensure that every thing met the university's requirements. The directors were also to clearly answer any questions I had and made every accommodation that I needed without any problems. They provided all the information I needed to be fully prepared, and they kept my family updated regularly regarding my well-being.
The host family was absolutely wonderful. The family had years of experience with study abroad students. They made me feel as if I was part of the family, and I had never been better fed and taken care of. The family made sure I was always in good hands and was persistent with keeping me safe.
As far as the education in Spanish, it was perfect! The professors were extremely knowledgeable and effective. It was the best education in Spanish I could have ever asked for. I looked forward to going to class everyday and my knowledge of, and ability to speak, the Spanish language more than doubled in a super short amount of time!
The weekly activities were super fun and are just what every student needs to fully experience Mexican culture. Everyone was super friendly and they made everything a very meaningful experience. The food was clean and I never once got sick.
Also, the area in Mexico where I studied was very safe. We were over a thousand miles away from the border where most of the problems occur, which give Mexico the bad reputation for being dangerous. Oaxaca was not dangerous at all. The people in Oaxaca are kind and friendly, the city and countryside are beautiful, and there are so many things to see that you will never forget.
The SOL experience was worth every penny, if I could do it again I would choose SOL!
Best Program Possible!
Submitted by Juan Lopez - New York University | August 28, 2014
Sol Education Abroad went above and beyond my expectations!
Everything was included in the program (tuition, housing, exursions, community service, cell phones, insurance) and it was HALF THE PRICE as my school's program!
Plus, I now have a family in Mexico with my host family.
Thank you SOL!
Exactly What A Study Abroad Experience Is All About!
Submitted by Julia Z. - Wagner College | August 22, 2014
The Sol Education Oaxaca program has so much to offer its students. The city and the surrounding historical sights are beautiful. The people here are more than willing to help anyone that is interested in learning Spanish and the food is to die for! What else could you ask for in a study abroad trip? Oh yeah, and its half the price of any other study abroad program you'll find. The schedule is malleable, meaning that if you have an interest in a particular activity, you can be sure that it will happen for you. Not to mention that there are constantly new workshops and excursions in and around the city. The host families are all great and respectful! Could not have asked for a better experience. After this trip, I believe I will be coming back to visit.
Brujula has good coffee. Lobo Azul has good everything! La Pasion has good cake.
An Experience I Will Never Forget.
Submitted by Jake_The_A - Cardinal Stritch College | August 22, 2014
Oaxaca is a great and safe place. The food is authentic and real mexican food. There are many supermarkets that have authentic Mexican clothes and many different objects that were handmade. I learned a lot about Oaxaca and I hope to return someday.
Immersion At Its Finest
Submitted by Cara Chancellor - Oklahoma State University | August 22, 2014
My experience while traveling with Sol study abroad was one that I will never regret or forget. Everything from the host family, to the education and cultural adventures was perfect. To say that I was impressed would not do it justice. I recommend them with flying colors, and I wouldn't study abroad with anyone else.
Mi Aventura Mexicana!!!
Submitted by Dkern11 - Community College of Rhode Island | August 22, 2014
Sol Education Abroad made my experience in Mexico one that I could never forget. As an aspiring Spanish professor it had been my dream for as long as I could remember to go to Mexico and truly test my abilities to speak Spanish and surround myself in the culture. This program did exactly that. Hearing the generalizations about Mexico gave me a lot to think about as i'm sure many students abroad can relate, but there was never a moment that I felt unsafe. My director made it clear to us how to get to and from places. For those who weren't fluent in Spanish, there was always a peer or teacher willing to keep them in the loop and their host families were very accommodating. On the cultural excursions I was able to see things like the Zapotec ruins which I had hoped to see my whole life. This trip was everything I had hoped for and more, its changed my perspective on everyday life. I highly recommend Sol Education Abroad, as they made this trip possible, kept me safe, and left me with a memory of a lifetime. Mi corazon es en Mexico.
I felt very out of the loop for weeks before departing. Many of my questions went unanswered until about a week before departure which made for a nerve wracking experience in planning the trip. All questions eventually were answered in detail, but I felt like it was very last minute.
My living situation was great. My host family was as welcoming as I could have hope and not to mention supplied me with delicious meals. In my particular home (bedroom) there was no dresser or bureau so I had to live out of my bags for the time I was there which was the only minor downside. Overall, an ideal living situation.
All of my teachers were wonderful, completely qualified and professional. My rating would be an A+ if the general school situation had been a bit more organized; they seemed to be always unprepared as to where students should be placed and in which classes for how long.
A great restaurant popular among the natives was La Biznaga, great food.. Also La Candela, a high class salsa club made for a nice outing. Those who knew how to dance could show off their skills, and those who didn't enjoyed watching others on the dance floor.
As far as my safety, I felt safe 100% of the time while still using caution, although during my stay there were a few muggings from students close-by from other study abroad programs.
Amazing Experience In Mexico
Submitted by bobshamnov - Grand Valley State University | August 20, 2014
My experience through Sol Abroad was excellent. The program was extremely affordable (almost half the price of others I was looking at), my home stay was better than i could have dreamed of, my professors were great, and i met so many amazing people. We traveled to many awesome locations (ancient pyramids, a 3 day beach trip, cultural activities etc...) and they were all included in the program price. I was a little worried that i had never heard of Sol Abroad before i signed up, but I could not have chosen a better program. As long as you're self motivated to study, you will learn a lot of Spanish in Oaxaca.
I chose it based on the affordability, the location, and the amount of cultural activities.
My home stay was incredible- beautiful gated courtyard, my own private living room, my host mom Ruth was an amazing cook (i already miss the food) and she spent time with me at all 3 meals speaking with me to improve my Spanish.
Go to Mexico. Get a Soul.
Submitted by Pat McAuliffe - College Station, Tx. Texas A&M University | August 11, 2014
During my time in Oaxaca, Mexico, I made some great friends from across the United States and Mexico. Friends I recollect fondly, and friends I intend on keeping for a very long time--We have already made plans to meet in New York in the near future). However, making friends is simple in situations like this--you're forced together in a place you hardly understand. The beautiful thing about Oaxaca that sets it apart from anywhere else I've been in the world lies in the genuine friendliness and curiosity of Oaxaquens. What Mexico lacks in plumbing, it makes up for in smiles and conversation. You will be afforded ample opportunity to kick back and relax with a cold beer, and act your hardest to seem un-touristy in a bar with a bartender who is fascinated with the opportunity to speak with a foreigner. Or even better, are the random conversations on the street: one of the greatest talks I ever had in Mexico was walking home from class one day, going over material I had learned, when an elderly man, Fabio--I still remember his name, I'm not sure how, I'm terrible with that kind of thing--asked me where I was from. From there, we had a pleasant, albeit random, conversation--in my terribly broken Spanish (I joked that I must have sounded like a child, he smiled and nodded and said simply, "poco a poco"). It was the first time I had a real conversation in Spanish. I had been studying a month in Oaxaca, and I knew no Spanish when I arrived. I smiled like a fool all the way home, and excitedly told my host mother about the miracle that just took place in the street--in Spanish!
The excursions were extremely fun and culturally interesting. I learned a vast amount of information on Mexico that I could never have gotten alone. Intercambio Mexican (friendly locals) students constantly talked about how we--SOL's students--had seen more of Oaxaca, and more of Mexico than they had. In fact, the excursions were hands down the most culturally enriching and fulfilling things I've ever done. I'm very proud to say I was apart of something special in Mexico. It was an experience that changed my life in a profound way. One of my teacher's said something very beautiful concerning her students who came to Mexico and learned Spanish. I'll translate from Spanish, and to be honest, I don't remember verbatim anyways, but it went something like this: "I see students come here knowing no Spanish, they are good people, but they are incapable of seeing Mexico as it really is. They see it as a strange and foreign place; but then they learn, and when they learn, they change, they begin seeing Mexicans as individuals, and Mexican culture as beautiful and profound. When I witness my students learn, I watch my students grow souls." So, take it as you like, but I believe her words hold true. When you sit down with a person and can understand them, and realize that they think the same thoughts as you, simply in another language, it's a pretty powerful emotional experience. It is what I imagine being blind and being given sight is like. It is beautiful. An entire world of thoughts and emotions, not to mention; art, literature, and music that had never occurred to you before becomes very real in front of you. And don't worry about being afraid, the people at SOL will shove you in the deep end. You'll be fine, they are there for you, but you will swim. I've heard that's the best way to learn, and after getting some water in my nose, I can personally vouch for the message. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment and every experience I was given by SOL's program. You can reinvent yourself entirely, or you can find yourself completely, after arriving in Mexico, the decision is entirely up to you. Just remember, when you get to the airport, don't freak out. You may feel homesick or scared or worried, but after 3 or 4 weeks their, no matter how hard you try, you'll start falling in love with Oaxaca, she's a beautiful city with a rich soul, and her people are willing and happy to share it with you.
Where I Want To Be
Submitted by Elena - Oaxaca UABJO | August 07, 2014
I don't believe I could have dreamed big enough to encompass all that has happened here. Through Sol my life has changed in just a few weeks learning the language, enjoying a different way of life and soaking in every new experience. My time here escapes me as I reach out to grasp for more. My best advice is to take advantage of everything there is to offer--the people, the language, the food & culture--do everything and leave regretting nothing!
The Real Deal
Submitted by Altita - | August 07, 2014
Great experience. The program coordinators are truly dedicated to meeting the needs of their students. The teachers are excellent. The host families are warm and welcoming. If you are willing to do the work and step outside of yourself, the people and culture of this place will change you for the better.
Absolutely Excellent Program
Submitted by Arielle Turner - University of California - Berkeley | August 28, 2014
I don't really know what else to say about Sol except that it's awesome! Everything about my experience was great. They are very supportive throughout the entire process, from application until you get on your plane back home. Oaxaca is a great location to study abroad and the program heads and local directors really know how to make the most of the city. Every week we had cultural activities like museum visits, cooking classes, or dance lessons and we took trips to all the local sites, such as Monte Alban, the Tule tree, and the beaches of Huatulco. They also allow a great degree of flexibility with the program; they let us take our own weekend trips to Puerto Escondido and Chiapas and they have the option to build your own program week by week. They gave me all the materials I needed to transfer the academic credits to my university, and there is a great selection of classes with great professors. I also loved the homestay, because it gave us a chance to make friends with Mexicans our own age and see the city in a way you wouldn't in student accommodations. A top notch program, and I can't recommend it enough!
The directors are always available and can help you with any problems you have. But more importantly, they are friendly and really open themselves to you like a friend rather than just an imposing authority figure. One of the directors, Justine, has cooking and jewelry making lessons in her apartment and even took me to the doctor when I got sick.
My host family was great! They were so nice and very accommodating and my house mom was an excellent cook. When I came back to Oaxaca to visit, they were happy to see me and invited me to have lunch with them.
For such a small city, there's always something to do in Oaxaca.
The classes were all in Spanish, but they were very small (one or two people) which helped improve my Spanish while allowing for the professors to explain anything I didn't understand.
Submitted by Mae - University of California - Berkeley | August 22, 2014
I attended this program with my high school son. We were both students and stayed with the same family. We picked this Mexico location due to it being cheaper and much easier to get to. We were a little worried about safety before we went but checked out those issues with friends who know the area and other national websites which reassured us this is far south of any of the troubles other parts of Mexico is having. Once we lived there we couldn't agree more! We felt safe walking around at almost all times. We had a 20 min. walk to school each day and the people we passed on the streets were among the most friendly we've ever met. It is a peaceful, quaint town that we loved to walk through.
The university was much bigger than I thought. I think there are about 12 classrooms on two floors around a central courtyard. There other other departments that are located throughout this old city so no one site is overly large. The language institute is all in one location and there is a rotating set of students -- US abroad students from 9am - 1pm then Mexican students learning English before and after the abroad students. It makes for a very multi-cultural feel. Every one of the 10 students from the US was paired with one of the Mexican students to practice with a native speaker 2-3 times a week after school hours. It was an adventure for us all to get to know the locals and a great addition to the program that was offered.
Since my son and I were both basically just finished with the equivalent of 2 years of high school Spanish we were placed in the same class after taking our placement test. We only had 2 other students in our class so we got A LOT of attention and NO English was spoken at all. Due to our level of Spanish we had 2 hours of grammer followed by a break then 2 hours of conversation. Our teachers were wonderful, local instructors. Although our conversation class was a bit slow we were able to work with the administration onsite for them to quicken the pace which helped a lot. They were very open to suggestions.
The other 8 students in our program were all at more advanced levels so they had different classes and teachers.
Home Stay - we LOVED the family that we stayed with. Our meals were terrific and varied. The mama of the family felt it her duty to introduce us to as many different foods as possible. She was always in tune with our changing activity schedule so that food was ready when we needed it. We each had our own room. We didn't have easy access to a TV but we did have internet. The other students mostly had internet and TV access. The rooms were clean, neat but very basic. The family had a larger home with their 4 grown children still living there so we got to interact with many different people... always in Spanish which was awesome!
Cultural Programs - the in-country coordinator, Layla, did a terrific job coordinating all our different activities which were varied and frequent. We had dancing and cooking lessons in addition to walking tours and a weekend in the Sierra Norte mountains staying in an EcoTourismo. We loved the Sierra Norte trip! It was beautiful, interesting and an adventure especially since it was raining 1/2 the time. Everyone in the group was great about it all. The activities after class happened about 2-3 times per week, none were required but they were always fun and interesting so we went to all of them that we could.
One last thing is about how flexible the language school was. My son and I only had 3 weeks to spend and they allowed us to attend the program anyway. They made special accommodations for us including having to write an extra final exam (yes! there are exams!). We didn't get as much college credit as the other students but we are so glad we were able to do all of this. Our Spanish improved 100%!
Amazing Learning Experience
Submitted by Elias - Western Kentucky University | August 22, 2014
I had a really great time during my semester in Oaxaca with Sol Education. The classes were very relaxed, but interesting. My teachers became my friends and I was able to sort of mold what I wanted to learn because of the small class sizes. There were occasional activities, which were pretty flexible. This allowed me to do a lot of other stuff on my own. I took a photography class, went to see a lot of movies, live music, that sort of thing. There is always something going on in Oaxaca and I had a lot of opportunities to go to cultural events. I really enjoyed the amount of freedom the program gave me. But at the same time, if I had any questions, I was able to get help when I needed it. I hardly spoke any english at all at my home stay which was great. I made friends with spanish speakers, and didn't spend the whole time with other americans. It was pretty much exactly what I was looking for in a study abroad program.
I really enjoyed a bar called Nueva Babel. Lots of live music and a great atmosphere. Cheap drinks. Open mic night. Also go to the Llano market on fridays and eat tacos. Because they are delicious.
Submitted by Chica de la finca - Oklahoma State University | August 21, 2014
Wow! Everyone must study abroad and Sol is the program to use! I went to Oaxaca Mexico and had an amazing experience because I was provided with a day by day adventure within the city and its culture. Be prepared to be active and engaged because this program is non-stop action and fun! The education was wonderful and I advanced so much in just one month!
I LOVE MEXICO!
Submitted by M. J. - Morgan State University | August 20, 2014
I absolutely enjoyed my study abroad trip to Oaxaca, Mexico. My host family was very accommodating and Mexican people are so friendly. I met great people in my program and locals. The food was great. The cultural activities were fun and the excursions were beautiful and exciting. Also, this is the best priced program you will find. I would definitely recommend Sol to any student interested in studying abroad.
Worth Every Penny
Submitted by Rebecca - University of Michigan - Ann Arbor | August 20, 2014
Sol was the most cost-efficient program my university had to offer, but no amount of quality was sacrificed. The academics were excellently challenging and engaging and the university administration was very attentive. Outside the classroom, I really enjoyed the cultural activities Sol arranged for us. These included dance classes, a beach trip, museum tours, and craft workshops. This was a great was to experience Mexican culture and bond with the other students in your group. At my host family home, I felt completely integrated. After a long day of classes or group activities I liked coming home to speak Spanish with my host mom over meals in a way that felt natural and non-threatening. On weeknights or weekends I would go out with Oaxacan friends I'd made at school. My study abroad experience felt well-rounded and balanced nicely between academic and social components.
I loved going out dancing on the weekends with my Oaxacan friends. We went to the fullest discotecas where we'd inevitably meet up with other friends, or I'd make new acquaintances through old friends. Dancing with locals was a great way to practice what I'd learned at dance classes but more importantly, I picked up skills learning how the locals danced themselves. Salsa, bachata, merengue, and cumbia are an expressive and creative part of Mexican culture you don't necessarily learn from textbook Spanish lessons. I loved blowing off steam every weekend dancing with my friends and it was a good excuse to practice speaking Spanish in a social setting
I chose Sol Abroad in Oaxaca, Mexico, because I had already had a pleasant experience with them studying abroad in Costa Rica. I was originally going to sign up for another semester there, but the group was full. Lucky for me that it was! My experience in Mexico was even richer and it was worth every cent I paid.
I lived in a house with my host mother, a divorced woman of two children. These children are grown and study in different states of Mexico, however, so there was plenty of space to accommodate students. In fact, my host family was more progressive than most in the sense that there was an additional second floor converted into an apartment solely for international students. This included multiple bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, a rooftop with patio furniture, and a comfortable common area. This provided a unique sense of privacy and responsibility other homes don't offer. Hired help came every week to clean the whole house. All my meals were prepared every day, unless I advised my host mom I wouldn't come home for a meal so I could eat out or with friends. The house was beautiful and well-kept and we shared a gorgeous patio with a fountain and tropical plants with my host-uncle and -aunt who lived next door. For a few months I was the only student in my host home, but at the busiest point of the year I lived with seven other girls.
Before my program even starter, the Sol director called me to talk about my decision to go to Oaxaca. He knew I had already studied with Sol in Costa Rica and was interested that I already "wanted more." It struck me impressive that this busy guy had taken time to be acquainted with my particular Sol experience. Apparently, you aren't just another kid on the list who passes in and out of the program. He even gave me tips about buying my flight to Mexico, since he said the price would only go up. In Oaxaca, my site director always responded promptly to my questions and concerns. She lives in Oaxaca and is available by phone, email, or can meet with you in person. When I came to her about certain academic problems, she accompanied me for professional and emotional support when I met with the teacher. My director helped explain the situation and propose solutions. Together, the three of us resolved the matter quickly and effectively. My director is bilingual in Spanish and English but when dealing with my university, she often gave me the option to resolve my own problems because she knew I spoke Spanish and that I had come to practice it. I really appreciated that. If I was ever uncomfortable, though, she was more than happy to step in. My director organized many fun group activities but wasn't overbearing. She gave us lots of opportunity to explore independently and I enjoyed that.
My homestay in Oaxaca was unlike any I have ever had. My host mom was retired and thus dedicated herself completely to the care of her students and her home. At one point we had as many as seven other girls living in the home but I never felt neglected. My host mom prepared three meals for us every day, took us out to restaurants, walked us to school our first day, and gave us maps to get familiar with the city. The most important and memorable part of my living situation, however, were the conversations at mealtimes. My host mom made it a game that if we spoke anything but Spanish at the table, we received "punishments." These were always fun, though, and might require that we tell a joke or story in Spanish, do a dance, or play charades. I was even invited to family events like birthday parties that made me feel included in a genuine, completely comfortable manner. Out of all the students I grew particularly close to my host mom because she came to me when she couldn't download pictures to her computer, when she didn't have her glasses to read small print, or she needed an interpreter to understand a student who didn't know much Spanish. Sol intuitively placed me with the perfect host family.
I studied at two universities; at one location I studied alongside other American students, and at the other I was the only American in an otherwise-Mexican classroom. My classes with locals were the most challenging because the teachers kept the class moving at a pace appropriate for the whole class, whether I understood all the information or not. This university did not have much experience with international students. So, my Spanish was good going in but came out even better because I was forced to communicate with university classmates and administration who knew little to no English. The challenges I encountered inspired and strengthened me and I thoroughly enjoyed the academics of this experience.
I am not fond of Mexican food but that doesn't mean it wasn't cooked well! It's simply a matter of preference. There's so much variety to Mexican cuisine, it's worth trying different things before you pass judgement.
You will always hear about hold-ups and violent incidents in foreign countries, but the same common sense you'd use in an American city applies to Oaxaca. In other words, if you stay alert, walk in groups, keep your bag zipped, keep your earbud cord hidden, and stay in lit areas you are safer than people who don't. Don't leave the house with more than necessary.
A great summer
Submitted by Britanny - Elizabethtown College | August 20, 2014
First, the main factor in a language-immersion program that determines if I, personally, will have a great experience is the family. And Sol Education Abroad did an amazing job matching people. My host family was warm and loving and I got a lot of Spanish practice in the house.
Secondly, I have yet to find a summer program as affordable as Sol that has so many activities included! We had (optional) things to do several times a week that included making traditional art or visiting museums. Plus the longer trips were to great spots you never wanted to leave (here's to Puerto Escondido!!).
I had an amazing time with Sol and they were incredibly accommodating in every aspect from the original application to my departure from Oaxaca.
My host family was amazing! My host mom (a chef to give the greats a run for their money) was always trying her best to make sure me and my housemate had the best experience possible. And my host dad was always so warm and welcoming whenever we all sat down together.
Sol offers a great deal of classes and the majority of the professors were amazing. I feel the curriculum was a little optimistic for a four-week time period and we rushed through a lot but in the end what really mattered was that I learned a lot and my Spanish definitely improved.
Exciting Cultural Immersion
Submitted by B. Isensee - Texas A&M University | August 20, 2014
There were no major issues from this program and I highly recommend SOL. You get a great value in Oaxaca and it is a great opportunity to immerse yourself with Spanish, make great friends, and get a wonderful cultural experience.
Summer in Oaxaca
Submitted by Davis "El Diablo Davis" (my given nickname by the locals) - Oaxaca The College of New Jersey | August 14, 2014
I spent the past 10 weeks studying abroad in Oaxaca, Mexico and had an incredible experience. I can break my experience down into 3 blocks. The first 4 weeks were filled with cultural events and I traveled all over Oaxaca, the next 4 weeks I spent exploring Oaxaca on my own, and the final 2 weeks I was living like a normal Oaxacan! The school is solid and if you are interested in learning Spanish I would highly recommend it. The host families you stay with are top notch.. I know the part I will miss most about my experience is my host family, they are amazing. The food here is great and the people are nice. It is a little dangerous at times and you need to be careful at night. Finally the program directors are totally awesome. They are really down to earth and on top of their game. They are always thinking one step ahead, take great care of you, and really try to help you have the best experience possible.