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Social Change in Central America
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Social Change in Central America

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Community

    8

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Academics

    8

Education and safety

My study abroad experience overpassed the expectations I had when I signed up. Until further reflection I realized I learned a great amount of material in each country with the short amount of time to complete a semester's worth of work. With the immersion within the communities and the presentations by the speakers, I have a good understanding on how the Central American society functions, its beauty, and its needs.
I believe that my education and safety was the main priority of out administration. I believe the Nicaraguan CGEE staff handled well our safety while the uprising occurred. With the limited amount of time they were able to evacuate us and successfully help us arrive to our homes. Through the journey, they helped us understand the precautions we should take as we explore our new environments and how to adequately perform in the spaces we where present at.
Participating in this study abroad program has been one of the best decision I have taken during my undergraduate career and has given me the chance to understand different perspectives and lifestyles.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    8

CGEE

This is an experience that I will never regret. One of the best decisions of my life. I learned so much and met amazing people that I will never forget. I heard so many people say that studying abroad is something a person will never regret and I am glad that got the opportunity to do just that.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community

    6

CGEE in Central America review

Overall, I really enjoyed my semester. I loved Xela as a place, and I hope to spend more time there. I appreciated my one-on-one Spanish classes because that is a unique, privileged experience many people won't have, even when they're studying abroad. I loved learning about the politics of Nicaragua, which is something I have not learned about in my classes. This program is also unique because we go to three countries: Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. We get to see many different places in those three countries, from small rural towns to large urban cities. The program allows us to confront and challenge our own preconceived notions of what Central America looks like. I do wish we had more activities in Spanish because I felt like I lost some of my Spanish as the semester progressed. It is definitely possible to maintain your Spanish, and I did to a certain extent, you just have to be more proactive about it and go out of your way to chat with your host family, speak to peers in Spanish, etc.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    6

An experience of a lifetime

This program forces you to be better, to think outside of the normal structural standards that you normally would. After coming back, I felt that I had grown a considerable amount in knowledge and personality. A wise woman once told me "sometimes it's good to just feel and experience and live your life without thinking so much about the impact but rather the moment and how certain people and experiences make you feel".

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    8

CGE Central America

It is obvious that the administrators of this program really care about their students, academically and personally. This is an immersive experience, focusing on learning from and with communities and I certainly have done that and I am better for it. At many times this program was difficult, but I had the support I needed to be successful. I am going back to my home university with new knowledge and a new perspective on what learning can be.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    7

Central American experience

Traveling to another country is stressful. The logistics, the language, the living situation. Not only did I travel to one country, but I lived in three countries. The program does an incredible job at organizing all of the stressful aspects of traveling. While there is still a lot of planning you have to do, CGEE helps your transition from country to country and your day to day life within the countries run smoothly and efficiently. In addition to this, the teachers in each country were all incredible and well qualified to educate students on each culture. The classes addressed a wide breadth of important of information on different subject areas of each country. As a result, we had a comprehensive study of the Central American region, and were able to truly learn about the culture, the people, international relations, current situation and problems, etc. I always felt safe, and like I had resources available to me when I needed anything. It was an amazing experience.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Program eval

Overall highly positive experience. I never felt alone or afraid. I was supported the whole way through. During challenging times and fun times I was always accounted for and able to express concerns in a positive way.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Central America spring 2017

CGEE is a wonderful program if you are looking for an intimate and immersive experience. The program is rigorous, but it is planned so that you gain a lot of knowledge inside and outside the classroom.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    9

Augsburg CGE Central America spring semester 2017

This program has changed my life. I have conceptualized a lot of what I'd been learning in my classes, but bridging the gap between theory and practice with experiential learning and hearing from so many different voices. My worldview has grown and been altered. I have grown and learned so much from my classes, my homestays, speakers, and from working within this type of group setting and learning pedagogy.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Review of CGEE

This was an incredible abroad experience. From the program directors to the professors to all the incredible speakers to all of the host families we had the opportunity to meet, every facet of this abroad experience could not have been better.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

My experience abroad in Central America

This study abroad experience has been absolutely incredible. Going above and beyond my expectations, this program has challenged my worldview and helped me re-evaluate my place within our globalized context. This was the only abroad program I applied for because I knew it was the right fit for the cultural, academic, and experiential program I was looking for. I have and will continue to recommend this program to any student actively seeking out the aforementioned characteristics in an abroad experience.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

CGEE Central America

The experience overall was incredible, being able to study in three different countries and immerse myself in the different cultures really added to my learning and helped my Spanish a lot. With this unique layout one spends a lot of time with the same people (traveling, classes, etc) which in the long run was valuable, and you get very close with them, however at times it can be a little overwhelming. This is just something to keep in mind, but as a whole the good definitely outweighs any bad.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    9

A broad abroad

Going abroad to Central America (Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua) was incredible and such an important experience that I hope many more students from the United States and Europe get to experience. This program did a great job of educating about the damaging effects of capitalism through helping students to create meaningful relationships with citizens in all three countries. Through homestay visits, experiential learning, and immersive language education all students on this program are leaving with an awareness of their consumption habits and privilege in a productive and powerful way.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Living, learning and creating relationships

Host families were a highlight of my experience. In each country I had such a different host-family experiences allowing me to meet and build relationships with many people. Regarding academics, I'd say this program is focused on the academics through both experiential learning and through the traditional class-room experience as well. In Guatemala, we each had one teacher for one-on-one Spanish instruction, which was extremely valuable. However, I do wish that this program gave an opportunity to continue studying Spanish post-Guatemala on the side of our other main courses in Nicaragua and Costa Rica, especially because our courses in Nicaragua and Costa Rica were in English. I learned a great deal in every class and I loved how each class was different, but also related the content of the other classes. For me, learning about U.S. foreign policy in Central America was eye-opening and our classes in Nicaragua went in-depth about the historical, political, social and economic context of Nicaragua and U.S. relations with different Central America countries. Furthermore, we were able to hear from so many different perspectives as many days we met with speakers who spoke about particular themes we were studying in class in each country, which contributed to cultural immersion. However, in some ways cultural immersion was great and in other ways it was lacking; I do think more opportunities regarding getting involved with the community and community events could have been presented or pre-planned, such as meeting or having a meal with more groups of young people at the university or apart of certain Nicaraguan/ Costa Rican/ Guatemalan groups. Furthermore the homestays counted as very culturally immersive experiences, but also as personal experiences as well-–as everyone in our group had very different host family experiences from one another. Our group of 13 spent a large portion of the semester together which was great in a way that we built a close community, but also difficult at times as well such as traveling as a group or being in public spaces as a group of students from the U.S.––which can carry a lot of obvious privilege. Overall, I would highly recommend this program to someone looking to experience living with host families in three different countries in both the rural and urban context, be pushed out of their comfort zones analyze their privileges and learn about a vast range of topics from Liberation Theology to the Political climate of Nicaragua.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    9

CGE Central America

I really loved this program and thought it was very thorough in its consideration of cultural context, support of students, and academics. It allotted a great deal of space to reflecting, critical thinking, and important conversations to have during the time of the experience, and encouraged action afterward. All of the faculty and staff are very supportive and knowledgeable, and at least in my experience, the students the program attracts are very willing to engage and learn on many levels with one another.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Review of spring 2017 "Exploring Peace, Justice and Community Engagement in Central America"

Overall, this trip has provided me with many meaningful experiences and memories. We have learned about the history and current political state of Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. I have seen first hand how Central America can certainly NOT be looked at as one united region, as each place, town, neighborhood, family, and person experiences a completely different reality. I have been challenged in many ways physically, emotionally, and culturally. I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone and everyone. For me, I wish the program held us more accountable to learning, living and speaking in Spanish, but I understand that the goal of this trip was multifaceted and the main goal was not fluency. Having the program available to many levels of Spanish made the program more accessible to more people, but for me, committing to speaking in Spanish would have been really beneficial. I chose this program because of the critical lens the center projected, and this was reinforced throughout. We heard from many perspectives, many of whom I did not agree with, but which helped me practice understanding context and respecting multiple realities and understandings.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

The adventures of bri guy

This program has provided me with cultural, linguistic, and societal experiences that go beyond the classroom. The experiential learning, reflection, and knowledge sharing challenged and affirmed my perspective on transnational politics, community engagement and mobilization, and the historical framework of religion. 10/10 would recommend!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

CGE Central America review

This program delves into many issues that are not discussed in the US. Everything from US intervention to machismo and everything in between. This program allows for not only an cultural immersion but also an academic immersion. I have learned more than I ever imagined by participating in this program and I'm excited and determined to take back what I've learned.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    6

Three chances to fall in love, to challenge yourself, to explore

There is no doubt that this is a truly unique program, exploring the heart of Central America and its most recent issues by traveling to Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. It is rare enough that it is a program that travels to Nicaragua. But by traveling through three of these countries you are able to see how unique the area of Central America really is and understand the global implications caused by considering it a consolidated region when in reality every country within its area is completely different from one another. Each of these countries had its own people with different lifestyles and personalities, different geography, different structures. For being so close to one another, you would never believe how incredibly far apart they were in style and culture. Thus, there is something for everyone. While you are understanding the histories of each country, and taking courses in Spanish, theology, political science, you are learning so much more from the environment around you and the home stays you partake in. The program itself is great through providing insights into the various lifestyles and struggles that are depicted within each country.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    2

More spaces

For me, I had a lot of problems adjusting to the group. Going to a counselor really helped me. I wish there was more spaces to interact with other young people. I also wish there were more spaces outside of class to engage with the material.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    8

A beautiful experience

This semester was absolutely beautiful. Surely it came along with its challenges, but this program really opens up space for personal growth in meaningful ways. Staying with families throughout the trip is an important means of immersing into the cultures and lived experiences of the countries you visit and people you meet. Ruth Garrido, Fidel Xinico Tum, and Cesar Acevedo (coordinators of this trip) are wonderful and an important part of making the program all that it is.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    7

Central America, 2016 Fall

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Central America during the Fall. The weather is just right, and was not too cold in Xela and not to unbearable hot in Managua either. I was so nervous for first host stay in Guatemala but stayed with such a lovely family that it made my transition to Central America so easy.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    8

Lol what a time!!!!!

WOW WOW WOW. What a semester. 4 countries in 4 months. This semester challenged me in ways I could have never predicted but were so necessary for my self development. I was able to travel dozens of times to some of the most beautiful sites of this world. I am so grateful for the opportunity doing this particular program has afforded me. The various homestays were one of the best aspects of the program. I felt so welcomed and loved by each of my families and have made some of my favourite memories with those families. Huge shoutout to Ruth, our coordinator, who kept everyone alive and SANE. In a group of 6 it was hard to function at times, but Ruth kept us all going. Much love to you, Ruth. Be sure to bring her some dark chocolate if you come on this program :)

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    9

CGEE Central America

I have participated in two overseas trips: one in London with no homestays but rather apartments with fellow programmers, and the second, a CGEE program in Central America (Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua) with multiple homestays. I consider Central America the best abroad experience I have had thus far.

My fellow Central America participants and I were able to visit three beautiful countries that were all very different from one another, offering a broader and more complex view of Central America, its history and the struggle and success of its peoples. I personally liked that we moved from country to country, but of course every goodbye was not easy. You’re in each country for a little longer than a month. But this gives you enough time to enjoy what each has to offer and to soak up as much knowledge as you can.

I frequently went travelling on the weekends, which the program allows you to do. It is very easy to find friends to travel with among fellow participants, and the program staff is always more than willing to help you with transportation and give you suggestions.

As a beginning Spanish learner with only one semester of Spanish completed prior to the trip, I found the intensive Spanish class in Guatemala very helpful; I loved my teacher and my host mom in Xela, and still talk to both of them today! All of the classes were manageable and we took many field trips which felt different from your average college class on campus, allowing us to see different part of the places we were in. I would say my Spanish improved one whole level at the end of the program; even though our classes were taught in English, living with host families that only spoke Spanish allowed you to practice your Spanish frequently.

One aspect of CGEE that I loved was our homestays in rural communities. The rural homestays provide an intimacy that you don’t get in the more urban settings. In the end, I stayed with seven families total! Something that many other programs do not provide.

If you are looking for a program that will immerse your whole life into multiple cultures through homestays, field trips, and conversations with locals and then transform your way of life back home with valuable life lessons and newly sparked passions, CGEE Central America is going to do a great job at that!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

I <3 Central America

Could not have imagined a more amazing study abroad experience. I so very much admire the values of the program: from cultural immersion, to learning from real people, to traveling constantly. Incredible classes and material, I have learned an unbelievable amount, especially in Nicaragua. Plus, the material transitioned really well between countries. The home stays may very well be one of my favorite things about the experience. Through the good and bad, it was a really amazing experience to get a glimpse into the lives of families residing in the places we visited. I also really appreciate that we visited campos in each country, plus La Carpio, for experience in alternative ways of life.