CLA - Culture & Language Abroad Participant Reviews
CLA rocks!!! Love this program!
Submitted by Lydia - Goshen College | February 26, 2018
I am absolutely loving my experience with CLA. I am a junior at Goshen College, and would definitely recommend this program to college students. While Mexico is close to the United States, it is a completely different world and culture. This program is so special because the director, Fabiola, was actually born and raised in Guanajuato, GTO (the city you will be living in), and she graduated from the University of Guanajuato (the university you will be attending). So you are learning from a local citizen and a native Spanish speaker. I'm the kind of person that likes to go all in and get a really authentic cultural experience -- to me, it doesn't get any more authentic than this.
As far as academics go, I really love my professors and the classes I am taking. The different faculties are located all over the city, so it is important to choose classes with the schedules and traveling distances in mind. I recommend the "Spanish for foreign students" classes in the "languages" faculty. Although there are no obviously no Mexican students in these classes, the hours are AMAZING, and you get to meet people from all over the world. I have classes with students from China, Japan, Korea, and Sweden. Also, although you are in "Spanish for foreign students" classes, you are in the "languages" faculty, so there is still plenty of opportunity to meet Mexican students.
Fabi is an amazing director. She is very supportive and always available if and when you need her. She was the first person I told when I found out my grandfather died, and also whenever I felt sick or down. She always made sure I had the support I needed but also gave me the space I needed as well.
The city can feel small at times, but it is so easy to meet and get to know people, and it is really beautiful. There are lots of interesting bars, cafes, and museums, and the town is surrounded by mountains so there are lots of cool places to go hiking. It is also very safe. Of course you should take the precautions that you would take in any city, but I have never felt scared or in danger in Guanajuato. It is calm and peaceful, and there are usually lots of people outside, many of whom are fellow students.
I can't believe I only have three months left, I wish I could stay longer! The people are kind, the streets are alive and colorful, and my host mom's food is to die for. I would recommend this program to anyone!
Loved Guanajuato and CLA!
Submitted by Esther Verkouw - Millersville University | July 25, 2017
CLA offers such a cool experience that can be tailored to so many different types of students. My name is Esther and I arrived in Guanajuato in January and I have loved my CLA experience so far! Since my arrival I have had a great time, made a bunch of friends from Mexico and all over the world, and have gotten to travel a bunch!
When I first arrived, I was promptly picked up at the airport by Fabiola CLA’s amazing program director and my now, my friend. I am staying with a host family which has been great for my Spanish and for eating great meals three times a day. My host family has been so kind and taken me on vacations, and even to extended family celebrations. I have lots of freedom but always have lots of people to turn to for help if I need it.
There are a lot of different kinds of classes you can take in Guanajuato. Some classes are harder than others depending on what “school” the classes are in. But the teachers are typically very helpful and have had exchange students in their classes before. I was very thankful to be part of a program like CLA that helped my through the Add/Drop period at the beginning of the semester because the school’s offices can be a little slow and confusing, but CLA helped me through the whole process.
As far as the city goes, Guanajuato is beautiful! The city relatively small but is packed with things to do. There are a bunch of cool museums, winding streets, and a lots of unique restaurants and bars. The whole city center is very walkable which is what I love most. From my house I can walk to school, my friends’ houses, the market, the movies, the central plazas, cafes, restaurants, bars, all within 15 minutes! I also love that I feel like there are always little festivals, shows, and/or dance presentations going on every weekend!
It is really easy to travel in México. There are a bunch of “pueblos mágicos” close to Guanajuato and the “long distance” bus system is punctual and very comfortable. Although there are some place in Mexico CLA students are not allowed to travel to, so I found that it was important to ask about that before making any travel plans.
Fabiola has been so kind and helpful through the whole study abroad process. She organized our trip to Mexico City and asked me what I was most interested in before we went, we went to the famous Lucha Libre, Frida Kahlo’s house, went on boat rides, ate at yummy restaurants, and did a bunch of other cool things. Fabi really has always had my best interest in mind and has always given me advice on where to not travel and the safest ways to get where I want to go.
This program has been awesome for me! the perfect balance of freedom and security, fun and learning. I would definitely recommend it to anyone!