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    Rebecca Stack (Northeastern Illinois University - Illinois)
    Mexico, Summer(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. My Sol 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 emotional support when I met with my 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 happy to step in. 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 way to experience Mexican culture and bond with the other students in my 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 was more natural than a classroom. 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 and completely comfortable manner. On weeknights and weekends during the semester 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."