Evalutation by Ben Auton (21) college student USA, participated in the program Summer 2010
The house was great. We had plenty of room and I was never uncomfortable. It was nice to be able to stay in a home instead of a hotel or a dorm room, it was a much warmer environment and helped to make the traveling and stay in a different country much more enjoyable. It was a great place to come back to and relax alter all the outings and traveling. We were never without hot water and the facilities were great. It was also very nice to be able to do laundry regularly; I don’t think the trip would have been as comfortable without that.
I will miss a lot of things about Mexico and the food is at the top of the list. It was amazing to be able to eat such authentic food from Puebla. The menus were well planned and we were able to try a wide variety of local and traditional foods. I also appreciated that the food was made without too much spice but there were always salsas that you could add. This way you can add the flavor to your liking. This also helped me ease into some of the more spicy Mexican food and I now enjoy it much more. Real Mexican food was one of the things I was most excited to experience. All of the flavors, smells and colors in Mexican food are so rich and unique, and without this experience you really don’t fully understand the Mexican culture.
Las clases de español
What I liked most about the classes was that you could practice what you learned as soon as you walked out of the class. For me this made Spanish a real language. You would hear a word or study grammar in class and then as soon as you left the house you would hear it and even use it. This gives a language meaning and instead of having to constantly translate the Spanish back into English, the Spanish starts to take its own meaning and you can use it without having to translate it. For example, buenos días instead of meaning good day, simply means buenos días. This allows a non-native speaker to become much faster at responding and allows them to be able to learn how to really think in the language.
We were able to see a lot of Puebla. I now have a much better understanding of the history of Mexico and Puebla due to all of the museums we went to. It was a lot of fun to go downtown and be able to really experience the real Mexico. Puebla is not really a touristy place so it allows you to see Mexico and not an American resort. I really enjoyed going to the Hidalgo market too. It was a very Mexican experience that can’t really be found in the US. Going to the club was great too. It was very interesting and it allowed us to meet a lot of local Mexicans and use our Spanish. I would recommend if the students are old enough experiencing a Mexican club.
Also, I have never really felt nervous about my safety in Puebla. It is a very safe place and at most all you will get it stared out. I also made me feel very comfortable that you are with locals most of the time. Elliot, Sam, Richard and Lucia know the city very well and this lets you experience Mexico in a very unique way.
Tu experiencia en general
I have had a great experience. It is almost hard to take in and I don’t think I will realize all that I have learned until I am back in the US. It was such an amazing experience to be able to really live in Mexico for a month or longer. You are able to experience what life is like in Mexico. Without this experience I don’t think I would have ever been able to truly understand the Mexican culture. My understanding of Spanish has grown immensely and it has given me the tools to be able to continue studying the language. I came to Mexico with some understanding of Spanish but I really was not able to speak, read and write in the language. After a month my ability to understand, read and write the language has grown faster than I ever could have expected. I can understand a native speaker on the street, I can read a Spanish newspaper or book, and I can write a journal about what I did during the day. This is amazing to me and will allow me to continue to build my vocabulary and strengthen my ability to respond and speak the language. I never thought I would be able to read a Spanish book at the end or be able to chat with a cab driver in as little as 4 weeks but that is what is so powerful about a full immersion.
Precio vs experiencia
I thought the experience was a great deal for the money. Most programs are much more expensive and give you less of a cultural experience. I really enjoyed the experience and think that more students in the US need this sort of experience. US dollars also go far in Mexico.
Length of Stay
At minimum a student should stay for 4 weeks. Any shorter is too short but the longer the better. For me, it was my first time out of the country for an extend period of time and a month was great. It wasn’t too long that I missed my family and friends too much but it was long enough that I got a full experience.
Would you come again, why?
Yes, I would definitely come again. It was an awesome experience. I can’t wait to start building my Spanish vocabulary and will probably come back to Puebla at some point to continue studying Spanish. It is a great experience and I would have never understood Spanish so completely without this experience. I also like that it was a full immersion experience. It helps take the learning outside of a classroom and allows you to apply it and see how Spanish is used in a native speakers every day life.
Would you recommend Puebla as a good destination to other students? Why?
I love Puebla. It is a really amazing city with a lot to do and a lot to see. The volcanoes are beautiful and the centro is an awesome place to hang out. I have felt really safe here too. I have never really felt like I was in danger. I love Puebla and hope to come back soon.
Ben A., Full Immersion Homestay participant, summer 2010