BCA Study Abroad
98% Rating
(49 Reviews)

BCA Study Abroad

Established in 1962, BCA Study Abroad has been committed to helping students understand contemporary issues by offering challenging and rewarding study abroad programs. From its start, BCA has focused its educational mission on engaging students with ideas that matter. As a result, students who participate in a BCA program gain a more comprehensive and precise understanding of the world.

Most Recent Program Reviews

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James
Male
24 years old
WA
Other

Italy: Away from Crowds and Up in the Clouds

10/10

To say that I enjoyed my adventures in northern Italy would certainly be an understatement. I had always wanted to explore Europe in some part but never had a viable opportunity, especially since I’m averse to crowds and highly popular tourist areas. Initially, I stumbled upon this program by chance, a random email from a professor I had in the past. Thinking it couldn’t hurt to sign up on BCA to just get some information, I was delighted in their quick responses.

The more I looked into Trentino, the more I got excited. Having traveled a fair amount, I lean more towards areas that are less touristy, where the locals live and break bread. I found exactly that in Trentino, namely in Nago-Torbole. The program heavily focused on the history and food production of northern Italy which easily fit along my Environmental Science degree but also kept the focus away from areas that were overcrowded like Milan or Venice. The program creators Juri and Manola were the absolute best guides I could have ever hoped for and gave me a real sense of the people who live in Italy, even without knowing much of the language.

The highlight of my morning was waking up to the beautiful garden of Agritur Stefenelli, an agriculturally focused bed and breakfast. The Stefenellis themselves were absolutely lovely individuals, so friendly and quite caring. The first 3 weeks of the program had my group staying at Agritur Stefenelli and exploring the area around Nago-Torbole and experiencing the pride and hard work that goes into the amazing wine, cheese, olive oil, cheese, breads, and did I mention the cheese? Everything that goes into the local production is absolutely fascinating, especially due to the many locations we visited including a dairy farm nestled high in the mountains.

The history and museum aspects of the program were also very cool. While a lot of the program is in more secluded areas, there is ample opportunity to visit larger, more popular towns and cities-especially sense public transportation is completely covered within Trentino. I could walk 100 meters in any direction and see a building that was 600 years old, remnants of WW1 and WW2 battles, or even religious landmarks that have survived an unfathomable amount world events. Having the perspective from the class lessons made every location’s story very tangible.

During the last week, we hiked all around the mountains, with breathtaking views and experiences that I will never forget. The secluded mountain house we stayed in was the perfect place to wind down and reflect on the past 3 weeks. The natural beauty of the Italian Alps and Dolomites is without compare.

There is so much more I want to say but really this is something you have to experience for yourself. I can’t think of a more unique program that has such rare and educational opportunities. I truly wish to return as soon as I can.

Internship Life in Chennai
Marc
Male
20 years old
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Elizabethtown College

Challenging Fulfillment

9/10

India is tough. Period. Especially for those of us who are so used to Western amenities. New experiences await, like using a bucket for taking a shower and doing laundry, coexisting with all sorts of animal friends, and more culinary flare than your Uncle Fieri's spice-rack. Putting aside the lack of municipal garbage disposal and flooding, the streets are fun to explore and highly chaotic for those that love to live in the moment. Public Transportation in Chennai is efficient and very cheap; I used the suburban train almost every day for commuting. Unless your academia is Social Work, a good chunk of your time will be spent exploring Chennai with new friends, all of whom I met were originally from the College (lone student abroad). Anupama Pai, the current director, is also amazing and easy to speak. Just be on time for things (unlike some of us). As long as you are ready for the constant sweating and a nuance of gender norms, BCA Chennai is a terrific program!
Disclaimer: I studied Political Science, that [2] under academia would be an [8] for Social Work.

How can this program be improved?

I believe more emphasis can be put on exploring the city, because the college is in a suburb, Tambaram, and some students never get to see the urban center as much as they should. Much is left to be desired in attempting to learn the local language, Tamil, especially due to the college's language department and how they operate with foreign students, but this matter is a work in progress.

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Nicole
Female
21 years old
Pennsylvania
Elizabethtown College

Missing NZ everyday

10/10

I absolutely loved my experience being abroad. I lived in a student house and was able to live with other international students and a Kiwi student. I made friends from all over the US and also in NZ. My favorite memory is hiking Roy's Peak (3 hour uphill hike) it was so tiring and hard, but we finally made it, and it was so rewarding. It's definitely one of my biggest accomplishments. University of Otago also offers so many different classes that you can take. I ended up taking classes that gave me more insight into the social classes of New Zealand and the history of New Zealand, just so that I got a better understanding of the culture. If you love the outdoors New Zealand is the right choice. It has the most breath taking scenery.

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Samantha
Female
Japan
Middlebury College

Go to Xalapa!

10/10

I had an amazing time studying abroad in Xalapa with BCA Mexico. Where to begin? My homestay was amazing, I am still in touch with my host mother, and my housing was right in the middle of town which was so convenient. It was easy to get to know other international students and other Mexican students both through classes and organizations. I personally found my community in a feminist collective, but as Xalapa is kind of a college town, there is a lot of stuff to do! Xalapa always has amazing events going on, the music is fantastic (really missed Son Jarocho when I came back to the states!), and there are always cool film festivals going on in the local cultural center. The nightlife is fun and affordable, and I always found that my friends watched out for me! I've got to say, I never felt unsafe in Xalapa, so please don't let that keep you from studying abroad in Mexico. I My Spanish got a lot better while I was in Xalapa, and I really did meet people who I am still close with today. I loved my time in Xalapa and I have recommended it to many of my friends who are interested in studying abroad in a Spanish - speaking country. It was everything I could have hoped for from a study abroad experience!

How can this program be improved?

Hmm, the courses at the local university weren't super challenging and were a bit disorganized. But to be honest, I didn't mind it that much because it left me more time to explore Xalapa and Mexico!

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Adin
Male
26 years old
Boston, MA
Wesleyan University

A Life-Changing Experience in an Incredible Place

10/10

I was deeply satisfied with my experience as a BCA-Xalapa study abroad student. Our program started with cultural immersion and language classes in the city of Cuernavaca, where we were given both the structure and guidance necessary to make us feel safe, and the freedom to begin exploring a new and exciting country. I was initially struck by how much the program director, Rob Krueger, knew about both ancient and modern Mexican history, and how he could contextualize the sites we were visiting and communities we were observing by pulling from his expertise in archaeology. I learned amazing things about indigenous history, Spanish colonization, politics and contemporary Mexican society from both classes and informal discussions with Rob. Also, from the start, we all only spoke Spanish, and this really got us ready to immerse ourselves linguistically in the country.

Moving on to Xalapa, we were given so much freedom to pursue classes that interested us, while also being guided and supported every step of the way by Rob. Rob is uniquely passionate, dedicated and caring when it comes to taking care of his students, and he's extremely casual and approachable, but still professional and organized. When I was the only person who wanted to take a class he was offering, he met with me every week at a coffee shop to discuss our readings and my essays, and he treated our classes just as seriously as if it were not only me. It was truly appreciated.

Xalapa itself is an awesome city, in an amazing part of the country. Veracruz gets a bad rep for drug-related violence, but it's sort of like any large city or region of the world that has an active conflict: You know where and where not to go, and you just don't go to the cities that aren't safe. Most of the cities ARE extremely safe, and I typically felt safer than I would in a city of comparable size in the U.S. People are kind, hospitable, open, inviting and if you let yourself get enmeshed with local students, organizations and people in general, your Spanish will become excellent. I entered shaky and left confidently fluent, and to this day this is a skill that helps me in my professional and personal life.

You are nearby beaches, rainforests, mountains, mangrove swamps, jungles, waterfalls and so much natural beauty. Food is incredible, though vegetarians will have to be mindful about eating in Mexico. Fruit is fresh and delicious. Buses, hotels, etc. are very affordable for most Americans given the conversion rate. Opportunities to get involved with local organizations (such as Matraca A.C., which serves youth who are working in the streets of Xalapa) and fun classes at the university where you will be taking classes (Universidad Veracruzana) abound (sculpture, dance, mushroom-growing, orienteering...).

In short, I could not have asked for a better program, a better program director, or a better study abroad experience. If you want to be in a beautiful place, eat great food, see exotic landscapes, majorly improve your Spanish, make good friends (of course, this will take openness and effort on your part, but this will be the case ANYWHERE you go) and learn so much about yourself and the world, come to BCA!

How can this program be improved?

Perhaps more weekend trips in and around Veracruz? Possibly expanded partnerships with local grassroots, community-based organizations? Potentially the option to live...not with a family? Really, though, I don't have much I'd change.

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