Adelante is a great program, but do not live in Eureka housing Past Review

By (Government and Spanish, Smith College) - abroad from 06/01/2013 to 08/24/2013 with

Adelante: Madrid - Intern In Madrid

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I discovered a lot more about Spanish culture and life in Madrid. Madrid is a great city and I am returing in the fall for a year-long study abroad program.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Adelante staff is very helpful and understanding.
* What could be improved?
  • My duties as a social media intern were a bit nebulous. My boss was based in the U.S and she could never remember which city I was in.
  • The language school's director could use some training on how to interact with internationals living in his housing in a respectful manner.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I held out on writing this review for a while because my overall Adelante experience was great and I really appreciated their support. However, I felt extremely targeted by the director of our Spanish language school, who also happened to be our landlord. Whenever there was an issue in the apartment (like alchocol bottles being left out, loud conversations at night, guests sleeping over,) he would automatically show up at my door with the assumption that I must be the roommate causing the problems. I won't mention my race because I don't actually think it is that important but I do feel that I was treated differently because of it. I was nothing but respectful to this person but I felt that I was always treated as a criminal despite my obedient demeanor. One time there was a complaint about "The Americans" being too loud at night. Instead of having a conversation with all of the Americans in the house at the same time, he decided to talk to us seperately. None of the other Americans were ever accused of causing the problem but to me he said "You cannot act as you would in your own country, you have to respect the other cultures of the people living this apartment." It was only when I spoke with my roommates that I realized that the tone of my conversation with him was much different than theirs. Another time, other program participants and mutual friends of all of the roommates decided to stay the night and sleep on the couch. This was against the rules and we were all very clear on this. In the morning, when the director came and saw the two of them sleeping on the couch he immediately marched to my locked door and banged on it until I woke up. He told me that "that was it, [I] would not be getting my deposit back." My other roommate, who was just as close to the two visitors as I was, slept peacefully on the other side of the apartment and was never woken up, talked to, or threatened. Although I do not think the director was a conscious bigot or trying to be malicious in his interactions with me, I do think he made assumptions about which type of Americans are "trouble makers" and which types aren't based on what he's seen on TV or heard from others. It created an uneasy relationship between us and made me afraid to ask him for help for things I needed, like a fan, or someone to fix the internet. I would do Adelante all over again in a heartbeat but I would never live in an apartment owned by him again.