Inspiration in a city filled with a history of magical expression. Past Review

By (Art History, Criticism and Conservation., University of Arkansas - Fayetteville) - abroad from 06/10/2012 to 07/06/2012 with

AIFS: Barcelona - Universitat Autònoma Barcelona

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned to look at my own country from a global perspective. It opened my world to living in a big city and the Spanish culture. I became very experienced with understanding how the culture works. I realizes how to relax and go with the flow, which is how the Spanish look at time. It was amazing, it was very worth it. I can't wait to go back, I wish I would have stayed longer.

Personal Information

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

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The classes were very good. My professor was one of the best parts of my trip, he was super knowledgable. The work load was minimal, but studying for tests was required.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They were very nice, but didn't help out with guiding us to areas of the city or telling us interesting things to do.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The housing was very poor. We weren't in a great area and they didn't get any of us with the roommates we picked on the initial setup. The beds were dirty, and the staff at the housing complex was very rude. They charges for everything from Internet cords to 5 euros to dry your clothes. This was the biggest negative on my trip.

* Food:

The program didn't provide much food, but when they did they took us to amazing restaurants that all of us went back too. Milk and Marmalde became favorites and I would recommend for everyone in Barcelona. There is amazing food of all kinds in this fabulous city.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt like I was a little bit in the culture, but we were living with all Americans and were not integrated well. One of my friends studied in Seville and she was paired with a local buddy to learn about the culture and meet friends. I would have loved for something like that.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

If your smart then it will be really safe, if not then you will get your stuff pickpocketed. Several people got their stuff stolen. Always stay with your group and ACT LIKE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING. If you look sure of yourself and look like a local then people won't mess with you. Europe doesn't have the same personal space or attitude as we have so if someone is bothering you tell them.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Very expensive. Bring way more money than you think.

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? Yes
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? At least 250 euros.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Don't go out every night. Cook and drink at home before you go out. Use the metro when you can, cabs are reasonable but it adds up quickly.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? None, I took French.
How many hours per day did you use the language?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The city! Barcelona is an amazing thriving city full of international and local culture.
  • My friends were great.
* What could be improved?
  • Housing could be more centrally located, and cleaner.
  • More interactive with locals and culture. Day and weekend trips to better places.
  • Make the class times not in the middle of the day, I want to see the city in the day also. I was in class from 12-6.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish that I would have studied more Spanish. The language barrier is bigger here than in places like Italy or France. Don't promise parents and friends Skype time, Internet is very iffy. Bring more money. Do research about the city, where you want to eat and what you want to see.