Expanding my Worldview Abroad May 15, 2018

By (Mount St. Mary's University, Los Angeles) - abroad from 08/30/2016 to 12/16/2016 with

AIFS: Barcelona - Universitat Autònoma Barcelona

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned how to step out of my comfort zone and roam a city independently from my group. I gained local friends from a nearby church that I still keep in contact with until this day. I became a more independent person because of studying abroad and I learned to have more confidence in myself and my intuition when traveling. Also, living abroad allowed me to learn how to protect myself among pit-pockets and how to budget to live on savings. I also gained some experience of living with locals and seeing how they enjoy the world through a local lens by being a part of a church's women's club that allowed me to practice my Spanish. I also got to have the opportunity to pitch my business ideas to local business owners while working with other American and European students. I got to see how different cultures can work together to create a beautiful result.

Review Photos

AIFS: Barcelona - Universitat Autònoma Barcelona Photo AIFS: Barcelona - Universitat Autònoma Barcelona Photo AIFS: Barcelona - Universitat Autònoma Barcelona Photo AIFS: Barcelona - Universitat Autònoma Barcelona Photo AIFS: Barcelona - Universitat Autònoma Barcelona Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The semester I had abroad was mu most challenging one but most successful one. I had all A's and to A- when I got back.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Inma was a great role model and had a lot of advice for students who wanted to travel.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I enjoyed my apartment because it in the city center.

* Food:

I think the prepaid cards that they provide really do assist with the cost of food.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felted integrated with the local culture because I volunteered with a local church and events company.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

It was easy to get cold medicine from the Pharmacy.

* Safety:

It was very safe but one has to be careful of pit-pockets and be aware of one's surroundings.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

I would choose the same program because it offered me security and a guide in the city. Inma showed us how to use the metro on day one. I got to participate in a fútbol team that competed every week. I also got to connect with other students in my program and that offered a sense of security. I also gained a family, the study abroad hosts really care about the students and their well-being abroad and offer safety tips and cultural immersion. Inma taught us the dance she grew up dancing which was called Sevillanas.

Finances

* 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)

Food was quite expensive in Barcelona. However, it was cheaper on the outskirts of the city.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Venture out of the city center for groceries, it will help save money or go with the home-stay option.

Language

* 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

We had to take a Spanish Language class and we also were encouraged to practice daily.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Spanish 2 in High School.
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Duolingo is an app that is quite helpful with practicing as well as grammar words on quizlet.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

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

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The excursions which provided a new world view.
  • The extensive background of the professors.
  • The knowledge of the study abroad directors.
* What could be improved?
  • Offering cheaper admission for the fútbol team
  • By providing more excursion options through AIFS.
  • They can providing a better match for suite-mates that suit each others personal living habits.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew to bring some clothes that help insulate like under armor. In December it starts to become really cold. I also wish I knew to join a local gym or to find someone to run with weekly. I also wish I had purchased a RFID protecting cross-body bag with a zipper, that really helps curb pit-pocketing.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!