Wonderful Experience in Granada January 21, 2015

By (International Relations and Global Studies, The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 08/28/2014 to 12/19/2014 with

AIFS: Granada - University of Granada and Internship Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned so much more about myself and had the opportunity to travel more than I ever have been able to. Yes, I was frustrated with spanish sometimes and anxious about being around so many Americans, but overall it was an amazing experience to live/learn in such a beautiful country.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I feel that the classes could've been more intensive. More specifically, the spanish teachers. I was a level 6/7 student and the teachers that I had were terrible. I had 5 classes. 2 of which focused on spanish speaking and writing. Those two classes were my least favorite classes. For as much money as the program costs I feel that the teachers could have been much better.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

AIFS was amazing. The entire staff is amazing and so helpful with everything. Noelia and Edu (coordinators) are fantastic people! The only thing I will say is that sometimes I felt that our group was too big (around 60 people). Makes it kind of stressful for group trips.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Lived with a host family and I loved it! Food was wonderful and I was able to practice spanish way more.

* Food:

Delicious! Nothing like home made spanish food!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It is really difficult to integrate with the local culture. I really want future participants to know that this program is with the language school within the University of Granada which serves primarily foreign students. So all my classes were with Americans. I was under the impression that my classes would be with spanish students. If your goal is to improve your spanish, I would suggest to dive right into the local community. Go to local bars (not american filled ones) and maybe get involved with a sport/dance class to meet locals. It really is up to you, but it is work. I loved my program and time in Granada, but if I could choose again I would choose to study in a direct exchange program.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no experience with the healthcare. BUT, from stories I heard from other participants it was good. Dealing with a different healthcare system can be difficult.

* Safety:

Granada is beautiful and very safe!

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

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)

Very cheap city! So great to not have to stress about money. You can have fun and sometimes not have to spend anything when going out. There are a ton of Erasmus students in Granada so take advantage of the free events (check fb!) and save your money to travel Europe.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 50 Euros. (I did have all my meals with my host family though)
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I know this advice might not go over too well BUT, really enjoy your study abroad in other ways... it is easy to party every night and spend a lot of money on drinks/covers but, try to see another part of Granada. Spain is a beautiful place and is so much more than the cheap drinks. So really just save your money by not partying so much. Even if you do, you will save more money than anywhere in Spain.

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

AIFS heavily encouraged spanish speaking. Again, it is your choice to speak as much spanish as possible. BC the school is filled with Americans, you have to make sure to speak spanish.

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? Intermediate
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? Go to language exchanges ( a ton at local bars). Use language exchange.com to find locals who want to practice english and you can practice spanish. This is also a great way to meet locals and make spanish friends.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* 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?
  • Host Family
  • Great staff
  • Learning Spanish
* What could be improved?
  • overall group size in AIFS
  • choice to directly enroll in UGR
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew that the CLM is primarily for American exchange students so when not in class everyone is speaking english.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'