An incredible 5 months that gave me a new direction November 30, 2015

By (Spanish, College of Charleston) - abroad from 01/05/2015 to 05/21/2015 with

AIFS: Granada - University of Granada and Internship Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained more confidence in my speaking ability and also discovered the career path I am currently pursuing as I get ready to graduate. Studying abroad was absolutely worthwhile and I truly believe everyone should find time to go abroad during college.

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 classes were generally engaging and were a good course load without being so much work that I couldn't take advantage of being abroad. Some of my professors really took advantage of the fact that we were in Spain. One took us on a tour of the Alhambra and our culture class included a lot of observations from our daily lives.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program directors, Edu and Noelia, were incredible. They were friendly and helpful and always available if we needed anything at all. They helped make the program feel like a little family. They are a large part of the reason I loved my time abroad so much.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in a homestay, which I really loved. My host mother and host brother and sister were very welcoming and helped me feel at home with them after only a few short weeks. I had a lot of freedom and it was nice to have friendly faces to come home to each day. My host mother even took great care of me when I caught a bad cold. My only regret was that I did not have a roommate, unlike most people in my program.

* Food:

My host mother was a great cook and was very accommodating when there was a food I didn't like.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt fairly integrated because I lived with a host family and had so many daily interactions with locals at school and around the city, but I spent a lot of time with other Americans who were in my classes and in my program.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't have any healthcare issues while abroad, but AIFS had plans in place if I were to have any problems.

* Safety:

Just like any other city, it was important to be aware of my surroundings and not to be alone at night. I felt just as safe in Granada as I do in most other cities.

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

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)

Because I lived in a homestay, all of my meals were provided for me, so the only time I had to pay for food was when I chose to spend pocket money on snacks or out with friends.

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

I took all of my classes in Spanish and spoke Spanish with my host family, but with my friends and on weekend excursions, I generally used English. AIFS did provide us with contact info for students who wanted to do intercambios, which were a chance to practice Spanish with native speakers.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? SPAN 447: Spanish Dialectology
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? Live with a host family or with students who are native speakers. Immersing yourself daily is the best way to practice. Use it in public too, even if someone assumes you want to speak English.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* 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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • My host family
  • The excursions
  • Experiencing daily life in a different country
* What could be improved?
  • There should be an option to take classes with Spanish students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I would have decided to have a roommate.

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!