Not what I expected, but I loved Barcelona and the Spanish people! Past Review

By (Accounting and Related Services., Fairfield University) - abroad from 01/06/2013 to 04/26/2013 with

API (Academic Programs International): Barcelona - Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned how different Americans are, I would have really loved to learn with spanish students or live with spanish students. I liked the spaniards I met, the lifestyle in spain, the 3 day weekends to travel, and the API staff. I learned a lot about myself and others.

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 offered were more serious than expected however the classes I took because they looked interesting were not accurate according to their course description. I expected more of an interesting course especially the Entrepreneurship one. The program did not allow any time after classes ended to stay in Barcelona. Classes and finals ended April 25th and we had to move out by 12pm april 26th. It was stressful and unnecessary. It would have been nice to fly out on Sunday. Also the grade transfers do not compare properly. I suggest the scale be changed because the way it is done now does not give enough credit to the students for the time and effort they put into the course. the way it is done through the API International Barcelona program should be changed or i do think it will affect future enrollment.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I loved the API staff. They were helpful, kind, and invested in the students.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved my apartment. It was in a perfect location, lived with locals, and had all the amenities needed. However on Fairfield's end, it would have been nice to have some stipend for laundry or printing like there would be offered on campus.

* Food:

I personally liked all of the meats, cheeses, wine, and breads. However, many people i know felt the food was not all that healthy or did not have enough variety. But i enjoyed it very much!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt very integrated because of the programs API and UAB offered. I had 3 language exchange partners and had I not done those programs to find my partners I would not have learned the language and I would not have felt as comfortable in Barcelona as I did.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I found the parmacias to be more helpful than the doctor or hospital. Once I found one that spoke english (better to speak english when dealing with medicine) they helped me with my troubles. My one friend had stomach pains and went to the hospital and they actually gave her several drugs she did not need after asking her family member who is also a doctor.

* Safety:

I felt safe, most if not all the time. I was never pick-pocketed because I was aware and had a large bag so it would be difficult for them to access it. Many people i know had one or more items stolen on the streets but I was completely fine.

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)

in the beginning and the end i wanted to experience everything so i spent more money.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 200 per week
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Choose how much you plan on spending total and make you sure you account for food, metro passes, and phone credit. then break it up by week. Sometimes the program would host events or magazines could tell you where there were deals in the area.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Placed out in home university
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? Catch up on some basic skills at home if you are a beginner and definitely sign up for a language partner to really learn and practice the language.

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

  • 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?
  • 3 day weekend
  • language exchange program
  • excursions and cultural events
* What could be improved?
  • Departure date
  • Grade transfers
  • more exposure to the spanish instead of americans
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? decide where to travel in the beginning so you have enough time. If you want to know the city very well don't travel too much. You'll be with Americans a significant amount so to experience the culture fully you have to dive in yourself.