Amazing Past Review

By (BA in Psychology, Western Washington University) - abroad from 01/18/2012 to 05/25/2012 with

API (Academic Programs International): Granada - Universidad de Granada

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes, very worth while. I became way more comfortable speaking Spanish and made friends with lots of people from all over the United States.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The course work could've been a little more challening... but I learned plenty of Spanish just by living in Spain

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

API did everything in their power to make sure everything about your experience was enjoyable. They really went above and beyond to make sure every student was comfortable.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host mom was amazing. She went above our expectations. She was an excellent cook, she would buy us medicine when we were sick, and she made sure to take time out of her day to speak with us so we could be better Spanish speakers. We couldn't have asked for anything better.

* Food:

Our host mom was an amazing cook. She listened to what we liked and didn't like. She didn't make the same thing twice very often, and she always had fruits and vegetables available. We were never hungry!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

If you want to be integrated with other Spanish speaking friends, you really have to make an effort to go to intercambios. I spoke Spanish at school and with my host family, but it was easy at first to just feel comfortable with my American friends... get out there and volunteer, go to intercambios... make an effort to keep speaking Spanish while you have the chance!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

If I had a health issue, I informed API... and they got us to the doctor that same day. There was both an English and Spanish doctor available.

* Safety:

There were a few pick-pocketing incidents while I was abroad, but most of the time those happened to students who weren't paying close attention to their surroundings or not being smart. I felt extremely safe in Granada.

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


* 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)

It really depends on how much you're planning on traveling while abroad. If I were to stay right in Granada... saving money would've been easy. All of my food, housing and tuition was all paid for before arriving. However I visited 5 other countries while abroad because I wanted to take advantage of being in Europe. I spent about $2,500 extra on traveling and personal expenses, so be prepared for spending extra money if you plan on traveling... I'm not even a big shopper, but food, hostels and transportation add up quickly.

* 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? $150
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Plan what trips you'd like to do in advance. While planning those trips, think about all of the money you'll need for food, transportation, museums and hostels. I bought plane tickets for about 3 trips, because I had money for those plane tickets... but then when the trip came up, I ran out of money for all of the other things you need to travel, and ended up having to pay my parents back later. Just plan ahead.


* 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

API had plenty of opportunities for you to learn Spanish. They really wanted the advanced students to come speak to them in Spanish... but me being a high-intermediate student... I had the capability to always speak to them in Spanish, but since they didn't enforce it, I switched to English a lot. However this also made me feel comfortable with them. They did a good job balancing the two languages.

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? Spanish 301
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? Sign up for lots of intercambios. Live with a host family (for at least a semester, if you're going for a year).

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
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 people
  • I felt safe and comfortable
  • The excursions
* What could be improved?
  • I wish the program automatically signed me up for intercambios, without having to do it on my own.
  • No much else could have been improved, I have very little to complain about.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? You will probably spend more money than you plan. The placement test was not as scary as it was made out to be.