Mi corazon se queda en Grana! My heart remains in Granada! Past Review

By (Spanish Language and Literature., Western Washington University) - abroad from 08/25/2011 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?
It changed me as a person, student, and global citizen. If I could go abroad for my whole college carreer, I would. I expect to be back over seas next year, thanks to my experince in Granada. An academic year abraod was the best decision, and highlight of my college carreer.

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.

Classes themselves were not difficult. I think the higher the level you were, the better the classes, obviously. I think I learned the most from my translatino classes.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Curra and Carmen are two of the most wonderful women I have ever met. They were available 100% of the time and went above and beyond their call of duty. They enhaced my experience ten fold. The experience in Granada would not have been the same without them.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived with a older couple for the first semester...which was good to get grounded.. but I found my own housing after Christmas and looking back wish I would have from the start. I learned way more living with 2 Spanish guys who didn't speak English and were around my age than I did with my host parents. Both great experiences, but the ladder is definitely what I preferred. Really gets you to leave your comfort zone and completely immerse yourself in the host culture.

* Food:

I was less than impressed with the food from my host parents, but it was givin in copious amounts, I never went hungry! Once I was cooking for myself and with my roommates I was a lot happier. Also going to the street for food is part of the experence, so tapa hopping in Granada was a favorite past time.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Depending on how open you are, the more native friends you make the better. A lot of API classes are with Americans so it's up to you to find Spanish/local friends... but they organize intercambios to facilitate that process. I got involved in the community, talked a lot, and had a blast.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I was lucky enough not to have a health issue that year, but had friends who did. The hospitals were easily accesable, and the directors were very responsive to problems, and were there to help translate any health related questions. The pharmacies in Spain are wonderful, you can get whatever you need over the counter, and for pretty cheap.

* Safety:

Again, I never had a problem, but heard of some muggings at night, or bothersome men. But this is a question of common sense and street smarts! Don't walk alone at night, especially being American! I felt very safe in Granada, and lived about 30 minutes walking outside the center and had no problems walking at all hours.

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)

Money wasn't a super big deal, I didn't shop a lot like other students, just bought the basics. If you're going abroad, a lot of the experience is to travel and experience new things, so based on your budget, you can work with anything I think.

* 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? $60.00
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Try not to buy products that you miss from home, generally more Americanized products were more expensive. If you live like a local... go to fruit stands, clothing markets on the weekends...you'll be more than fine.


* 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 were encourage to only speak Spanish. Those who took advantage of that are the ones who improved, those who didn't... were seeing minor improvements. The directors spoke in Spanish, but it's a personal decision to put yourself out there to improve. You're in Spain! Speak Spanish! Or try...

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? 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? Get a conversation buddy.. A native speaker who you can help with English and who can help you with what you're learning.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Location
  • Directors
  • Balance in organized and independant activities
* What could be improved?
  • Clarity on what to expect from a host family
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew more about independant housing because I would have for sure done that first AND second semester.

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.'