Past Review

By (Chemical Engineering., Rice University) for

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was wonderful. I gained new friends, new travel experiences, and better language skills.

Personal Information

The term and year this program took place: Summer 2007

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I learned SO much and had just as much fun while I was there. I made great friends in my program and with other students in the Cursos Internacionales programs. Having international students from all over the world made sure we spoke in only Spanish in class -- and sometimes out of class too -- because this was the only common language and way to communicate. I was able to take fun classes like Art History and Writing, which I never would have had the opportunity for otherwise.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They were well organized and very friendly. We had several planned trips that were very well done. Having a small group for the first session (10 ppl) really helped the program -- the second session where 3 of us 10 stayed on to join a group now well over 20 was not as fun because it seemed a bit more chaotic. María and Inma were both really nice, knowledgeable, and helpful.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Wonderful! It was such a fun experience. Another girl on my program from Wisconsin roomed with me, and she was originally from El Salvador so she was able to help me with my spanish as well. We lived with a sort of extended family, there was a mom and her 3 kids (20, 22, and 26), but also the mom's sister and her husband and 2 kids, and the mom's parents filled 3 of 4 apartments in one little building (the 4th was vacant). There were always people around and they were really wonderful. We lived about 2-3 blocks from the Cathedral and our classes just off of Calle Libreros. <br /><br /> We were close to class, parks, Plaza Mayor, shopping, and not too too far from nightlife (but farther than most other students, the resi, etc). We lived in the oldest area of Salamanca, but the building wasn't falling down or anything, we each had our own small room, but it was plenty of room to sleep and have a computer -- the fun in Salamanca is outside the room anyway, who needs spectacular living when you're hardly home? The food wasn't always great, but it wasn't terrible. Our family was really wonderful, kind, helpful, fun to be around, and it really was a summer to remember.

* Food:

Some stuff was really good, but a little repetitive for lunch. They really don't eat much for dinner frequently they would make us salad (...just lettuce), french fries, or pizza for dinner. We went out a few times with friends where we actually scheduled a meal, and they were great, too. Sometimes we'd just grab tapas while we were out and eat less at home for dinner. I did go to the grocery store and keep snacks and stuff because they eat a very light breakfast around 7-8 and lunch isn't until 2:30! They had bars and cafeterias that had great snacks, but I found that was more of a treat and it made more sense monetarily to get juice boxes and granola bars at the store and carry them to school. (I was in class from 8-2:30 everyday).

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It was a blast. We had so much free time outside of school and just really enjoyed all the trips and friends I made.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

When anyone got sick they were taken care of really well, and I was never worried about safety while on the trip.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Books were provided, I didn't use much transportation, I used Skype to call home, I didn't go out clubbing much (the drinks are really expensive at clubs) and we went to the movies once to see Harry Potter... so I would say my expenses mostly went to supplemental food and whatever shopping for me and gifts that I did, as well as traveling to Valencia, Lisbon, and Barcelona which were not included in my program. (My program went to Santander, Sanxenxo/A Toja, Segovia/La Granja, Toledo, Madrid, Santiago, El Escorial, 2 Capeas...)


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
Language acquisition improvement?

I finally learned grammar!! Knowing the grammar gave me more confidence to speak because I felt less like I was totally screwing up a language that I loved so much, and more competent and able to communicate. Just this past summer, 2 years after studying abroad, I returned to Spain and found that my Spanish came back so quickly, and that I was really able to communicate with anyone I needed to about anything.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Go! You'll love it :) Be open, meet new people, enjoy the experience because it'll end sooner than you can imagine.