A Semester in Seville with API: The Greatest 5 Months of my Life Past Review

By (Spanish and Communications, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor) for

API (Academic Programs International): Seville - Universidad de Sevilla

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned that I was more independent that I thought, how to be resourceful, gained courage and confidence in myself, and improved my ability to speak and understand Spanish, my number one goal. I furthermore learned how deep my passion for Spanish truly is and have realized that I want to work abroad or work in the study abroad profession.

Review Photos

API (Academic Programs International): Seville - University of Seville Photo

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.

I took classes alongside Spanish students all conducted in Spanish at the Communications Department at the University of Seville. As these classes were fully integrated and not designed for English-speaking students, they were challenging and definitely required a very solid understanding of Spanish, particularly oral as classes were lecture based. The class workload was very light with only 1-2 papers, 1-2 projects, and 1 exam per class and none of my classes had outside reading, everything was based on material learned in lecture. I found this nice since I did not have to do much outside work until the end of my stay in Spain however this last month did require a fair amount work since it all came at the end. The grades are based on a 10 point scale and it seems like very few students receive a 9 or 10 , most receive 6, 7, or 8 which is more like an A or a B, not a 60%, 70%, or 80% percent as it would seem to translate to in the United States. Since my home university was looking to see that we simply passed our courses and since I received all 7s, my credits all transferred but I would check with your home institute to understand exactly what they will be looking for in order for you to receive credit.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The API office was fairly close to the University center, allowing for easy accessibility. It was opened all day including during Siesta which was very helpful and always had computers available. The two API on-site directors were also extremely knowledgeable about the host country and mostly helpful with class selections and issues at the University. One of the directors in particular sent daily emails about activities to do in the city so we were aware and could participate in countless cultural activities and really experience life in Spain.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The neighborhood I lived in was very safe and very close to the homes of other Americans in my program which made going out at night convenient even though the locations of our nighttime activities (bars and clubs) weren't always super close (some places were 25 minutes walking though one location of frequent visit was less than 10 minutes walking). My host family was excellent, very accommodating, and kind. I was treated with utmost respect and made a family member from the start. My classes were a bit far from my home since I did not take classes in the central building at the University of Seville however API paid for my bus pass and I often rode a bike to class.

* Food:

My host mom tended to fry a lot of her food or use a lot of oil which was not necessarily my favorite and felt a bit unhealthy but overall her food tasted great and I felt that I tasted traditional Spanish food, which was my goal.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

API organized a number of cultural activities and trips throughout Spain as well as to other countries. We went to approximately 10 cities over the 5 months, trips that were all factored into the cost of the program so we didn't have to pay anything essentially when we went on these trips, and on these trips we participated in a number of activities and very informational and fun tours that allowed us to really see all aspects of this location and learn so much about the Spanish culture. API also provided us the opportunity to go to flamenco shows, a bull fight, Spanish orchestra performance, and many other cultural activities and the trip we went to abroad was to Morocco, which was absolutely fantastic. These activities and trips are by far the number one thing I appreciated and loved about API and I found no other program to have as great of activities and trips like this, especially for the price of this program.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The country and city felt safe for the most part and API took precautions to make sure we knew about methods for getting home safely at night.

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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

Not very many people spoke English fluently aside from foreigners from the United States, which are pretty high in number in Seville especially at the University of Seville, and other students on the program. Living with a host family allows you a tremendous opportunity to speak Spanish on a daily basis and befriending Spanish classmates or Spaniards at the University is another great way to practice your Spanish, both of which I did and I know helped me learn a great deal. I spoke Spanish everyday although if I spent most of the day with my American friends, my Spanish language use was minimal.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Travel and Cultural activities provided
* What could be improved?
  • More interactions with local Spanish students (perhaps API could organize activities with students at the University)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Students who want to travel will really enjoy this program. If you want to really improve your language, you have to put yourself out there a little as it is easy to stick with your American friends on the program and speak only English. I highly highly highly encourage students to make every effort they can to try to make Spanish friends or spend time with their host family as much as possible to give them the full integration with Spanish culture and help them improve their ability to speak and understand Spanish as this is the only way to accomplish that goal.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Información y Propaganda (Information and Propaganda)

Course Department: Unknown
Instructor: María Eugenia Gutiérrez
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: María Eugenia was extremely knowledgeable about the material as well as very passionate about the topic which came across in her lectures. The class was history and theory based and María Eugenia presented all the information in lecture using powerpoint slides that were filled with information, all of which she included in a course packet that was available for purchase (not expensive at all). The course grade was based on 1 presentation, 1 group paper, and 1 final exam. I learned more in this class than in some of the courses I've taken at my home institution.
Credit Transfer Issues: Since the course had a paper, presentation, and exam, my university deemed this to be enough class work to receive credit for this course. I received credit for my Communications major since the topic was Propaganda as well as for my Spanish major since it was conducted in Spanish alongside Spanish students (integrated).
Course Name/Rating:

Psicología Social Aplica a la Publicidad y RRPP (Social Pyschology Applied to Advertisement and Public Relations)

Course Department:
Instruction Language:
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Periodismo Viajes (Travel Journalism)

Course Department: Unknown
Instructor: Belenguer Jané
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: This course was lecture based on with powerpoint slides used in lecture. The teacher spoke very clearly and seemed very knowledgeable about the subject. The course was technically 2 days a week with one day being lecture and a second day being a writing day where students would work on journalism style of writing but the teacher did not require myself or the other American student in my class to come to that writing day since he said our writing would naturally not be at the same level as the Spanish students and therefore we would not be able to learn the journalistic style without basic fluency. The exam was very short but very difficult and I barely passed.
Credit Transfer Issues: This course counted towards my Spanish major but not my Communications major since I took one exam and did no writing.
Course Name/Rating:

Psicología Social Aplica a la Publicidad y RRPP (Social Psychology Applied to Advertising and Public Relations)

Course Department: Unknown
Instructor: Ana Guila Boza
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: This course was lecture based and that material that we were tested on appeared on the powerpoints so taking notes in class was extremely important. The teacher spoke very quickly which was difficult but because the grade for the course was based on the exam and since the exam material was all on the powerpoints, being able to understand the powerpoints and take notes from them was all that was necessary to pass the course. There was additionally a presentation students were required to do in groups, although this was very simple as well.
Credit Transfer Issues: This course counted towards my Spanish major but not my Communications major because I already had sufficient Communications credit.
Course Name/Rating:

Información y Propaganda (Information and Propaganda)

Course Department: Unknown
Instructor: María Eugenia Gutierrez
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: This course was by far the best that I took at the University. María Eugenia is extremely knowledgeable about the subject and a very intelligent woman along with passionate about the topic. This came across in lecture which made lecture exciting and interesting and she presented material in a very clear manner, including having the course material and lecture notes all in one packet available for purchase (very inexpensive) which was perfect when studying for the final. We discussed propaganda throughout the world and throughout history and as an American student, I got to offer my perspective on propaganda in the United States which she really enjoyed and the class did as well. Great class.
Credit Transfer Issues: This class had 1 paper, 1 presentation, and 1 exam which was considered a lot of work according to my home university and thus the credits passed easily for both my Spanish and Communications majors.