Spain in the Spring! Past Review

By (Point Loma Nazarene University) - abroad from 01/16/2012 to 05/19/2012 with

API (Academic Programs International): Seville - Universidad Pablo de Olavide

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This experience was probably the best decision I will make in my life. I gained and learned more than I can even fathom. In the most general sense, it broke down barriers I had that falsely had compartmentalized the regions of the world, in my mind, it also encouraged me to think in different ways, I learned that adjusting to new ways of life is not as hard as I once thought, I recognize that time is a factor in everything and that it can help and hurt one and that friends are located everything around the world, just waiting to meet you.

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 felt challenged in each of my classes. The professors required genuine effort, constant focus, daily participation and held us all accountable. My exams required a good deal of studying and challenged me adequately.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The API team was incredible and always available for: help understanding the city, advice, recommendations, and Spanish practice. They were a joy to be around and I feel like I'm missing a part of my family now that we are so distanced.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was placed with a well-off family in a nice part of town, just like the rest of the students in my program. We learned a great deal from our abuelitas and enjoyed the company and knowledge they were willing to share.

* Food:

The food was adequate, but not extremely healthy. That is a matter of host country preferences, not necessarily the program.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

API did an excellent job of taking us around Spain and equipping us with the skills necessary to become world travelers, but much of the work on integration is done by oneself. I had to go out daily and speak Spanish, I had to follow up with friends I met. I had to push myself to become a part of the community. The city and it's people welcomed me, but I had to put myself out there first.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I never went to a doctor, but had the adequate international insurance, provided by the program. In Spain, everyone starts at the pharmacy where one can get the medicine they need to get well. If that doesn't work then they move on to the doctor. My colds were all healed from cough medicine at the pharmacy.

* Safety:

I never felt threatened while in Europe, and much of that comes from being aware of my surroundings. I was confidence in all my pursuits and made sure to let others know that. Sevilla and Spain in general is very safe, if one conducts themselves in this way, but Americans who carry purses are a target and a few of my friends were stolen from. That is the only major concern.

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)

Most everything was covered through API. I spent a good deal on trips around Europe, but nothing was out-of-this-world expensive. All meals were provided at home, and if I wanted to eat out then I would pay for those. Other than that anything I bought was for pleasure and not necessary for a good trip.

* 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? $30.00
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? BUDGET! A full checking account is deceiving and funds will be gone before your eyes if you do not sit down and plan it all out. I recommend talking with returning students to get an idea of expenses then sitting down with parents to write it all out and set a plan. ALSO, make sure to keep a pin you can remember. I made mine so complex because I was scared of someone trying to copy my pin and steal my card (I read it in some travel book and it terrified me) and I ended up forgetting my pin twice outside of Sevilla, and I had to call my family and try to sort out a solution - not fun!


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Hotel
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International 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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • All expenses taken care of in an organized, easy to follow manner
  • The excursions around Spain
  • The care that API staff took to ensure our journeys' were wonderful.
* What could be improved?
  • Pre-Departure automated emails, which tend to send out at wrong times, enducing stress.
  • The "we take care of getting your Visa" communication process.
  • Really, just pre-departure items, nothing I can think of in-country.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That being American is not a curse and that we have the opportunity to teach, to share and to change peoples perceptions about our country. Also, that Europe is not this big scary place full of pick pockets (If you are aware), and that the sense of wonder you will gain from these few months will follow you throughout your life, so make sure to "live where your feet are".