Submerge yourself in beautiful, fun spanish culture and language!! Past Review

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/14/2016 to 05/25/2016 with

Boston University: Madrid - Madrid Internship

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a lot of skill with my second language, I gained an appreciation for cross-cultural living in multiple settings ie here in the US, I gained a lot of confidence for being able to accomplish what, at many points, I thought would be impossible. It was a million percent worthwhile - probably my favorite thing I have done in my lifetime.

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 studied at the Autonoma, the university just outside of Madrid, which, to minimal fault of the BU program, was extremely disorganized and difficult to maneuver. While I learned a lot and vastly improved my spanish studying with native speakers in their regular classrooms, I am not confident in my estimated grades. It was definitely rigorous, but also I felt very lost a lot of the time because it's such a different classroom setting than I'm used to.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

We had minimal to no control over the food we ate in our host families. I got lucky for the most part, though.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I was personally very intimidated to make spanish friends in the classroom, so I didn't make any, except for one friend I made through our program's intramural soccer run by a spaniard our age. I felt very comfortable living in the culture after about a month or so in Spain.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I requested to see a therapist weekly for my mental health, and I was able to, free of charge to me as it was covered by the program, in my own language, too. I also had a medical problem with my foot and was able to receive medical attention from an english-fluent doctor very quickly.

* Safety:

Walking around at night as a woman in any city felt moderately unsafe, but I never feared for my physical safety. I was almost robbed a few times, but I caught it before it happened.

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

I was able to intern (at two places, because I wasn't satisfied with my first), I was able to challenge myself to take classes with locals with minimal pressure thanks to my home university's policy of pass/fail for classes abroad, I was able to live with a Spanish family and truly improve my language skills every day I was there, with the comfort of American friends to go through the difficult experience with and a support system of english-speaking program staff. They encouraged us to travel and learn and plunge into the culture.


* 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 would have been very easy to live on a small budget, I just didn't do it. We were provided meals all week except friday and saturday dinner, and we were provided 12 euros for each of those meals, which was plenty to properly feed yourself. Coffee was my main "necessity" I consistently spent money on, and I would buy two to three cafes con leche every day for 1-2 euros each.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? An average of about 60-100 per week between going out, shopping, sightseeing
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Plan all trips you want to take at the beginning of the semester so you are not buying tickets a few days before a trip, and so you can plan how much you will spend on traveling and how much you will be able to spend on the daily.


* 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

Our classes were in Spanish, our program director would speak to us in spanish, we were led on tours in spanish... with the exception of time hanging out with american friends, we were living just about entirely in Spanish. This applies to the University Studies level of the program.

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? I had completed up to 6th level college spanish and taken one literature course in addition.
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? Converse with your host families!! They want to help you!! Challenge yourself when you're out and Spaniards offer to speak to you in english

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • The city
  • the touring the program brought us on
  • the things they encouraged us to value about our experience
* What could be improved?
  • internship placements
  • organization with UAM
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known to 1) plan out my trips better to save money and 2) that the internship is a HUGE time commitment that is definitely not equal to the one course it supposedly replaced

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.