A semester of a lifetime Past Review

By (International Relations and Affairs., Brigham Young University) - abroad from 01/09/2013 to 03/26/2013 with

Brigham Young University: Alcalá de Henares - Spain Study Abroad

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This experience was entirely invaluable! It was so neat to see how different, and yet how similar we as Americans are to people from all over the world. In a certain respect, we're all in this together, and that was an incredible thing to learn. It also was neat to experience how much variation there is in the basic, everyday things that we take for granted; I learned to be happy with very little while in Spain, and I am so grateful for that.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I absolutely loved having native Spanish speakers as Spanish professors; we really learned conversational Spanish. It was invaluable.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I absolutely loved my host mom; she was very concerned about us, our safety, and our comfort. She also was more than willing to help us with our Spanish homework or with anything else we had questions about. I really learned the Spanish culture from her.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We lived with host families, so we were entirely integrated in the local culture. We saw how holidays are celebrated and what ideologies are generally a part of the population. It also was really eye-opening to see how differently people live depending on where they live- even among fully developed countries. There is so much variation, and yet all are happy. It was incredible to experience.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The town that we lived in was very safe- we were always comfortable.

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)

There were students who spent a lot of money, and students who spent very little. It was easy to live off of whatever money you were prepared to spend in Spain; most of our expenses were covered in program fees.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? maybe 30 euros
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Just pay attention to whether or not you really want things- there are cool things that you're going to want to buy all over the country, but you won't have the money to buy them all.


* 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 spoke the language all the time with our host families- they didn't speak any English. However, when just our group was together, we usually spoke in English.

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? Spanish 105
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? Be sure to take full advantage of any opportunity to really speak the language; don't be shy!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* 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
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?
  • Spanish immersion
  • living in a host family
  • travel around the country
* What could be improved?
  • more Spanish immersion
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Speak as much Spanish as possible! Talk to people you sit next to on trains, share your opinions, make friends! Don't be afraid of speaking the language, because that is the only way you will learn it.