Barcelona: Not what you're expecting; it's better! Past Review

By (International Studies, Queens University of Charlotte) for

CEA: Barcelona, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Absolutely. This semester has helped me realize so much more about myself, about who I am, what I need as a person, and how I fare when thrown into uncomfortable situations. Being in Europe has opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities as far as post-undergrad goes. I could really see myself moving here soon after graduation for work or grad school.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I'd say there wasn't necessarily more work, it was just harder at times to juggle the work with so many distractions around you. You want to make sure you're able to take in as much of Europe as you can, school starts to fall by the wayside. However, I will say, this is the first semester I've ever had a final exam in all my classes.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Very awesome staff, always willing to lend a hand and always keeping their students in the know of events and things to keep in mind.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Housing was perfect. Our apartment and neighborhood were both excellent, we never felt like we were in danger, and there was a lot to do in our area to keep us busy. Awesome location for an apartment.

* Food:

Barcelona has amazing food, and it's not hard to find. Just venture to places you might not see Americans, and definitely try to avoid menus with either pictures or English versions.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The cultural events CEA arranged for us were awesome. It was especially great to learn and see more of Catalunya.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Barcelona is a very safe city. The most common crime is pickpocketing, and it's pretty easy to not get pickpocketed. Just keep an eye on your things, especially in crowded, touristy areas or when you're just hanging around. Don't call attention to yourself, and you'll be fine. I never got pickpocketed once. But trust me, these guys are good. You won't see it coming.

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

Finances

* 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)

Language

* 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?

I already speak Spanish fluently, so it was easy to talk to locals. However, it was even more gratifying to go the extra mile and make an effort to speak Catalan with locals.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Cultural experiences and trips
  • Willingness of onsite staff to help and suggest things to do!
  • Resources given to students
* What could be improved?
  • Attendance policy!
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Do yourself a favor and if you're even considering Barcelona, just do it. Barcelona is an amazing city with so much to offer for any kind of student. There's always something to do, somewhere to go out, some sort of event going on in the city. The culture is fascinating and there are so many different sights to see all over the city and Catalunya in general. Public transportation is phenomenal. The people are so kind. And the Spanish way of life is not bad.