Only do this program if you fit the right mold Past Review

By (BUSINESS, MANAGEMENT, MARKETING, AND RELATED SUPPORT SERVICES., University of Massachusetts Amherst) - abroad from 01/08/2014 to 04/26/2014 with

CEA: Barcelona, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I have absolutely no regrets from choosing to study abroad. I traveled a ton, saw places all over Europe, became more multi-cultured and knowledgeable, etc etc...all that stuff. The regret I do have is choosing to go with CEA, and this mostly had to do with the people in the program. The VAST majority fit into this mold: Greek life, rich, very superficial, jewish, partiers. If you're this, CEA is definitely for you. Don't get me wrong - I love to party and go out and have a good time. But I honestly found the people in this program to be the most cliquey and unfriendly people I've ever met in my life, no exaggeration. Whenever I met people from other study abroad programs, I found them to be much much more friendly, cultured, and interesting people. Part of the problem is that most people come to CEA with a huge group of friends from their university. Again, if this is you, go for it, but if you're coming alone you're kind of in for a surprise because all those people in groups aren't really looking to meet new people. So if you're coming by yourself, and you want to meet friendly, outgoing, fun people who aren't superficial and cliquey, then please, choose a different program. This didn't ruin my study abroad experience - I still eventually made a good group of friends, but it took a lot longer to find them - basically all the people who didn't fit the mold had to find each other. Come to Barcelona - but don't do CEA!!

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.

The classes were extremely easy. If you want classes that are for the most part a complete joke, then this is your program. However, I found that this program attracted students that acted like they were still in high school - obnoxious in class, rude to the teacher, and didn't do their homework half the time.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The on-site team is a group of young and incredibly friendly people. Most of them are Spanish, with a few American expats. Can't say better things about the administrative team, they do really care about making your experience good.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Both the apartments and Residencias are pretty nice. Both have their pros and cons - your overall experience depends on the people you're with.

* Food:

Food is not included in the program. You quickly learn that you need to shop and cook, eating out in Barcelona is time-consuming and expensive.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Not all that integrated. The program is an "American-bubble" program. Your classes are at CEA buildings, with all American students, and you'll be living with all Americans. I found the people in the program to be mostly interested in going to the same american clubs and bars night after night, instead of checking out the local spots. That said, my poor Spanish didn't really help with meeting locals. **Note: A few of the programs may include a few classes at a Barcelona university, like the business program.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Never had a health issue but I heard the program did a good job of assistance.

* Safety:

The city feels pretty safe even at 3 in the morning. The main thing to watch out for is pickpockets - they're EVERYWHERE. I know many people who got pick pocketed, so you need to have your guard up. Assault and such is very rare though.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

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)

I was able to live on a student's budget as long as I cooked and didn't eat out too much. Note that Barcelona is not that cheap to fly from though, which affected my budget because I traveled a lot.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100-150 on food, but on weekends I traveled I'd spend much more
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Cook a lot, and pre-game a lot before you go out to save money. Book flights as early as possible.

Language

* 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

Only needed to use it in Spanish class.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? High school
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? Don't expect the language to learn itself - I didn't learn that much but I also didn't put much effort in.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* 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?
  • Administration staff
  • Housing
  • The city
* What could be improved?
  • People
  • Classes
  • Cultural integration
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew that most people were going to come with huge groups of friends, and weren't going to be that outgoing to meet new people. Also, that it was such an American bubble program.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
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.