An American Barcelona Experience Past Review

By (Journalism., Indiana University - Bloomington) - abroad from 01/09/2014 to 04/26/2014 with

CEA: Barcelona, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot about myself. I learned how to be alone. I learned that I like to learn through experience and exposing myself to real life things. I learned how to step out of my comfort zone. I learned how to ask for help.

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.

In terms of academic rigor, this program was very low on the scale. This is not to say that I didn't learn anything and this is not to say either that this is a bad thing. In fact, I think very much the opposite. The classes in the program introduced me to the culture of Spain. It had me learning about my surroundings and the people I was around. The workload and homework was minimal if anything which gave me the chance to get out of a classroom or apartment and explore the city or travel over the weekends.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program administration were very open if you asked for help and the very first week to get you okay with being out of your comfort zone. But other than that you were pretty much on your own most of the time figuring everything out.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was very satisfied. I lived in a 4 bedroom apartment in L'Example and I felt for the most part very safe in the neighborhood and comfortable inside the apartment. It was about a 30 minute walk to class but walking around Barcelona was not something that seemed like a task.

* Food:

Grocery stores were easy to navigate, restaurants (Bo Da Be, Milk, Bocoa, Cervercia Catalana) were great and not that expensive. Stay away from restaurants on Las Ramblas--its not real tapas and its too expensive.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The culture (especially the forward Spanish men that holler at any American woman) took a little bit to get used to but the people, if you reach out to them, are nice. Even if it doesn't always seem like it.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I cannot say for sure, I did not have any Health Care issues during my time abroad.

* Safety:

There were definitely times I did not feel 100% safe in Barcelona. You should not walk around by yourself at night and you should try to avoid walking around at night at all. I did experience pick-pocketers on the street, out at night, on the metro. If you are aware of your surroundings and not making stupid decisions, Barcelona is a safe place. But you do have to be aware.

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)

You have to stay smart. If you are smart, not shopping after class every day, you can stay pretty much on budget. It is harder when it comes to traveling because you are eating out all the time, buying souvenirs, paying for a place to stay, etc. So if you plan to travel a lot, plan to pay more.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Maybe $80 a week with food and minimal shopping (not including travel)
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Shop at the food markets--it is cheaper and fresher.

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

I tried as much as I could but there was very little focus on the language within the classroom or 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? S250 (third level college Spanish)
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? Use the conjugations if you know them but if you don't, the best thing to do is just to keep talking with the vocab you know... They will understand.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* 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?
  • How easy they made the preparation.
* What could be improved?
  • More interaction with locals and more focus on the language.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? More about living with a host family because I think that would have also been a great experience and given me more of a cultural experience.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Photography in Barcelona

Course Department:
Instructor: Marisa Torres
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This was my favorite class abroad. Not only did I love the instructor, but the class took you out of the classroom. We had a lot of field trips that we walked to to see photo exhibits and the assignments forced you every weekend to make sure you were taking pictures of the places you traveled to... and interesting pictures at that.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

European Integration

Course Department:
Instructor: Andrea Lanaia
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The course was probably the most intense course in the program. There were no field trips and the instructor gave a lot of lectures. But this was one of my favorite courses due to the fact that I learned a lot from it. I had to work at it but it was very interesting and it was very obvious that the instructor wanted you to take a lot away from the course.
Credit Transfer Issues: