Un Mes a Recordar Past Review

By (Education and Spanish, New Mexico State University) - abroad from 06/26/2014 to 07/26/2014 with

CEA: Barcelona, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned so much while i was over there. I learned how to live in another country for one, but also the customs and culture of the locals. It was so much fun getting to know them (the locals)! I would definitely do this program all over again. The city and the staff of the program were just amazing and they were the one who made my memories of Spain unforgettable.

Review Photos

CEA: Barcelona, Spain Photo CEA: Barcelona, Spain Photo CEA: Barcelona, Spain Photo CEA: Barcelona, Spain Photo CEA: Barcelona, Spain Photo

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 was in the Spanish Intensive Language Program at the University of Barcelona. It was 3 weeks of nonstop Spanish. My teachers at the UB were great. It was a challenge though because they didn't speak enough English to know what we were asking, but it made us use our Spanish even more which made me more proficient in the language (speaking wise). It was very intense work, but I learned so much within those three weeks.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The on-site staff in Barcelona were phenomenal! They were so helpful and always were there to help you no matter what. They gave great information on the city, made fun activities for the program and they also gave great recommendations to do during the program whether it be a place that was a must see or a restaurant near by that was cheap.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The only reason I gave a lower rating on this part is that I had roommates who were constantly going out and doing the nightlife of Barcelona. Most of the students that did the program actually were there just to go party. But the housing itself was fine, and CEA put my roommates and I in a neighborhood that was more local than touristy and I loved that a lot because it meant there was a more local influence than ever. And that was what I wanted.

* Food:

The food here is amazing! I loved the little bakeries that I randomly found, to the restaurants in less touristy places are good (especially Carrer Del Blai. That's the place to go for a tapas crawl!). My suggestion to those who want to go out and experience the food in Spain - don't eat anything from home like McDonald's or Burger King. Go out in a random neighborhood and pick a random restaurant at random. It's a great way to find a good restaurant that way.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I did some local volunteer options with an adult school, and they helped me get more integrated with their culture. But other than that amazing experience, I had enough time after class to go explore all that Barcelona had to offer, and I got to know the city that way.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I never had to use the healthcare that CEA provided for me. But for the health care before going to Spain - it wasn't too bad. All I needed was a small vaccine that wasn't on my records and that was it. It was very easy. Just make sure that you have all vaccines up to date.

* Safety:

I felt very safe in Barcelona. I never once felt that I had to be on the lookout. But that doesn't mean that everyone else in my program had that same experience. I had a great purse that had a flap that made it impossible to get into the contents inside. Just keep that flap facing your body and always have a hand on it, specially on the Ramblas and the metro. Also get used to putting things away right after you use them. A roommate of mine had her debit card stolen from her pocket at a concert, and many students had their phones taken from them. So never leave stuff in areas that can be easily snatched.

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)

If you want to be like me, and go out and eat everyday (I wanted to get as much local food as possible) then it will get a little hard to stay on budget. Most of my money went to food. But if you don't want to do that, then there are plenty of markets, supermarkets and fruit stands in the neighborhoods to help you stay in and eat to keep within budget. If I hadn't gone out everyday, my budget for the week would've been at least $75 a week, if even. But it all depends on what the student wants to do while they're abroad.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? About $115 a week on food and expenses
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Always look for a cheaper price of foods. Barcelona is one of the most expensive cities, but not if you're smart with your money. I never really bought anything while over there, but that's just me.

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

Since my Spanish teachers (I had two of them within a 5 hour period for classes) had little to no knowledge of English, the whole class was forced to use Spanish which really helped in the long run because then you get more out of it.

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? College 2nd semester elementary level
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Go out of your comfort zone and use the language with the locals. Even if you think your making a fool of yourself, they are very nice and helpful over in Barcelona. Just make sure that you use "Perdon," before you speak to them and give them a smile. They'll be more likely to help you if you do that.

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
  • 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 On-Site staff
  • The Apartment localtion
  • The city (duh!)
* What could be improved?
  • The roommate selection
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The thing that I wished I knew before I went overseas is that no one in the program had the same agenda as me. I wanted to do all the touristy and local experience while trying to take in the city as much as I could in one month. While there were some kids over there who had the same thoughts, most of them only went over for the night life and didn't do the school work. Also, most of them were kids who had endless money to spend while I had the max budget of $1500 for my entire trip.

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.