When can I go back? Past Review

By (Operations Management, University of Saint Thomas - Minnesota) - abroad from 01/07/2014 to 04/26/2014 with

CEA: Barcelona, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
CEA Barcelona is amazing, Barcelona city is amazing, Spain is amazing, sangria is amazing, if you are even thinking about going to Barcelona DO IT! This is where most people wished they had gone when they visit!

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.

Incredible professors. All of them were unique compared to normal US professors, I had one that worked with the Royal Family, one who worked with the heads of Nike and Cartier, and locals who taught us everything we really needed to know about Spanish and Catalan. The classes are interesting and challenging, but aren't so rigorous that it takes aways from being in Barcelona.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Very helpful. They are willing and happy to help you plan day trips, find banks, good restaurants around the area, etc. They were always very helpful and responsive if approached on email if you were really in a bind.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was very satisfied. Our apartment was huge and in an amazing location. They are very good at pairing roommates, I had 4. I was very happy after being nervous at seeing what friends had in other programs.

* Food:

AMAZING. Literally just live off Spanish tapas and paella. It is probably one of the things I miss the most from Spain. Everything is fresh, the seafood is straight from the Mediterranean, there are farmers markets everywhere, definitely no shortage in variety.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

CEA worked hard to make sure we weren't completely in our own bubble. They hosted events at local restaurants and tours. For my Spanish class, we had a 'speed' language exchange with locals that were going to school for English. It was really fun talking about what we thought were Spanish stereotypes and how they thought we were crazy doing things like eating lunch at 12 in the US, or putting ketchup on food. We also did an exchange in another one of my classes with local grad students where we met one night at a bar, but then afterwards exchanged emails where we worked on resumes, etc together from different perspectives.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had an ear infection and the flu (as most people did the first couple weeks) and CEA emailed me a time and location to meet with their local physician. It took them maybe 1 day to set up. He spoke fluent english and worked with many American students (he found us all very entertaining). The prescription he gave me took 10 minutes to fill and turned out to be very cheap.

* Safety:

Barcelona can be dangerous, but as long as you keep that in mind and stay out of dark alleys, it is safe. I personally never had any problems. Pickpocketing is the main thing, mostly on the metro and at clubs and bars, but as long as you have one hand on your purse they won't try.

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)

Barcelona can be expensive, it just depends where you are and how you spend your money. It can be easily affordable.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Around 30euro during the weekdays, more when traveling or on the weekends.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Book trips in advance. Like in the US, there are cheap & expensive grocery stores, or cheap & expensive restaurants/bars/clubs. Just explore to find whatever works for you.

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

In my Spanish class we never 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? 300-level
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? Learn the basics of Catalan! There is by far way more Catalan than Spanish used in Barcelona, and it is NOTHING like Spanish.

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?
  • My classmates and professors
  • Excursions
  • Classes
* What could be improved?
  • Longer!
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Spain is slightly cold in the winter. Also I wish I would have gone the full year instead of a semester. CEA is also an amazing resource to help in the pre-departure phase.

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.