Best Decision I've Ever Made Past Review

By (Business Administration, High Point University) - abroad from 09/03/2014 to 12/19/2014 with

CEA: Barcelona, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned how to be more independent and about all the other cultures I visited. It was the most worthwhile experience of my life.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I got all 5 of the business classes I wanted to take through CEA. Although the classes were a little more challenging than I anticipated, I learned a lot through them and they transferred back to my home university, which I did not study abroad through.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff of CEA was beyond helpful. They had day and weekend trips for everyone to sign up for, which you got your money back at the end of the semester for. They were helpful with getting me doctor and dentist appointments as well.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I had the most beautiful apartment I could've ever imagined in Barcelona. Everyone I knew through CEA loved the apartments they were assigned. Mine was on the longest street in Barcelona and I had a view of the Sagrada Familia from my two balconies. It was a 15 minute walk from class and 20 minute walk from the beach. I wish I could live in that apartment for the rest of my life.

* Food:

Food in Barcelona is amazing. I didn't have a meal plan through CEA since I lived in an apartment but you can find good food on any street in the city.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I took a class that allowed me to interact with a local in Barcelona. I loved meeting up with her and learning about the differences and similarities between Catalan and American Culture. I didn't feel like an outcast that much in Barcelona but still had the feeling that I was somewhere else, which was rewarding to get out of my comfort zone.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had to go to the dentist twice and the doctors once while I was abroad. CEA recommendation and made my appointments for me on such short notice. They were extremely helpful getting me the help I needed with someone that spoke English.

* Safety:

I never witnessed any violence while I was abroad in Barcelona, but pick pocketing is crazy there. Always have your valuables in front of you, especially in the clubs and on the metro. Try to avoid bringing anything you don't need out with you to give yourself less of a risk.

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)

I took out about 300 euros every two weeks while I was abroad except for the weekends I would travel. I still haven't ran out of money I made for the summer so if you are smart about how much you are spending you don't need an overwhelming amount of money. I would recommend having $5,000 in your bank account before going, and that's including traveling to other places.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 100-300 euros
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Only take out so much money at a time and plan trips through travel agencies such as Bus2Alps. I only went abroad with $7000 and left with still a couple grand and traveled to 9 other countries. So just be smart on how much you spend on one trip and how much you spend on one night out.

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

They really encouraged us to try to speak Spanish or Catalan to the locals to learn it better or take a spanish class through the program.

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? Level 2000 spanish class
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? Try to use it as much as possible, even if you're living with Americans.

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 apartment
  • The other students
  • The location
* What could be improved?
  • Amount of busy work
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew about the free weekend and day trips I could've taken advantage of that all the other students in my program did.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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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.