CEA Barcelona "Vale la pena" Past Review

By (Humanistics, McGill University) for

CEA: Barcelona, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My time in Barcelona, firstly, gave me a solid grasp of the Spanish language, which I now use when I travel everywhere. I met many cool people I still keep in touch with. I learned how to travel alone, and the steps to becoming accustomed to a new culture. I picked up all the wonderful aspects of a European lifestyle, something I have integrated into my life at home. Most of all, I fell in love with Spain, and have the confidence I need to go back there again. I've even considered moving there.

Review Photos

CEA Global Education: Barcelona, Spain Photo CEA Global Education: Barcelona, Spain Photo CEA Global Education: Barcelona, Spain Photo CEA Global Education: 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.

The classes CAE offered (I took two, Spanish Language and Spanish History) were very well taught, and I learned a great deal more than I ever have studying these two subjects in North America. By the end of my trip I was almost fluent in Spanish, and feeling extremely comfortable living on my own in Europe.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

My experience with CEA in Barcelona was unforgettable to say the least. It was the first time I had left North America on my own, and though that's a sensitive time, CEA was a very nurturing program that helped tremendously in making me feel comfortable. They met me at the airport, drove me to the hotel where we were all to meet, set me up with roommates, gave us activities to keep us busy, showed us to our apartment, and were a constant source of help at the school for planning trips, getting around, advice and so on.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We had a great little apartment in a really central location, very close to a subway. I felt very safe there.

* Food:

It was very hard to find food for the North American palette in Barcelona. There are very few restaurants that serve international cuisine. Even seafood, in which they specialize, is unlike what we are used to in North America. I had a very hard time finding things I liked in restaurants, however, we had a great kitchen, and Barcelona had great supermarkets, so if you can cook, you'll be fine!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We were a big group of kids, nearly 120, and we all got along well. Since everyone lived in different apartments scattered throughout the city, we were able to get a taste of it all. We went out most nights and had a great time partying in all the must-see spots in Barcelona.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

CEA was good about making you feel safe whether you were in the school, on a weekend trip, or in your apartment. I did not need any vaccines before the trip, and did not get sick while I was there.

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)

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
Language acquisition improvement?

By the end of my trip (one month) I was almost fluent in Spanish, and feeling extremely comfortable living on my own in Europe.

If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? This is an amazing type of trip to take part in if you are new to traveling, traveling alone, or want to meet and make a lot of friends. This trip provided me with 6 credits to take back to my host institution, however all the while I hardly felt that I was in summer school. They give you just the right amount of freedom, and help, to make the time there something really memorable. They arrange trips during the weekends, which you are free to attend or not, which allow you to see outside of Barcelona. You can't ask for much more.