Granada: A Beautiful City with a Wonderful Atmosphere Past Review

By (Spanish Language Teacher Education., Illinois State University) for

CEA: Granada, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I LOVED this program, and this will be something that I will share with people for the rest of my life. I learned to appreciate my own culture along with other people's culture during the process, and this will continue when I return to the United States. I learned a lot more Spanish than I would have taking the equivalent course at my home university, and I am very grateful for this.

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.

Very easy workload, but I feel that I am learning a whole lot of useful information. A lot of the time it is lecture, but a few classes are very conversational and teach you how to properly speak Spanish. Only two tests in the majority of my classes, and some written assignments due in others. I receive quality feedback on my writing, and I enjoy this because it gives me an idea of how much I am improving.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Their office is centrally located and very easy to find since it is right next to the Granada Cathedral, a huge landmark in the city. All the coordinators are very nice and open with the ability to help you with whatever you need their assistance. E-mails are sent weekly keeping us informed on events that are going on in the city as well with important academic information. All the coordinators were born and raised in Spain and they all have ample knowledge of the country and the city. Also, I feel that they all have knowledge of what life is like for Americans, and they try to help us adjust as best as possible. For example, they are providing us with a Thanksgiving dinner because this is a holiday that we are missing while abroad. I enjoy the size of the program, and everyone in it is very nice and open to sharing experiences with you.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

For my university, they require us to stay with a host family. This did not bother me, as I thought that it would be a great and unforgettable experience. The whole time I have been here, my host mother has been very gracious and kind towards our transition into a new culture. The neighborhood I live in is very well lit and I never feel unsafe, even when walking home at night. I only have to walk about 10-15 minutes to class and I feel that this is great because this is taking place of a gym membership for me. I do not participate to often in the nightlife, but the city is very lively at night. Upon arrival, I really did not need to buy anything solely for my living situation. The only things I buy is for my personal hygiene, clothes, and souvenirs. In my home stay, I feel as if I were a family member, and my host mom is very accepting of my roommate and I.

* Food:

I do not have any food allergies, and I absolutely love trying new food. I make sure to tell people when I don't like something, but this has not occurred because everything has been extremely tasteful. However, I do take a multivitamin because I do not receive as much calcium (lack of dairy) and protein (lack of meat) as I am accustomed to in the United States. This is just because they have a different gastronomy than us. I feel healthier, however, because I am forced to eat a lot healthier here. At home, I have burgers and french fries at my fingertips in the dining center, but here you eat what is put in front of you because it's delicious and you have no other choice. In town, there are plenty of tapas restaurants (the tapas are free when you order a beverage) that are outrageously great, and is a fun time to get together with friends and dine.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I enjoy the trips that the program puts on. It is all paid for, except if you want to buy meals for yourself (generally really cheap anyways). We get a chance to see all the unique aspects of the places we visit and this creates tons of memories.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Granada is safer than my home university, and I have never felt threaten in either of these two locations. I was sick for a week while abroad, but I never felt the need to go to the doctor. There are plenty of services available (clinics and pharmacies) that can help you when you are sick. I believe that health care is pretty cheap here since it is a socialized system.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I had a maximum allowance of $160 a week while there, but I usually never get to spending all of it. It allowed me to have flexibility with trips and things that I wanted to buy (along with things that I needed to buy). I would usually spend on average $125 a week, and most of this was trips and clothing that I wanted to buy. It wasn't necessarily expenses that I needed to undergo.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? None that I can think of.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? I have taken two 200-level classes prior to departure including Advanced Spanish Grammar and Introduction to Spanish Linguistics
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I can practice Spanish with many people: my roommate, host mom, professors, other students, and Spanish students through language exchanges. Also, while shopping, basic Spanish is a must, but advanced Spanish can get what you want easier. I most often need to use Spanish while talking to my host mom, but she is very patient and helps my roommate and I when we are unclear on how to say something.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The people
  • The communication between students and advisors
  • The trips
* What could be improved?
  • More reading material
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? For those looking for an urban experience that do not want to be overwhelmed by the density that a large city usually has.