Granada: The most difficult but rewarding four months of my life. 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 have learned a lot while studying abroad. My language skills have definitely improved and I have grown as a person. I have become more confident in my abilities and less afraid of what people think of me. I also know now that I do not want to come back to live in Europe. I really loved being here for a semester but I know that I want to be in the States and teach there.

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.

There was not very much work outside the classroom, virtually none in fact. Most of the work was done during class time. I would have preferred to have more to keep me busy during the week. The grading system was very different from that of my university and at first I was worried about figuring it out but in the end that wasn't an issue at all. I understood what I needed to do in order to receive good grades. I definitely prefer the American system of education to the Spanish. The Spanish do not take school as seriously. I did not feel any motivation to do well or to study. I think that because of this I did not enjoy my studies as much this semester. I did learn a lot while in Spain but most of it was outside of the classroom setting.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

My program was not very helpful at all before I left for Spain but once I got there they were extremely helpful and involved.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I enjoyed living with a host family. They were very nice to me and providing absolutely everything I needed. I also learned a lot more Spanish living with them then I would have living somewhere else.

* Food:

There was always enough food, I just did not particularly enjoy Spanish food.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

My program arranged several trips within Spain that they took us on. They were well organized and we saw a lot of cool things.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Granada was a safe city overall. As long as you walk in groups at night, it's not an issue to be out.

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? Since I was in a host family, I generally didn't spend money on food. I spent about 30 dollars per week on going out with friends or buying toiletries or other things I would need.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Definitely make a budget and keep track of how much you spend. If you don't it will be very easy to overspend.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Last semester I took LAN 215.15 at ISU, Spanish Linguistics.
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I practiced the language in my host family, with my friends, and with other Spanish people that I met while here. I spoke in Spanish every day because I lived with a host family who spoke absolutely no English. There were some people here and there who spoke English but for the most part I spoke in Spanish.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The directors were very helpful and friendly.
* What could be improved?
  • Before I came abroad, I did not get any help on what to do to prepare.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Be prepared to be flexible and be open to new ideas and cultures. A student who really wants to learn and be immersed in a different culture would be great for this programs.