Spain will always have a place in my heart Past Review

By (Spanish/Education, Illinois State University) for

CEA: Granada, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a knowledge about different culture of the world which I don't think you can put a price on. I learned a lot about myself and what I want out of life from this experience. I have gained friendships I incredibly value and experiences I will never forget. This experience has made me think about teaching English in Spain after college.

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.

Teaching methods were great and I enjoyed each of my classes for different reasons. It was a little hard adjusting to two hour classes because some days I had class for six hours which was a big change but I got used to it. It was also a little difficult adjusting to not having homework or participation points to raise your grade. In most classes your grade was based off the midterm and final which was a little scary. The workload was rather light in comparison to classes at home in the states and also compared to other programs abroad.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

CEA is amazing and the program is run by amazing people who truly care about the students. They plan activities that are interesting and educational while still being fun. They are extremely resourceful and I never hesistated to ask them for help. I lost my passport while abroad and the program made sure I got issued an emergency one and helped me every step of the way.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was very pleased with the housing situation. We had a very apartment, we didn't have to purchase anything extra and I felt extremely comfortable in Carmen's apartment. Our apartment was in a great location, on Pedro Antonio, with plenty of bars and shops. We didn't have to walk that far to get to school and we were located very close to the center. I truly feel part of Carmen's family after being here a semester and I am sad to leave. She is an amazing woman and anyone who has her for a host mom is genuinely lucky.

* Food:

I felt very satisfied with what I was given and how much I was given. I never had a problem with anything I was given and Carmen was very attentive to what we liked to eat and what we didn't. I would say go out for tapas but definitely take advantage of the food at your host house. It is included in the program and it is a great way to get to know your family, you spend a lot of time eating meals, and it saves money. Go out for a glass of wine or a beer after class to get to know other classmates. Going out with a large group is difficult in Spain because the tapas bars are smaller so keep it to groups of 4-6 to avoid hunting for a place for hours.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Going to Sevilla was a really amazing trip, it had the perfect mix of planned activities and free time. It was great to go at the end of November too because the weather was still beautiful. I think all the programs CEA ran were very well run and very fun. Daniel, Inma, Jorge, and Begonia are all amazing and they made the trips so much fun.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I always felt safe in Granada, there were very few times I felt a little uneasy walking by myself but mainly because I am a girl and typically we shouldn't walk alone. The city is very safe and I never felt threatened by anyone or any place. I did not have any experience with the health center and I did not need any vaccinations prior to coming here.

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? Personal expenses, I probably spent about 50-60 euros a week on miscellaneous items I needed, food, or going out with people. In total I spent about 5,000 dollars in personal expenses and traveling.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I would set yourself a strict budget when traveling because when I stuck to my pre-planned budget it was a lot easier not to spend as much on trips. And only pull out what you want to spend that way you have no choice but to stick to your budget. Be careful when traveling to London because they are on a different currency and your airline tickets will be in pounds currency which I did not realize and ended up paying way more for a flight that I had anticipated.

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? I had taken Spanish 244, all of my classes taken prior were at a higher level.
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I definitely improved my handle on the Spanish language while in Spain. Granada is the perfect city to study in because it has a university culture but it is small so when you go into stores/restaurants you need to use Spanish. The only challenge I faced was speaking enough Spanish with other kids in the program. People who came here with little to no Spanish kind of inhibited my full development of the language because they created a negative stigma associated with speaking Spanish amongst the group. But in general I feel like I really have gained a wealth of knowledge about the Spanish language.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • How helpful they were
  • The size of the group
  • How dedicated the CEA Granada office was to aiding the students
* What could be improved?
  • language requirement for the program
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I think someone who wants a good balance of learning and having fun benefits from this program. I would say enjoy every moment and really take time to slow down every once in awhile because it goes by so fast. Definitely don't leave every chance you get because it was nice spending time here in Granada on weekends and not traveling. I loved traveling but definitely get to know the city you're in.