Granada: The untold tales of the 1001 Nights! Past Review

By (International Studies, Indiana University of Pennsylvania) for

CEA: Granada, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The entire experience was so much more than I could have ever expected or asked for. I've always been culturally sensitive, but it wasn't until this experience that I realized how important mutual respect is among cultures and that even culture itself is a dubious term because there is so much exchange among different countries and sub-cultures being dominated by sometimes inhuman means. From this experience, I've grown particularly fond of the Gitanos, so much so that I would love to live among and study them. Career wise, I am set that I want to be someone of meaning and have a hand in a student culture exchange program or an NGO that specializes in immigration/human-rights issues.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: Universidad de Granada
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 educational system in Spain, I would say is much more relaxed than an American University, but that does not make it any less efficient. The grading system was actually a very strict 1-10 scale system and a vast majority of that came from two exams. With that said, the work load was very light up until said exams. As for the methods of teaching, it really depended on the professor, just like in an American institution the professors really do make or break the class.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Our Granada program directors were very productive and when it came to going on tours they were professional and made sure that they were attentive to the students. Though, sometimes if there was a tour going on that someone was not able to attend, if that person wanted to contact the office on the day of of the tour, it could prove difficult. When it came to being information savvy, they were very knowledgeable and expressed that through stories about the history of the country.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My dorm was situated about one city block from the center of the city, so finding a place to buy amenities was not an issue and it was a relatively safe location, even at night. The only thing that I had to constantly buy was soap because there was not any in the community bathroom, but other than that, everything seemed to be provided for us by the faculty in charge of watching over us. These people were almost like a host family, in that they cooked for us, cleaned our rooms daily, and did our laundry once a week. In return the only thing that was asked of us was to respect them and our neighbors... As for the aesthetics of the city, I would need an entirely different section to describe just how overwhelming to the senses they were.

* Food:

Being a vegetarian, I had to be careful because in some countries, fish is not considered a meat. But other than that, the food was very good and the cooks were very accommodating to anybody with a dietary restriction.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

My most memorable experiences were both planed and not planed by my program, being in Granada, I had the amazing privilege to be about a twenty minute walk from an ancient Muslim palace called the Alhambra. As well as an exposure to the sort of sub-cultures existing in Spain, such as the Gitanos and the remaining Muslims within the city. One cannot help but be almost mystified by a sense of wonder when interacting with the people, but it is also wise to tread carefully and avoid the topic of politics when talking to the people who have been pushed aside by the dominant culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Even though I had health care available, I did not experience any need for it. But I do know of a few people who have needed to go the hospital. As for myself, I do not feel qualified to answer this question. That's not to say that I didn't experience any illness or bumps and bruises... just watch your knees when walking the streets of Granada because the sidewalk boundaries really hurt when you walk into them.

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
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? none
Language acquisition improvement?

In the city that I stayed in, most of the people did not use English, so it was a challange because I have not had any significant Spanish experience previously. I, however, recieved a lot of help from my friends, and my professors with my language skills.

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

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Everything
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Any type of student will benefit from this program, but anyone with a need of inspiration and meaning through the past will find Granada truly beneficial.