Granada, Spain: The Best Four Months of My Life! Past Review

By (Biology, General., University of Wisconsin - LaCrosse) for

CEA: Granada, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I grew up in a small town with a genuine lack of diversity and history. After studying abroad, I am more aware of the world - whether its history, politics, family dynamics, or gastronomics, I feel like a more informed and well-rounded person. I now have a greater confidence in myself - if I can live and thrive in a foreign country for a semester, I can do anything!

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 workload was much easier than I was accustomed to and although the grading scale was more strict, I still easily received high marks. All of my classes were structured as simply lectures with only a midterm and a final exam. Although I am grateful that a light workload allowed me more social and travel time, I wish the classes would've been taught in a slightly more interesting manner.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The accessibility and support services were sufficient. There was a great balance of program-led activities and student freedom. My expectations were met for the most part.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My home stay was located in a very safe, respectable part of town. Although the university was a bit of a hike everyday, it was not difficult. I lived close enough to the city center to enjoy it while living far away enough to not be bothered by it. My host family was great. The parents treated me as a part of the family. I must admit, though, that I felt as though the children treated me with tolerance and nothing more.

* Food:

My host mother was a great cook and was always willing to pack me a lunch for the beach or a long day at school. In the city in general, there was an incredible variety of restaurants, cafes, and bars with both cheaper and more expensive options. My advice for future students would be to check out all the tapas places (especially in and around Plaza Nueva) try schwarma, go to a teahouse in the Albayzín, and go for gelato at Los Italianos!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I was disappointed that my program cancelled the Morocco excursion and replaced it with a weekend trip to Gibraltar and Málaga. I understand that there was political instability in Morocco, but I did not consider 4 hours in Gibraltar as an appropriate replacement. However, our group excursion to Sevilla was wonderful and a lot of fun. The day trips to famous places around Granada were good, although I would've appreciated them more at the beginning of the program as an avenue for meeting students from the early start program.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Granada is a very safe and clean city. I never felt uncomfortable although I would recommend not walking alone at night through any unlit streets - just to be safe. I thankfully did not require any medical care so I cannot comment on that portion.

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

Language acquisition improvement?

The best way to improve language skills is to live with a host family (if applicable). A surprisingly large amount of native Spaniards spoke English very well so it was easy to fall back into my native English. My host family, however, did not speak English and so daily communicating was a challenge, but it was well worth it in the end.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Host Family
* What could be improved?
  • International Excursion
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? A word to the wise: seriously consider enrolling in the "early start program." I was one of the few that did not, and I definitely felt a little ostracized once I finally arrived in Granada as the majority of the other students already knew each other and the city.