Incredible 4 Months in One of the Best Places On Earth! Past Review

By (Human Services, General., Western Washington University) for

CEA: Granada, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
YES! Traveling is such a wonderful way to learn about yourself. It forces you to take an introspective look on your life. I appreciated so much more about my life in the U.S and gained a deeper understanding of the world. It is such an important experience to live outside of your personal comfort zone and to experience a new culture.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I found that the workload, grading system, and overall vibes of the classes were much more relaxed in Spain than in the U.S. I did have some homework and projects, but nothing compared to my classes in the U.S. I was much less stressed in regards to my studies. However, even though classes weren't as rigorous I still felt I learned a lot about grammar, the culture of Spain, and significantly improved my ability to speak Spanish.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I absolutely LOVED the onsite staff in Granada. They were so kind, authentic, and very available to help at all times. They were all from Spain and had a bounty of knowledge about their culture and country. It was wonderful talking to them. Our program had a relatively big number of people in it. Around 40. I think I would have preferred a smaller group, but I am happy that is wasn’t as big as other groups that had about 90 people! My expectations were met with the quality of the program. Sometimes our excursions were a little unorganized, but I enjoyed every second I spent on them.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was not pleased with my host mom. My biggest advice to anyone that stays in a host family is if they aren't happy then leave. I had the opportunity to switch if I wanted to, but I was convinced things would get better and I wanted to stick it out. Unfortunately things did not improve and it was very disappointing. My biggest disappointment was that I didn’t get to practice my Spanish much with her because she clearly didn’t want to talk with me. I felt really unwelcome which is unfortunate because I lived there for 4 months and paid the same amount as anyone else in my program and had a much lesser experience.

* Food:

Mehhh I didn't have that attentive of a host mom. I was served mostly frozen food; frozen pizza, french fries, iceberg lettuce. I would recommend eating tapas as much as possible and being open to new foods.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Got to explore much of Southern Spanin; Sevilla, Cordoba, and Malaga! Went to a bullfight, flamenco show, and so much more. Great excursions.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I felt really safe walking around in Granada at any time of the day. There are more people on the street at 3 am then there are at 3 pm!

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?

To improve language skills I would recommend the obvious, try to speak as little English as possible. I was studying in Granada which it is fairly easy to get by with only English, but much more frowned upon. It isn't as touristy as Madrid or Barcelona so not speaking Spanish can get you some rude service or dirty looks. If you are studying with other Americans then it is really easy to only speak English if you don’t make an effort. I would recommend trying to to only speak the language of the country and to make lots of local friends! I think my program did a great job at providing opportunities to practice Spanish with Spaniards by arranging intercambio language exchanges.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
  • Host Family
  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Program Staff
  • GRANADA
* What could be improved?
  • Screening out poor host families
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? If you are there to learn the language try to speak as little English as possible, immerse yourself in the culture, make friends who are locals, keep an open mind, and try as many new things as possible!