Granada: A Wealth Of Culture Past Review

By (Spanish Education, Illinois State University) for

CEA: Granada, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This experience was definitely worthwhile. I learned a lot about Spanish culture and I'm really excited to go back home and share everything that I learned with all of my friends and family. I also became a lot more independent since I had to do a lot of stuff myself since my parents weren't here to do it for me.

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.

The grading system takes a little adjusting to since it's on a scale of 1-10, but it's not bad. The workload is very light since most teachers just give two tests and maybe some small homework assignments so it's really easy to manage. The teachers are very helpful since they understand that they're teaching in your second language and do a very good job of making sure the class knows what they need to know for exams.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Everybody was very easily accessible and really did what they could to help us out and answer our questions. Our program is pretty big, but it ended up working out pretty well. The only thing that disappointed me was how few places they took us. It would have been nice if they had taken us up to Barcelona and Madrid.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The woman I live with is very open and accomadating and she cooks really well, but she is constantly nagging me and the other girls who live here about really small things that don't really make a difference. Most of the time I've been here, I haven't felt at home because I was afraid of getting yelled at for not doing something exactly the way she liked it. But the place is in a good location for getting to other places and I never felt unsafe while I've lived here.

* Food:

The woman I live with cooks really well and she gives us a lot of variety, but there have been a couple of times when she'd give me something with meat in it, even though she knows I'm a vegetarian. Eating out is always good because it's very unlikely you'll try something that you don't like. There are so many good restaurants here, it's hard to go wrong!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I got to be here for Día de los Reyes, Semana Santa, and Día de la Cruz, which are all exciting to be a part of because the people of Granada really get into their holidays. Our trips to Ronda, Seville, and Cordoba with the program were really fun, too.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Granada is a very safe city, overall. Of course, crime still does happen every once in a while, but it's really easy to prevent yourself from becoming a victim. Try to avoid walking alone at night, even if you're a boy, because some people wanting to steal your money might approach you. Also, try not to carry a lot of money or credit cards on you at night, that way if you do get stopped, you don't lose very much. I never had any health issues while I was here, but my friends who did got a lot of help from our program.

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 my meals were provided for me I didn't have to spend much money on food, but I did go shopping a bit more often than I do at home and going out to bars every weekend can get expensive.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I suggest that you don't buy a lot of drinks when you go out on weekends or go to discotecas every weekend because all of that adds up really fast. Make sure you have plenty of money for travelling because once you get here, it's really easy to go to a lot of different countries in Europe.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
Language acquisition improvement?

I live with a Spanish woman who doesn't speak any English, so talking to her everyday really helped improve my speaking. A lot of the young people here speak English, but overall, most of the people you'll encounter will speak Spanish to you first (in shops, in restaurants, etc.)

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

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • I really liked how I was completely immersed in the language and culture while I was here.
* What could be improved?
  • Sometimes events were a little unorganized and we almost never did anything on time.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I suggest that students who come to Granada have an open mind about what they'll experience. There's a bit of a misconception that Europe is very similar to the US and once students come over here and realize that there are a lot of differences, they go through some pretty intense culture shock. Just push through it and eventually you'll love the way things are done here. The best student for this program would be one that really wants to improve their Spanish and would love swapping cultural differences and languages with the locals.