My Semester Abroad in Granada May 22, 2018

By (Liberty University) - abroad from 01/04/2018 to 05/26/2018 with

CEA: Granada, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned more about myself as I struggled with loneliness and homesickness, and while it seemed to be overwhelming at times, I also had so many good moments and made so many great memories with the friends I made here and the places I got to see. Also, my language skills have increased more than I ever thought I could do and that has been very satisfying.

Review Photos

CEA: Granada, Spain Photo CEA: Granada, Spain Photo CEA: Granada, Spain Photo

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.

As an institution, the Center for Modern Languages is great for foreign students who are coming to improve their Spanish. Of course, within that, there are certain professors and classes that are better or worse. I chose to do the month-long intensive and January at the start of the semester, and I was not very content with how the class was taught, but it was more an issue of the professor. Although overall, I still saw progress in myself in that month. Also, the academic rigor is not nearly as intense as what it is in the States. Again, it depends on the class, but I hardly ever had homework in my classes, so it depends more on the motivation of the student to stay up with what is being taught.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The onsite staff is amazing! Dedicated, engaging, kind. They truly put the students first and do everything they can to make the experience the best it can be.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family was wonderful, very kind and welcoming. I had my own room, which was perfect for me. The only two things I would comment on is that at times it feels a little crowded since they are already a family of four adults, so with two more students, it feels a little cramped sometimes, but having my own room did help. Also, it was a little farther from the school buildings than other students' host family houses, but overall still in a central location to reach the most popular parts of the city.

* Food:

CEA's host-family arrangements provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day which is so nice because you don't have to think about preparing meals or going out and buying food. And the quality of the food in my host home was spectacular. I felt like I really got to experience traditional Spanish cooking.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There are lots of opportunities in the city including weekly language exchanges, art classes, and volunteering opportunities provided through CEA, just to name a few. Personally I did become as integrated as I wanted to, but that was mostly because of my own timidness, but there is no shortage of ways to immerse yourself in the culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not have any experience with the health-care system here. In fact, I was quite healthy the whole semester. To my knowledge, there were no major local or national health issues during the time I was here, and I did not have to get any vaccines before I came.

* Safety:

Granada has a reputation for being a safe city, and I did not have any incidents. There is quite a vibrant night life, but I hardly participated in that. But even other students who did, I never heard any bad reports or stories. If you exercise common sense and make sure you keep tabs with friends when you go out, you'll be fine.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

I have no complaints about CEA. Yes, there were a few minor things I wish I could have been better with the classes I took or in my home stay, but they can't really control that. Granada was the perfect size city for me and the ambiance here is really special.

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)

Very easy - Granada is a very affordable student city, and I spent anywhere from 25-50 in euros every week. Much of my spending money went to food, but in theory, I didn't have to spend money on food because all my meals were provided. It was mostly buying snacks, going to cafes with people, or going out for drinks at night.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 40 euros
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Make a budget! That's what CEA advises for students and I did not follow it very well. Budget out a certain amount of money for each week and try to stick to it. Also you have to think about money you're going to spend if you take weekend trips or vacations to other cities/countries. Also, make sure your parents are part of your budget plan to and keep them in the loop so they're not surprised or upset if you do need to ask for money later on.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

I really appreciate that all the program staff is fluent in English, but I love that they let the students talk to them in Spanish to practice.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Spanish 202 at my university, which is intermediate.
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Homestays are a great way to practice the language because the host families are natives, so they only speak Spanish - therefore you're forced to make an effort to speak and understand. But my friends who stayed in the residence hall also were able to practice their Spanish there because the staff is Spanish and there are other Spanish students living there as well. Anywhere you go, speak in Spanish, even if you're not sure. The locals will appreciate it more when you speak in Spanish to them, even if it's not perfect.

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
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • the trips and excursions included in the program
  • the size of the city
* What could be improved?
  • the volunteering program
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew how long 5 months abroad was actually going to feel. Only because I struggled with homesickness toward the middle of the program and during that time, it was hard to focus on having fun here. I wish I had made more concrete goals for myself before coming to help push me through and give me something to strive for.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!