Study abroad: an honest reflection December 19, 2018

By (Berea College) - abroad from 08/30/2018 to 12/20/2018 with

CEA: Granada, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Deeper understanding of myself, understanding of tidying abroad as a business, improved Spanish skills

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 academic workload was much more relaxed than what I’m used to, which I enjoyed.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I never had any problem, but the staff were very helpful and friendly

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

At times it was lonely because I lived just with my host mom. And sometimes it was uncomfortable because of her political views.

* Food:

Eating times and portions, as well as cuisine, were very different than what I am accustomed to. But overall, food was okay

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I didn’t have many opportunities to meet spanish people because of how the academics worked, so my only friends were other study abroad students.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

N/A, I didn’t have any heath issues while here.

* Safety:

I had no issues whatsoever, Granada is very safe. I would recommend carrrying a crossbody bag or thin wallet, but otherwise precautions aren’t necessary.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

I would choose a program in a country that is less popular for study abroad, because many students come to have fun and be on vacation rather than to learn the language. I would also choose a program with more excursions, classes with locals, and some kind of language requirement

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)

Cost of living is very inexpensive so I had no problem being on a budget

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? On average, about $20
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Take advantage of pre-arranged trips either through your university or a company. Walk to class if possible, limit travel, book transportation in advance if traveling.

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

The majority of the students in my program were of a lower level of Spanish, so the majority of the interactions between the program and the students was conducted in English.

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 300 level spanish literature
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? Take classes in Spanish, become friends with spanish people, participate in language exchanges, volunteer at a spanish organization

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • 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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Small size
  • Good staff
* What could be improved?
  • Fellow students-language requirements, more diversity, etc.
  • Number of excursions
  • Academic structure-taking classes with Spanish students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I definitely had certain expectations and preconceived notions before coming here, which to a certain extent are unavoidable with new experiences. However I now have a very realistic view of studying abroad, with an ability to see both the positives and negatives.

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!