Segovian Semester de mis sueños (of my dreams) February 07, 2020

By (Bethel University) - abroad from 09/01/2017 to 12/15/2017 with

Centro de Estudios Hispánicos de Segovia (CEHS): Semester Programs

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained confidence in myself, and the immense value of communicating with others, especially in their language. I was able to connect with people on the other side of the world, celebrate our similarities, learn from our differences, and create lasting memories. I was pushed to leave behind any semblance of a comfort zone and journey into establishing who I am, what I believe, and how to live into my purpose every day, regardless of cultural context.

Review Photos

Centro de Estudios Hispánicos de Segovia (CEHS): Semester Programs Photo Centro de Estudios Hispánicos de Segovia (CEHS): Semester Programs Photo Centro de Estudios Hispánicos de Segovia (CEHS): Semester Programs 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.

Taught thought-provoking and meaningful content by native Spaniard collegiate professors. Perhaps the most impactful part of our classes was that the material was tailored to us; even though the professors have taught their content for a long time, they adapted to what our program group was interested in, what our specific language and cultural needs and interests were, and they challenged us uniquely.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Upon arrival, we were greeted and began orientation of the city and important places, such as host families, school, pharmacies, banks, and we walked through how to get settled in. It was helpful having Segovians walk us around and introduce us to Segovia, because it is their home. They thought of questions we probably would have, and showed us how to get them answered. There was time built into our schedule those first couple of weeks for accomplishing practical, daily life tasks, as well as for exploring and simply being in awe of our new home.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

This was perhaps my favorite aspect of my time abroad; being completely immersed and welcomed into a Spanish family was an unrivaled experience. My family welcomed me as their own, stretched me to grow and see new perspective and new culture. Of course, everyone's experiences are different, but I learned that you often times get out what you put in, meaning that investing time and energy into building relationships with my host family turned out to be so rich and valuable, and easily the most impactful part of my time in Spain.

* Food:

Food in Spain is FRESH - the meals are riquísimo (very, very rich and delicious!). I was blown away by the fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and bread we had consistently. I was a mildly picky-eater prior to Spain, but wanted to challenge myself to at least try every new food (which was a lot!), and I was very pleasantly surprised with what I found! There is a wide variety throughout Spain, although Segovian specialties are quite easy to find (and love!).

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It is always difficult entering into a new culture and immersing yourself, but two factors made that process easier and effective: living with host families and having an internship. I was able to build connections with my family, who would invite me to cultural events/family celebrations or meals as if I was truly part of the family. I also participated in an internship at a local bilingual school, where I consistently saw the same students and worked with the same teacher during my time in Segovia. It made me feel at home when I saw my students walking around town, and they were excited to see me and share their life and culture with me.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I personally did not have any health issues during my time abroad, aside from a common cold that lasted for about a week. During that time, my host mom went above and beyond to make sure I was taken care of, had any and all medicine I could want or need, and unrelentingly provided me with lemon and honey tea to help soothe my throat. I assisted other students, when similar colds/illnesses were caught, and the pharmacy and local supermarkets had many of the same/similar products that we have in the U.S., so I did not have any trouble finding what I needed or asking Ricardo for help, if need be.

* Safety:

Again, I was pleasantly surprised by Segovia's safety. I would often see little kids playing in the main plaza at nearly midnight, when I was returning home. There are many lit streets, and CEHS does a great job during our orientation of preparing us for safety-related situations in regards to Segovia. We learned where important places are to go for help, and we had the U.S. Embassy come and speak with us about our rights as American students studying abroad, what they do to help us, and gave us helpful information from and other tip-lines specifically for Spain or other places we chose to travel to.

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

I was thoroughly supported and challenged during my time in Segovia, thanks to CEHS. I felt part of the culture, and left a big piece of my heart in Spain!


* 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)

Our program cost covers all meals (with the host family), transportation, cultural and social activities, and lodging on trips, meaning that the only money I spent was what I chose to spend on coffees with amigos (which, unfortunately, did add up!) and gifts for family/friends back home.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Make a budget before-hand and stick to it. Find balance in what works for you - knowing that you are abroad, and some things you truly like may not be available back home, but at the same time, your bank account goes back home with you. I worked very hard in the year and a half before going abroad in order to have some more spending money in Spain. Likewise, invest in the people you are with; don't be too stingy to say no to community-building times spent in cafés or going to see a movie in Spanish together.


* 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

Full immersion! It was wonderful and is hands-down the best way to learn. You get out of it what you put in, but if you stick to Spanish and do your best, you will without a doubt see much improvement.

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 305 and Spanish 301
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Make mistakes! That is how you learn! Your professors, host family, and other students are resources to help you get better - use them! Also, film or record yourself at the beginning of your trip. You may feel like your Spanish is coming very naturally, or perhaps not at all, but regardless, it will be fun to listen to at the end of the semester to hear your improvement.

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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Host Family
  • Trips/Viajes
  • Internship
* What could be improved?
  • Re-Entry Preparation/Coaching
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Give yourself grace! In the preparing for leaving, your time abroad, and your return, be gracious to yourself and others. Allow yourself to enjoy fully where you are, being present in the present moment, and cherish it fully. Take a picture of a landmark (tree, building on your street, etc.) every day or once a week to see the changing seasons over time - I wish I would have done that sooner to look back and see the beauty of everyday life.

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!