Barcelona, best decision I ever made. Past Review

By (International Economic Relations & Spanish, Wellesley College) for

CIEE: Barcelona - Advanced Liberal Arts

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My main goal was to learn the language and become fluent in it. Having achieved this, I am content with my study abroad experience, despite the obstacles I faced. Also, traveling to other parts of Europe was incredible, and I will never forget it.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Out of the four courses I took at the University of Barcelona, I honestly only enjoyed one of the classes. I felt that I had truly learned and retained information from the class. That is not to say the other classes were useless. It was just hard to take them seriously; however, the fact that they were in a completely different language made them a valuable experience in general.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Each time I had a question, the director at my study abroad office was very quick to respond and was helpful in answering any doubts I had. Also, Jensine Fraser from the CIEE Office was so amazing. She gave me realistic advice about my future academic experiences in Barcelona.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The neighborhood of my host family was perfect. However, the host mother I had was difficult to live with and I had to move out near the end of my program. I felt as if she was doing it just for the money. Nevertheless, in the beginning, I felt my Spanish improve as I conversed with her.

* Food:

It consisted of basically vegetable oil, bread, cheese, and pasta. It was hard to get used to, having eaten vegetables and rice for the most part before coming here.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I loved being able to travel all around Europe at an affordable cost. It was the best part of my study abroad experience.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

It is still dangerous at night. There are many pickpocketers, and it is easy to fall into a more dangerous neighborhood. You should always travel in groups, and girls should be walked to their residence.

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


* 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)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? The cost of living in general was so much higher than in the United States. However, the grocery store is relatively cheap and you can cook your own food at a very inexpensive cost. The clothes and accessories are expensive, as well. They may probably be the most costly things.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Spanish 273, Latin American Civilization
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

Friends from my university classes, my host family, and the people I came into contact each day as I went to grocery stores or restaurants. Hardly anyone I met spoke English, which was perfect for me.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • speaking Spanish constantly
* What could be improved?
  • format of the courses