Good program if you want to become fluent in Spanish Past Review

By (International and Global Studies, Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/28/2016 to 05/29/2016 with

CIEE: Barcelona - Advanced Liberal Arts

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Traveling is the best feeling in the world, and doing it alone can actually be quite fun.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The subject matter itself was not difficult, but the academics were hard because everything was in a foreign language.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Alberto and Andrés are lovely :)

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in an apartment which gave me a lot of independence. It was in a great, convenient location. My main problem was that the girls whom I shared the apartment with were gross. They never cleaned up after themselves, so I had to constantly take out the trash, clean the counters, wipe the floors, and clean the common area just so the apartment could be more livable. I tried to establish rules for cleaning from the beginning, but no one bothered to make the effort so I gave up. If a future participant decides to live in an apartment they will have a great time, just as long as they make sure to establish the cleaning duties from the first day.

* Food:

Spain is a rough country for those who do not eat ham or shellfish.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The intercambio was a great way to meet locals, but I wish that I had made more of an effort to keep in touch after the initial meeting.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I got very sick during the program and the woman in the office in charge of making doctor's appointments was extremely helpful and sweet. She made me an appointment and gave me very clear instructions on how to get to the doctor's office.

* Safety:

Very safe city, but as in all cities you have to constantly be on guard and keep your eyes open. You most likely will not be pick pocketed even though that is the stereotype in Barcelona. My view is that the pickpockets mostly go for people who are very obviously tourists. When you live in Barcelona you will look like a student so you probably won't be targeted.

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

The program was good for my language skills, but I wish I had chosen a program with more international students.


* 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)

This really depends on where and how you spend your money. If you like to go out to restaurants and bars, you will spend more money.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $120, sometimes more, sometimes less depending on the week.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Choose wisely when you want to splurge on a restaurant or a nice bar. Also there are tons of discounts for students so keep a look out for those.


* 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

We only spoke in Spanish for the entire program.

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? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? HISP 105
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? Keep speaking to locals even though they will respond in English many times. But keep pushing and eventually they will switch back because they don't actually know English that well, unless they are students or guides.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
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?
  • Barcelona itself is an incredible city.
* What could be improved?
  • Diversity of students. Half of the participants were from the same school.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Be prepared to spend more money than you think you will spend.