Highly recommend. January 13, 2020

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 09/01/2019 to 12/15/2020 with

CIEE: Barcelona - Advanced Liberal Arts

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
So worthwhile. I learned a different kind of independence. I learned resilience. I was able to see what life was like at another university in another country, which allowed me to both appreciate and constructively criticize my home university.

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.

So many resources and so much support from CIEE. Very academically different (sometimes not as challenging), but that was a welcome change that allowed me to explore and learn beyond the classroom.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The CIEE team was responsive and supportive. I sometimes felt like they knew what was best for me so much that I didn't have a chance to properly weigh my options. The reason that didn't end up being a detriment to my experience was that they were right about basically every decision that I didn't get to make, but I still wish I'd gotten the chance to weigh my options myself in a lot of cases.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved my homestay. I felt welcome and supported. They didn't feel like family honestly, but that's not what I needed. My host mom and I would chat for ages and I feel like it definitely helped me socially and with my Spanish too.

* Food:

The food my host mom cooked was out-of-this-world incredible. I know not everyone had the same experience, and it's largely based on luck. Food outside my homestay was also pretty expensive, which was tough.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I learned a lot about the culture and felt comfortable in the area, but most of the friend I have kept post-program have been my American friends. I wish I had made more local friends.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I felt well supported, and it was easy to ask for help when I had a medical situation that needed addressing. The only complicated part was making an insurance claim.

* Safety:

I was always watching my back in the city, and I sometimes got nervous making the walk from the metro station to my homestay late at night. I got robbed once (not physically hurt--I just wasn't paying enough attention).

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

Great program and so well organized. Dedicated to student learning and cultural integration.

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)

It took serious budgeting to not feel financially unstable.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Buy ready made lunches from supermarkets. Eat big breakfasts. Have a water bottle and fill it before you leave home in the mornings (in Barcelona water isn't free at most restaurants).

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

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? 200-level Spanish
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? Find Spanish YouTubers. Stay in a homestay and actually talk to your host family. Be that annoying friend who replies in Spanish even when your American friends are speaking English. Agree with your friend group on at least one day a week where you'll all actually put a concerted effort into speaking exclusively Spanish.

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?
  • The people
  • The traveling
  • The responsiveness of the program coordinators
* What could be improved?
  • The amount of English I personally spoke
  • The communication with University of Barcelona
  • The discussion of syllabi at the beginning and throughout the semester.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The water in Barcelona restaurants isn't free. Get a water bottle.

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!