An unforgettable semester, I learned things that I have never imagined I would April 27, 2022

By (Political Science - International Relations, Wellesley College) - abroad from 09/06/2021 to 12/22/2021 with

CIEE: Barcelona - Advanced Liberal Arts

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This semester abroad was incredibly valuable to the development of my independence, to find out more about where I belong in the world and what I want to do with my career, to broaden my horizons and perspectives about life and culture, and to experimentally learn about topics I am so interested in. Every student should have the opportunity to do this at least once in their lives.

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.

My education experience varied a lot between the CIEE-based classes and the classes I took at the Universitat de Barcelona. At CIEE, the grading system was extremely fair and the workload was less than what is expected in the United States, giving you a great opportunity to actually go out and see the city, or travel around the region. At the University, it was harder to adjust to the rigorousness especially in a new language, and the activities were not made for international students that were abroad.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

CIEE was always incredibly helpful and available, ever since before I actually traveled to Barcelona, especially with visa issues.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was living in a student residency, where I had access to all kitchen supplies and new sheets. The dorm rooms were very nice and I had a lot of independence because of my living arrangements, but they had a strict guest policy (maybe due to COVID).

* Food:

The food in Barcelona is great, but expensive. I had to cook for myself since I wasn't living with a host family, so that was also a bit difficult.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Barcelona is known for having really good nightlife in Europe, which can even become distracting at some point in the semester. The city also has a lot of festivals and celebrations during the fall semester. CIEE schedules a lot of cultural trips on weekends, and I recommend going on all of them. I wish CIEE had offered more activities to integrate international students to locals, though.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Difficult to understand what I had to do in order to get a refund and some of the tests I had to do weren't covered by the health insurance at all.

* Safety:

Watch your wallet and cell phone. Many students in my program were pick-pocketed at some point, but not necessarily in the host city (me included). If you always keep an eye on your things and surroundings, you're going to be fine.

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? I spent all of my money just on transportation, traveling, and food. If you're on a budget, it's best to stay with a host family.


* 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? Advanced
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? 300-level
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? Definitely take all of your classes in Spanish!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* 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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • CIEE-based classes and their professors
  • Living in Barcelona
  • Traveling around
* What could be improved?
  • Price
  • Communication with host universities
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I don't really think there's anything I should've known before going there.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.