Johnny: La Gente Está Muy Loca Past Review

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 08/25/2011 to 12/17/2011 with

CIEE: Madrid - Liberal Arts

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I improved my Spanish, and also gained a tremendous amount of confidence in myself. If I can navigate taking finals, making travel plans, and going to the doctor in a foreign language, I can do anything in English. Yes it was worthwhile.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: Carlos III Getafe
How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The content of the CIEE language classes was extremely boring and the bulk of the work load (which was intensive) was "busy work." The CIEE non language classes were extremely easy and the professors did not expect much from the students. The direct-enroll classes expected even less, but this attitude resulted not from the fact that we were foreign, but was an attitude generally applied to the whole class, Spaniards included.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The onsite administration was very well organized, and I always felt supported, safe, and personally cared for. In fact, it was so good it almost overshot its mark in being a little too oppressive.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Excellent! My favorite part of the experience was my hosts and the close relationship we developed. The majority of hosts were personal friends of the program directors, and this created a very intimate and trustful network among the host families, students, and directors. My apartment was beautiful, private, and comfortable.

* Food:

Cooked meals were delicious. However, these usually came once a day and the other two meals were either cornflakes, or a ham sandwich, without fail. I offered to go shopping for my own food a few times, but was never offered to be reimbursed and so stopped.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The main obstacle to integrating with local culture was the fact that my program insisted on going everywhere together. It would have been easier to go out and meet locals if we had been a group of 2, 3, or 4, but all 20-some participants insisted on going everywhere together and forming a huge American gaggle. They also only ever wanted to go to the most touristy clubs, bars, etc.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Extremely promptly and discreetly. I needed a gynecologist at one point during the trip, and felt comfortable asking for a referral and was promptly given the name of a doctor who treated me to satisfaction.

* Safety:

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


* 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)

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? Yes


* 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

Middlebury would have been a 5. They are one of the few programs I know that takes the language component seriously and subsequently have the best results. They need to be considered for approval.

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? Advanced
How many hours per day did you use the language?

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

  • 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?
  • Relationship developed with hosts
  • Introduction to Europe
  • Comparative look at Spanish democracy
* What could be improved?
  • More intensive language component
  • More interesting, practical classes
  • Less program hand-holding, forced interaction
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That I would have been fine in Barcelona despite that fact that I don't speak Catalan. I would have chosen to go there instead of Madrid.