Refreshing February 25, 2016

By (Sociology, University of La Verne) - abroad from 08/26/2015 to 12/23/2015 with

CIEE: Madrid - Liberal Arts

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned to confide in myself, I learned how to talk to and relate with people from all walks of life.

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.

I took both CEH classes geared towards study abroad students and direct courses, I felt that I learned a lot with both and there was rigor among all of them. The professors and directors were great at helping us with any questions, study hours, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I loved the program administrators. From day 1 they made us feel comfortable and as if we had known them much longer than we had. We could go to them for any questions or concerns and they always made sure to check up on us.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was so delighted with my host family experience. It really is a gamble as you never know who you will get paired with. I got lucky enough to stay with a couple that I had so much in common with. The apartment was central in the city, they were great cooks and so awesome. We have become lifelong friends and I cherish them so much.

* Food:

Food is the least of your worries when you're in a city like Madrid. There are so many restaurants and tapas bars. Everyone seems to enjoy cooking and does it well so many of the host families also introduced great food into our bellies. Madrid is a great city because it's not as expensive as other European capitals. More bang for your buck.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It was hard at first because you can't be shy. Especially with Spaniards who tend to be very outgoing it's important that you get out there talk to people, make friends in class, etc. All in all Madrid has amazing people. You can meet people from all walks of life.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I went to farmacia's a lot. When I was really sick I had to find my own way to a hospital and they didn't want to accept my insurance. It seemed as though they didn't want to use the insurance offered through the program either.

* Safety:

I found Madrid to be very safe. I would walk home from clubs at 4 in the morning with friends and we never felt threatened. There was people all over the streets at this time. The police are friendly and very approachable as well.

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

I loved my host family. I enjoyed all of my classes and liked the people who taught them. Madrid is such a special city. Everyone is so warm and welcoming and it is something I didn't feel in any other place that I traveled. It is a beautiful culture and an amazing city at the heart of Spain.

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)

I found it very easy to live on a student budget. If you keep a tight budget and know where to go, where to eat and how to get deals Madrid is not a very expensive city.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? +$100.00
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I would say to limit how often you eat out because the expenses can add up. During the week or when you have class, it's smart to buy groceries for the week so that you can make yourself a lunch and save some extra money.

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

Liberal arts requires students to make a language pledge so that you can immerse yourself in the language and advance your skills.

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? Advanced placement Spanish in high school
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? I would say to not be afraid to make mistakes. Talk with your host family, watch television and sing Spanish songs so that you can get more comfortable.

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

  • Host Family
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 food
  • My host family
  • Madrid's easy access to social life
* What could be improved?
  • The relationship among the people in the program
  • The relationship among Spanish students and Americans
  • The time it takes to recieve grades back at home.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That one semester would be too short.

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 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.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Art History

Course Department: Art
Instructor: Isabel Carrasco
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: This course was challenging but Isabel made it so fun and interesting. More than half of the class time was at museums around Madrid. We went to El Prado, Reina Sofia, and Museo Sorolla. It's great because we don't study out of a textbook we actually get to see the art in real life. It's also great if you are interested in seeing these museums for free during your program. It also helps you divide the rest of the time on your trip into other activities.
Credit Transfer Issues: No. I would suggest you make sure you can take this course and get the credit you need. I had no problems.