A World-Class Program and Opportunity July 09, 2016

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/13/2016 to 06/01/2016 with

CIEE: Madrid - Liberal Arts

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was definitely worthwhile, and I learned an incredible amount.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

An amazing opportunity to drastically increase your Spanish language skills and learn Spanish culture.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Provided satisfactory support when needed, but lacked excellence.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I enjoyed the fact that I was living with a host parent and had the opportunity to practice my Spanish with them. Unfortunately though, I was assigned a host whom did not strive to make me feel welcome.

* Food:

The gastronomy of Spain is some of the best in the world. You will have ample opportunity to explore local cuisine and learn about many local dishes.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Living within the actual city of Madrid was a major plus, and truly allows you to fully commit yourself to the Spanish culture. The program gives you a lot of support in this respect.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

It is likely you will catch a cold while abroad. There are pharmacies there just like there are back home. You are also given insurance in the case of anything more serious.

* Safety:

I was a little paranoid at the beginning, but like any city, you discover neighborhoods that are safer than others. If you are constantly aware of your surroundings, you will be very safe in Madrid.

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

There simply is not a better program.

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)

Madrid is much cheaper than the U.S in nearly every regard. Your host gives you breakfast and dinner, so your main expenses are lunch (which you get on campus) and fun on the weekends/travel.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? It varied, but maybe 80 euros
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Book travel plans as early as you can, and don't be compulsive.

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

Spoke very little English abroad.

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? HISP 105
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? Practice speaking as much as possible. You'll thank me later.

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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Commit to language
  • Freedom to explore
* What could be improved?
  • Administration
  • Housing Compatibility
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? If you're sitting in bed watching Netflix in Madrid, you aren't doing it right.