Best choice ever! August 28, 2019

By (Valparaiso University) - abroad from 06/29/2019 to 07/28/2019 with

CISabroad (Center for International Studies): Summer in Madrid

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained language experience and independence. It was totally worth it!

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I loved my classes, professors, and classmates. The classes were hard, but in a good way. However, it can be overwhelming for people who are coming in not knowing any Spanish. The university I was at (Nebrija) was part of my program I wasn't 100% certain about. They were often unorganized or unprepared for off-site events which got to be very frustrating.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The site director for Madrid is AMAZING. Sara is so supportive and always there if you need her!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I did a homestay as my living choice for my program and I definitely lucked out. Carmen is a younger lady with 3 dogs. She was supportive and a great cook!

* Food:

Carmen was a great cook and took the time to make meals for me each day! She would even make mini picnics on the weekends if I had a trip! The food in restaurants was also delicious!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Since I lived with a host mom, I definitely felt more integrated than I feel like I would have had a did an apartment with other students from the US.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I never had to deal with health care while I was abroad, but it was addressed. I feel that if I had needed it I would have been okay. I did not need any additional vaccines or anything to go abroad to Spain.

* Safety:

I felt that Madrid was relatively safe. The only thing regarding safety I would address is pick pocketing. Spain in general is the world hub for pick pocketing so always watch your things and keep your hand on your bag or keep things in your front pockets. The public transportation is safe and runs pretty late into the evening. If you are going to stay out later than the transportation runs, I would recommend taxi over Uber. They are cheaper and safer.

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

I loved my program, I just wish I had friends there with me!

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)

Being a spender, I did NOT do well with expenses :/

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I spent about 100-200 a week on food and shopping.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I would say being saving when start to have the slightest interest in going abroad, not when you get accepted!!! You can always say you'll only spend X amount, but when you get there it's a whole new ball game.

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

In class I could only speak Spanish, outside it was whatever you put in.

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

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
  • 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?
  • My freedom to do what I wanted
  • My classes
* What could be improved?
  • Organization at the University
  • The variety of lengths
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How many other students were in the program with me and what classes I would be taking, but I understand why I couldn't because of the placement test.

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!