Segovia: Immerse Yourself in Spain! Past Review

By (International Studies and Spanish, University of Alaska - Anchorage) for

GEO: Segovia - Study Abroad Programs in Segovia

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The biggest thing that I gained from my study abroad experience was the confidence to express myself in Spanish. Before the trip, I was afraid to talk, afraid to make mistakes. I was forced to do just that in Spain, and now I feel that I can converse, even if I do mess up some times. It also gave me the chance to live abroad (I have only ever lived in the same town), which broadened my view of what I might do with my life in the future.

Review Photos

AHA International: Segovia - Spanish Language & Culture Photo

Personal Information

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 Segovia program provides a lot of opportunity to experience Spanish culture and to work on your Spanish language skills, but it is somewhat necessary to be self-directed. All the classes are taught in Spanish by instructors native to Spain, which was a wonderful experience. Outside the classroom, they are more than happy to help you figure out travel plans or answer cultural questions. The workload is manageable if you keep up and don't let yourself get behind. The one tricky thing about this program is that it is really easy to just fall back into speaking English with your classmates outside of class. If you are serious about immersing yourself in Spanish, I would recommend finding intercambios (community members who want to practice English and will help you with your Spanish in return), and making friends with any host-siblings that you might have. There are also internship and volunteer teaching opportunities that you can take advantage of.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The size of our group was pretty small, only about 11 students. It was really easy to get help; the site director for the program is really accessible and is willing to help you with anything you may have problems with.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Each student was assigned a host family with which to live. We were provided with sheets and towels and the like. My host family was wonderful and treated me like another member of the family. Most of my host family didn't speak much English, so it was wonderful practice to go home every day and participate in meals and other interactions completely in Spanish.

* Food:

The food is wonderful in Spain, though it can take some getting used to. I would recommend researching typical Spanish food so that you have an idea of what to expect. The eating schedule is different than in the U.S. so it can take some getting used to (your biggest meal is lunch, and meals are served at different times than you are probably used to). If you are a vegetarian you might have some trouble; vegetarianism isn't very common in Spain, so your host family will probably have to go out of their way to accommodate you. If you are vegan, you will not have very much protein to eat, since Spaniards eat a lot of eggs. If at all possible, I would recommend suspending your vegetarianism/veganism for this trip so that you get to experience the food aspect of Spanish culture to the fullest (that is what I did). As for dining out, bocadillos are really cheap and good for eating on the go. Also, check out the bakeries, which have lots of wonderful treats.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The trip includes several excursions. The excursion to Andalucia was by far my favorite; it was several days long and included lots of historical site visits, as well as lots of free time to explore Sevilla and Cordoba (each semester alternates between visiting Sevilla, Cordoba, and Granada).

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Segovia is really safe; I didn't have any problems, even walking home late at night. I didn't have any need to access the health care, but others in my program did, and it was really easy. The program director will take you to the doctor, and help to translate anything so that you don't have to worry about mistranslating something when you are feeling sick.

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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
Language acquisition improvement?

I practiced speaking with my host-parents, my intercambios, and working in the tourist office of Segovia. Most people don't speak in English in Segovia, so you will definitely need your Spanish in daily interactions. However, people are really friendly and will help you out if you are struggling with your Spanish. To really immerse yourself in the language, you might have to go above and beyond so that you aren't tempted to revert to English with your classmates.

If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

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  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I would recommend that any student wishing to participate in this program think about what their ultimate goal is. If they want to focus on language acquisition, they should go into the program with that in mind and should keep an eye out for opportunities. There are lots of opportunities to travel within Europe, which is great, but can also take away from your language practice.