My Life Changing Experience in Barcelona Past Review

By (Athletic Training/Trainer., West Chester University of Pennsylvania) - abroad from 05/24/2013 to 06/21/2014 with

Institute for American Universities (IAU): Summer in Barcelona, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
YES! This experience was life changing. You will learn so much not only about a different culture but about yourself too.

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 really loved how flexible the classes were with assigning work and with where class was held. One day we had class in a local park and learned about it while drinking horchata! It was really awesome because I felt I was making the most of my time there.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family was amazing. They treated me like I was truly a part of their family. The meals my host mom made were delicious, and my host siblings always included me in their plans with their friends. I still keep in contact with them.The house I lived in was in the perfect location and was very clean. I had my own room and space to do everything in. I really couldn't have asked for anything better.

* Food:

I am not a huge fan of sea food but I have to say all of the food- including the seafood- was amazing!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Since some people in the program did not know how to speak spanish I sometimes felt frustrated. However, minus that I felt integrated because my host family included me in their plans and my professors did as well. The only time I didn't feel integrated was when English was spoken a lot in class/tours where not everyone spoke Spanish.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I got a minor cold towards the end of the trip and I went to the local pharmacy and got cold medicine on my own. It was really easy because the pharmacist was able to explain what was in the medicine in English

* Safety:

I felt very safe in Spain. The only thing that made me a little nervous was not having a cell phone. When i needed one a friendly local let me use hers! The area is very safe, I just felt less secure without a phone but you can buy one

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)

The program included meals so that was really great. I spend money mainly on travel or on tapas/drinks. I didn't have enough money to travel around Spain as I would like to, but the food wasn't too expensive there which was surprising to me

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 100 Euros
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Save all your money and spend it all in Spain! The experience is worth every penny and you won't regret it. In terms of food some places do specials where you can get coffee and breakfast so look for places that combine options because its cheaper that way


* 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

My host family always spoke to me in Spanish because thats what I wanted. Same with my professors because I was in advanced Spanish classes. But some students didn't speak Spanish well so when we did group activities they had to be in English sometimes, but for the most part everything was Spanish

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
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Spanish 302
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Listen to Spanish music and watch movies/TV in Spanish

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Direct Enrollment

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
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?
  • Pre-planned programs
  • GREAT host family
  • Friendly people
* What could be improved?
  • Arrival communication
  • Getting all students cell phones
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I could've stayed longer!

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!