IES adapted to my needs and offered me an experience that was absolutely one of a kind Past Review

By (Business/Economics, University of California - Berkeley) for

IES Abroad: Barcelona - Study Abroad with IES Abroad

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I became bilingual. I traveled to and became immersed in multiple cultures different from my own. I was blessed to work with people from all backgrounds and come together in new and exciting ways.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: Universitat Pompeu Fabra, ESCI
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.

I took all of my classes at Spanish universities. The workload tends to be end-heavy; homework is uncommon, and the final exam tends to hold huge weight for your final grade in the class. Group work was eye opening in that it greatly improved my Spanish language skills and forced me to collaborate with students from around the world.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I did not feel challenged by the Spanish-taught business classes provided at the IES office. I went to Cesar, the head honcho, and asked if I could be enrolled directly into UPF and ESCI's business classes. To get the units I needed, I would have to extend my trip by 2 months, through the end of June. UPF would only accept UCB students if they were enrolled through a program such as IES. My enrollment with IES was slated to end at the normal time, in April, but IES made an exception for me. For a highly discounted rate, they allowed me to remain enrolled through the end of June. I found my own apartment, and I was able to enroll in 16 units at UPF/ESCI for their second quarter at no additional charge. I cannot thank IES enough for providing me with such an opportunity.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

If you don't eat pork or fish, you better start now! The cuisine is amazing all throughout the city! I was lucky in that my homestay "mom" was a great cook. Other students weren't as lucky, but I don't know how one can screen for this.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

IES offers pretty interesting field trips, though they can be a bit pricey at times. Barcelona is packed with things to do from museums to concerts to clubs. If you want to meet non-American internationals and go to amazing places, try signing up for ESP's events on facebook. Send me a message if you want any pictures.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I felt very safe. I heard a few stories of theft, but no one came to any real harm or danger.

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

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)

Language

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

I was in IES's "advanced" Spanish class. My teacher was very encouraging, but there was a lot of English spoken among my classmates with little or no repercussion. I was highly internally motivated to learn Spanish, but I did not feel the same was true for my peers. I don't think the class did anything to change their mindsets on that front. They were great people nonetheless, and I truly enjoyed sharing my class time with them.

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

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • International Students
  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • How much the staff cares
  • It's in the best city in the world!
  • The wide array of of university options
* What could be improved?
  • Provide access to more of the "local" university courses
  • Cheaper field trips (we don't need 5 star hotels, we're 21 year olds put us in a hostel)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Don't base your decisions about where to go, what to do, what to learn, or anything else on the actions of others. Make this experience YOURS