A Great Experience January 15, 2015

By (BUSINESS, MANAGEMENT, MARKETING, AND RELATED SUPPORT SERVICES., Franklin & Marshall College) - abroad from 08/31/2015 to 12/17/2015 with

IES Abroad: Barcelona - Study Abroad with IES Abroad

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned that traveling alone is a great time to learn about yourself while meeting random people from around the world. In my honest opinion it should be a requirement for all students. I really opens you up to other cultures and ways of thinking.

Review Photos

IES Abroad: Barcelona - IES Abroad Barcelona Center Photo IES Abroad: Barcelona - IES Abroad Barcelona Center Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

My experience in Barcelona with IES was a great opportunity for personal development and the chance to travel all around Europe. The professors were fun, high energy and very qualified in their fields.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I really appreciate the attentiveness of the IES staff to each student's needs. When I had issues with linens they immediately gave me replacements, when the apartment was lacking certain things they bought us new appliances and even installed curtains in my room.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The apartment was centrally located near the Plaza Espana which was about 10 minutes by metro to the university. It was spacious for Barcelona and as I mentioned above IES provided us with new things if they were no longer functional or didn't exist in the first place!

* Food:

The kitchen was fully stocked with everything you would need to stovetop or oven cooking. I cooked all my meals myself except for the few during the week where I would eat in the city. Those lunches were usually simple sandwiches (as these are relatively cheap and paired with a coffee). Barcelona has really great food especially seafood if you are into that.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

IES did a great job to pair us with the local setting and provided advise for the events both culturally and politically. The people of Barcelona are generally very friendly and will talk to you about anything at bars, restaurants or other places (as long as you speak some Spanish)!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

IES was very helpful with insurance reimbursements from medical expenses.

* Safety:

Although we got occasional emails about protests and to stay away from them, not a single one got violent. The worst part about the city's safety is pick pockets on La Rambla and on the metro.

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)

Barcelona is a fairly expensive city (similar to NYC). Grocery store chains were the best place to buy groceries and if you cooked for most of your meals you could save a lot of money.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100-$200 depending on the week and how often I went out
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Plan your trips out in advance to save money on airfare and sleeping accommodations.

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

We spoke Spanish in my language class almost excluseively. In the apartment we had a resident advisor (23 years old and taking law classes) who was from Spain and spoke to us in Spanish when possible.

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? AP Spanish
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? Don't be afraid to just jump in and speak. If you make mistakes no one really cares. It is important to try at the least. I also used a translation app when I didn't know certain words.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
* 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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Staff's attentiveness to students
  • The city's energy and the people themselves
  • The food and culture
* What could be improved?
  • Roommate selection
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Don't worry about trying to find American food. Enjoy the local cuisine and if you are really craving something from home check out the international supermarkets (i.e., Coloimport) or cop out for some fast food.

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 Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.