Un semestre de aventura y amistad Past Review

By (Bowdoin College) - abroad from 09/03/2018 to 12/18/2018 with

IES Abroad: Granada - Study Abroad with IES Abroad

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned to be more confident in my language abilities and that it's okay to make mistakes. I found that having local friends, though unexpected, was the best part of my experience. And if you have any faith background that is present in the home country, it is a very profound experience to be part of that while abroad.

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.

I was overall really happy with the classes that I took at IES Granada. The professors were engaging, knowledgeable, and very accessible. We also were able to take classes we wouldn't be able to take in the states, such as Islamic Art and Architecture with field trips.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I had a foot injury throughout the semester, and the IES Granada staff were very supportive in helping me arrange doctors visits (including a translator, as provided by our abroad insurance). They also were very communicative with information about events in the city, IES programming, travel, etc.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I stayed with a wonderful host family, a young couple that had lived in Granada for a long time. Our host mom was a wonderful cook, and by the end they really considered us as family. Not all my friends were as close with their host families, but most people I talked to were glad they chose to do that (or stay in a residence hall, if they did).

* Food:

My host family were great cooks, and really made an effort to cook traditional Spanish dishes for us. It was so good, that I didn't feel I needed to go to any fancy restaurants! My friends and I also found a lot of good tapas bars in the city, and there were always new places to go.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

IES helped set up an intercambio (language partner) with whom we could practice our second language, and I was blessed to become close with her and her friends. I also found the university church group, and became good friends with many of the students in that group. I was even able to go to a retreat with over 100 young people and talk in Spanish for a whole weekend with them!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The IES Abroad insurance is very helpful. I had a foot injury, and everything after the first $100 deductible was covered by insurance. It included a translating service, which made me feel more comfortable going to the doctor. Also, I was nervous about going to Morocco, but IES was very careful when planning the trip to minimize the risks as much as possible, and I felt very well-taken care of. Some of us had minor upset stomachs/etc when coming back, but my worries were really all put to rest.

* Safety:

Granada is a very safe city overall, though obviously you should still be smart about your actions. IES was very helpful with their orientation program about telling us the emergency systems if we needed them, how to get a taxi, and their perspectives on local interactions/cultural differences. I think most people found Granada to be safe and enjoyable!

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

I was really happy with my experience abroad in Granada. Though it wasn't perfect, because no semester will be, the challenges helped me grow and the opportunities that we had were really memorable.


* 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)

Granada is one of the cheaper cities in Europe, so it is relatively easy to find good, affordable meals. I would say I averaged $100/week with food and other expenses. My roommate spent less, and I'm sure there are people who spent more, so it depends on where you eat and what other expenses you incur.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? ~$100/wk
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Traveling locally/within the region of your home city is more affordable than flying to other countries every weekend, and gives you a better appreciation for the local country/culture. Consider how you want to spend your money, whether that be a gym membership, going out to clubs, traveling on the weekends, or just keeping it to food expenses, because the little things can sometimes add up.


* 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

I took all my classes in Spanish, which was an awesome experience, and helped me with the immersion experience. I ended up talking mostly in English with my American friends, which is probably why I spent a lot of time with locals in order to really immerse myself.

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? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Intermediate II
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? Meet locals! It will help you learn more about the culture and force you to practice and improve your new language!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • 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? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • the field trips in Spain and Morocco
  • unique classes
  • opportunities to meet locals
* What could be improved?
  • n/a
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew to be less nervous, and that everyone else would be nervous before going. Everyone has their own unique experience abroad, so just because yours isn't the same as your friend's, doesn't mean it was any less valuable or exciting.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'