An incredible but slightly overwhelming experience June 25, 2022

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/25/2022 to 05/21/2022 with

IES Abroad: Granada - Study Abroad with IES Abroad

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a lot of cultural insight and was able to explore unique academic topics particular to the region of Granada. There was a lot of outside-of-the-classroom exposure, which was very exciting and I absorbed what I was learning better because of this. My only complaint was it was very hard to manage travel, socialization, and academics (all with COVID still being an issue) and accommodations to students' personal and health requests left room for improvement.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was housed in a residence hall that had many ups and downs. It was great that our rooms were cleaned for us, and someone did laundry for us. The location was also great. However, aspects of our residence made students feel constrained and their concerns were not addressed satisfactorily by IES during the duration of the program. For example, meat was very often served raw, and the residence had extremely strict rules about guests -- who could only stay in the lobby, before evening hours. The person in charge of our residence also very often made students feel uncomfortable and hesitant to advocate for our basic needs.

* Food:

The food was mostly good, and almost all meals were covered, but sometimes the meat was served raw.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

There was little emphasis on students' mental health. Coming out of COVID, absences were rarely forgiven even if students had serious physical or mental issues. Although some teacher made academic online accommodations for students who had COVID or were sick, others didn't. The healthcare in the country itself seemed OK and students basically got what they needed, but program-wise mental health issues were not taken very seriously.

* Safety:

The city is basically safe, but not very diverse compared to larger more cosmopolitan cities, so you might encounter more frequent verbalized racism.

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

I really enjoyed most of my classes and professors and the trips that the program organized. I especially enjoyed the location. Academically I faced some challenges, but my other experiences made it worth it.


* 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)

Finding accommodations for our Spring break was slightly stressful, and cost more than I had expected.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 75 Euros
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I would suggest planning your Semana Santa travel as soon as you can because prices will go up the later you book.


* 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

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? A second semester course in Spanish
How many hours per day did you use the language?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* 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?
  • Trips organized by the program
  • Outside of the classroom learning
  • Activities offered inside and outside of the program
* What could be improved?
  • Academic instruction
  • Coursework content and evaluation
  • Addressing students' concerns while in the program
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish that I had prepared myself for the intensive Spanish program! It was very difficult for me to keep up with IES language expectations with a beginner's background and overstimulation by non-academic aspects of studying abroad. Also studying and traveling during COVID made everything all the more stressful.

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Islamic Art and Architecture and its Impact

Course Department:
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course offered a lot of engaging field trip and the assessment methods included weekly reports, a research paper and presentation, and an open-book midterm and exam. The teacher was very passionate and accommodating.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Mediterranean Ecosystems

Course Department:
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course offered some INCREDIBLE field trips -- perfect for any major who want experiences with nature outside of the classroom. The assessment methods included trip essays, a midterm and a final exam. Even though I was a non-science major the professor understood that, and gave me more attention and help without me having to ask.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Arab World and the West

Course Department:
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course did not offer trips and was purely lecture-based. The assessment methods included a group presentation, a midterm and a final exam. The class is best for students who want to learn about history, the Arab region, and media affairs.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Spanish Langauge in Context: Emerging Independent III

Course Department:
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: This course was too challenging for someone who had just taken a second semester level of Spanish. Little time was spent out of the classroom and the classes were too long every day (1 hour and 40 minutes). The assessment methods included weekly homework, a midterm and final exam, an ongoing group project, and a presentation. I thought this course was very overwhelming compared to all my other classes, and there was too much of an emphasis on writing and grammar over speaking assessment-wise. In addition, I did not feel adequately prepared for the content of the exams by the professor, and a lot of what we learned during the class time did not feel relevant to how we would be assessed. For me, the content covered was too expansive and too fast, and not accommodating to students who have strengths in other learning styles and methods. Overall, despite the intensity of this course, I do not feel as if my Spanish has improved that significantly after taking it.
Credit Transfer Issues: