An Amazing Semester in Granada! August 02, 2022

By (InternationalGlobal studies, 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 got to learn a lot about Spanish history and culture, specifically Andalucian culture, both through the classes I was taking and from personal experiences. Most of the classes at IES Granada are targeted at immersing the students. I definitely recommend taking the classes with field trips. There is so much to see and do in Granada and in Spain; the only traveling I did outside of the country was for spring break and I don't regret it at all.

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 really loved my experience in the IES program. All of the students were so warm and kind, I made many good friends over the semester. There were many cool trips that the program sponsored to tour around all of Andalucia, and a good amount of weekends off to go explore other countries/areas. The classes offered are relatively easy depending on which ones you take, and there are a lot of interesting options. The IES center is in a fantastic location in the heart of the city. I completely and totally fell in love with Granada and really do recommend at least visiting, if not studying there for the semester.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I really enjoyed my residence hall experience. I got very close to the other IES students that I lived with; they were my primary friend group throughout the semester. The facilities were pretty nice- I got my own private room and bathroom. I also got to live with other native spanish students, and it was a very cool experience to get to live/bond/go out/talk with them. The residence hall I stayed in was very centrally located in the city; it's about a 15 minute walk from the IES Center and it's right around a popular bar area for spanish students.

* Food:

Not the best, but chefs were very accommodating with allergen/food restrictions.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

In Granada, almost all the local speak exclusively spanish, which is a great way to practice your spanish skills. Locals are usually pretty good about working with you at your spanish level. This isn't usually the case in the bigger cities like Barcelona and Madrid, where you can usually get away with speaking only english. All the locals in Granada are very friendly, and I always enjoyed going out to bars/clubs in the city and meeting new spanish and european friends.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

There is definitely less of a personalized health care experience in Spain. In my experience, the doctors and nurses there are typically not as warm or welcoming. IES was pretty good about getting you in contact with the hospital and people in the area who can help, like translators. And healthcare there is much cheaper than in the US. But I still found that times that I did have to go to the doctor were very frustrating and difficult.

* Safety:

As a young woman, I almost never felt unsafe walking around the city at night or by myself. I was never cat called and the street harassment I experienced was typically only related to peddling. There were some uncomfortable moments when my friends and I would go out to clubs, but nothing worse than in the US.

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

I completely fell in love with Granada- it is such a beautiful city with a rich history. I feel like I really got to know and connect with the city during my time there, and I know many of my peers felt similarly. The locals are all very nice and inviting. Everyone in my program was so nice and I made some really good friends over those 4 months. I 100% recommend for people who really want to immerse themselves in Spanish culture and study somewhere they normally wouldn't get the chance to.


* 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 a very cheap city- you can find meals for good prices AND you get free tapas with your drinks there. Drinks like wine and beer are very cheap in the city. I got fed by my residence hall every weekday for lunch and dinner, so I was self reliant on the weekends. It was not hard to find food for good prices there. I also got snacks and bathroom stuff for pretty cheap at the grocery store. The amount money you spend on personal expenses really just depends person to person- try to keep track on the gifts you buy and money you spend on traveling

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Your biggest expenses are going to be for traveling. On the one hand, make sure you keep track of the money you're spending and budget accordingly. But make sure to avoid the mistake of not making the most of your experience in Europe - take advantage and explore!


* 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 almost always spoke in english with my fellow classmates, but would typically try to speak with the program administrators and professors in spanish. Program sponsored field trips were in spanish, but they usually translated to english for important things.

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
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? Try to always speak with locals in spanish.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
* 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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Granada
  • The people in my program
  • IES field trips
* What could be improved?
  • More courses offered in english
  • Not having spanish class at 8:30am four times a week
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Dealing with medical problems while abroad is very difficult. You're typically alone at the hospital and have to interact with the workers in spanish.