Madrid: Divertida y Loca Past Review

By (Social Studies, Harvard University) for

IES Abroad: Madrid - IES Abroad in Madrid, Summer

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was so much fun and I definitely advise going abroad at least once in your college career. I definitely learned a lot about the Spanish culture and even myself.

Personal Information

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.

The history class was pretty enjoyable as in one week, we would have one day in the classroom and two others in various historic sites, such as churches, palaces, and museums. But I did not like how the majority of the class was comprised of memorization. Though we had one paper assignment, the class did no consist much of discussions or other projects which require analytical thinking. As for my grammar class, I enjoyed the discussions about current events in Madrid yet did not like how the class emphasized so much memorization again. The professor taught many specific idioms when I would have preferred to learn grammatical phrases that are more applicable.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

THe program is very well-organized and supportive to the students. They planned several field trips for us and made other recommendations so that we may enjoy our time here fully.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host mother was very helpful and resourceful about everything. The house was more than big enough of for me and very close to the university while being accesible to other areas through public transportation. The only slightly negative experience I had was that I feel that my host mother pretty much said everything that was on her mind and didn't make too much of an effort to try to understand my culture.

* Food:

I think Spain is a little difficult for vegetarian students. I feel that you do get sick of the food after a while. 100 Montaditos is very cheap and accessible. El Tigre is very fun "free tapa bar."

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The program arranged many field trips which were very enjoyable. I loved visiting all the museums, churches, palaces, and parks in Madrid and exploring the culture and history.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Although Spanish males could be a little aggressive and often cat call, the city is very safe even at night. The program is very good about providing resources in case you may run into emergencies.

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


* 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)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I think it really is a good idea to make a budget before. I brought some food from home, which I do not regret as food seems pretty expensive in Spain. Spain has huge sales during July and I ended up shopping a lot.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Spanish 30
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

Most students did speak English which I believe hindered my ability to learn Spanish quickly. I got to practice Spanish in class, with my host mother, while travelling, and also with a local student through an exchange program.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

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

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  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

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  • Americans