I Left My Heart In Madrid, Spain Past Review

By (Spanish Language, Literature, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor) - abroad from 09/07/2015 to 12/11/2015 with

IES Abroad: Madrid - IES Abroad in Madrid

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a lot of confidence from my study abroad experience. In myself as an individual and as well as in my Spanish. I learned a lot about myself and the experience made me feel powerful because I was a young woman who went out on my own into an unknown country, and I completely conquered it. I fell in love with Spain and I was able to make it my own. I feel on top of the world because of it. Studying abroad was worth every second.

Review Photos

IES Abroad: Madrid - IES Abroad in Madrid Photo IES Abroad: Madrid - IES Abroad in Madrid Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

5/5 for me! The classes were challenging and rigorous. I learned a lot, and I thoroughly enjoyed them!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

5/5 again. The staff was like family to me, and they took care of every student and their needs.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

5/5!!! I LOVED my host family, especially so because they had kids that I could interact with, and I had a tremendous amount of fun with them! Most nights I would stay home with them instead of going out for the evening with other students.

* Food:

5/5! My host mom could easily be named the best cook in Madrid, I swear. She had some mad cooking skills!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

5/5 I felt very well integrated within the local culture. I felt very comfortable with the city and with talking to the locals. Many times people would come up to me and ask for me to confirm directions within the city!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

5/5 I had a few health issues due to the training I did while there, and they were addressed immediately.

* Safety:

There was never a moment when I did not feel safe. I feel as long as you have common sense and are not careless with your personal belongings and cellular device, you should be fine. Although it sounds corny, to increase your safety in the city, just make sure you don't look like a tourist and try to blend in with the locals. See how they dress and observe their street behaviors to help increase your street smarts.

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

I would really love to have the same host family again, and I really loved the staff and all of the people that I met in Madrid.


* 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)

It was pretty easy to live on a student's budget. I am pretty frugal when it comes to spending money, relatively easy to not break the bank.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Maybe $15
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Buy items so that you can make lunches for yourself to avoid going out to lunch everyday and spending $5 per meal a day because it tends to add up quickly without you knowing.


* 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

100% of the time. Expect for our first day or so when we arrived in Madrid, speaking English was never permitted. Spanish was HIGHLY encouraged.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
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? Spanish 289
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Really restrict yourself from ever using English and try to only use Spanish. Even when you get frustrated and you are having trouble saying something in Spanish, don't resort to English. Usually if you try to convey your idea another way, it almost always works out. So don;t give up!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • Language
  • Culture
  • Connections
* What could be improved?
  • Nothing. It was perfect
  • N/A
  • N/A
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish that I would have made my program term last longer. At first seeing that I was about to go to Spain and be away from home from September to December seemed like such a long time. I wondered what the heck I was even thinking doing this 'study abroad' thing. But now that I did it and I am back in the states, I can't believe that I ONLY stayed there for 3 1/2 months. It needed to be longer!

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!