Unforgettable Past Review

By (Spanish Language, Literature, Scripps College) - 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 experience traveling solo. I also gained experience in learning in a different language and living in a different language. It was eye opening to make connections with people not in my native tongue

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I had the most wonderful host mom!

* Food:

A lot of deep fried food, but overall good.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I had to seek opportunities on my own to feel truly immersed but the program helped get me started.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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

In reflecting in my time in Spain, I can think mostly of positive memories. IES was very organized and helped me throughout my entire pre departure process. I did not apply for a visa through IES, and when I ran into bumps the staff was very helpful in solving the problem. Once I arrived, it did not take me long to feel at home. I had the most wonderful host family, and the staff helped us get acclimated. The weekend excursions, and extracurriculars that I participated in were especially fun and marked my experience. I would recommend getting involved in all the activities that IES offers such as cooking classes, dance lessons, and exchange groups where you meet with Spanish students. As for the classes, I enjoyed some of them and some were fairly bland. I did expect this and overall did not feel like I was wasting my time despite the course load because it helped me improve my Spanish. I would recommend taking the Art History class at the Prado it was an unforgettable experience. My living situation was amazing, the food was amazing, and the people on the program were amazing. My only complaint would be the Spanish speaking throughout. I felt that it was not the easiest to connect with Spaniards organically, you had to search for opportunities such as going to intercambio bars. Overall it was a semester I will never forget and I would highly recommend this program and studying abroad.


* 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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 120
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? buy your dinners many nights a week from grocery stores rather than going out.


* 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? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Grammar
How many hours per day did you use the language?

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

  • 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?
  • The city and its vibrant life
  • The people
  • The culture (food, museums, etc)
* What could be improved?
  • Speaking Spanish more in the center
  • Longer orientation with everyone in the first couple of days before meeting host family
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Spain actually has more discrimination than I had realized. I had thought Spain was going to be incredibly progressive (considering it is a Catholic nation, I would say it still is), but it turned out to be more backwards than I thought. For example, there was prevalent racism in the city, more specifically towards Muslims and those with Asian descent. After Paris attacks the Islamaphobia was pretty rampant. There are also a lot of racial slurs towards people from all Asian backgrounds.

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.