Semester in Spain! September 01, 2022

By (Political Science and Spanish, California Lutheran University) - abroad from 01/24/2022 to 05/13/2022 with

IES Abroad: Madrid - IES Abroad in Madrid

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was super worthwhile! Living abroad is always so beneficial as you learn about other cultures, traditions, etc and become more aware as a person.

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.

The classes were pretty interesting, it was a little hard to adjust at first to all the classes being entirely being in Spanish but I got used to them pretty quickly and enjoyed them alot! They were different in structure to the classes in the US, but there was less assignments and stress which was great as we had more time to enjoy Madrid, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The IES staff were great. Super helpful, very approachable and overall just great :) They helped me when I had health issues, etc or when I was in quarantine for covid, for example. They check in regularly and encourage you to reach out if you need ANYTHING

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My dorm itself was great. I had my own room with an en-suite and the building was only a 3 min walk from our classes and a 10 min walk from the nearest metro station, shops, etc. The daily cleaning service was also super nice and very appreciated.

* Food:

The accomodation food was my least favorite part of the accommodation facilities as it was never very varied and never offered many alternative options.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It was different at first but within a few weeks I felt very settled in Madrid. The social life is amazing and there are so many things to do in the city as well as around Spain. The people were also incredibly warm and friendly, which made it easy to adjust too.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I visited the hospital a few times in Madrid and it was always very efficient. Everything was covered under my insurance and the medicine i needed was cheap in comparison to the US equivalent. There was an English translator at the hospital too who always helped during my visits, which made the process less daunting.

* Safety:

Madrid is an incredibly safe city, I never really felt in danger there. The only incident I was aware of was theft, as my friend had her mobile stolen in the middle of the day.

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

I loved the program and would 100% do it again. I made amazing friends, amazing memories and learnt so much!


* 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)

Madrid is a very affordable city to live in, the food is cheap, transportation is very affordable, travelling is also very decent in price. As long as the students are somewhat mindful in not spending too much money during the week, they should be fine.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 80-100 euros


* 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? SPAN 400 LEVEL
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? Speak the language as much as you can! Make friends with the locals and never use English when you're out and about. The only way you can improve is by practicing everyday!

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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Social life
  • The location
  • People!
* What could be improved?
  • Food in dorms
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I feel like most information was communicated to us before and during orientation! I guess just to be not as nervous as everyone is in the same position.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.