A month in Spain well-spent. February 15, 2020

By (University of Arizona) - abroad from 06/02/2019 to 06/27/2019 with

Instituto Franklin-UAH: International Studies Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I think this experience was worthwhile. I hadn't been abroad before this trip so it was a good experience to get my feet wet in international travel. My Spanish speaking skills also improved considerably. I will definitely be returning to Spain in the future.

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.

I enjoyed the classes I took here. The campus is also just beautiful. I do have a complaint about the Spanish culture class I was enrolled in, as it was not very challenging and a lot of information about Spain. The professor was very nice and informative, but before my arrival I was under the impression I was going to be taking a Spanish conversation class, and this class had little to no speaking requirements. Overall, I enjoyed y academic experience at Instituto Franklin-UAH.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration of the program was very effective and seemed to be on top of everything we needed to know.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The host family situation was a hard adjustment at first, and my particular host family lived pretty far away from campus. But I enjoyed my long walks to school through the beautiful town. I really loved my host family as they were really kind and supportive and encouraging.

* Food:

The food cooked for me by my host family was pretty good, and it was really fun to try new foods from a cuisine I had little exposure to at home. However, I am a vegetarian at home, and while I wanted to eat meat while I was there and living with a host family, it was really hard on my system and felt like I was constantly being fed very heavy foods. I also just think Spanish food is not my favorite in terms of staples and seasoning and eating times.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt very immersed in the Spanish culture and town. I walked through what felt like the whole city every day and by the end of my stay I felt very integrated into the lifestyle there.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Nothing really to report here. Thankfully I did not need to make use of the health insurance through the study abroad program.

* Safety:

I felt very safe in Alcala, let alone the entire country. I often felt safe walking through the city at night and taking public transportation.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

I would probably choose an experience in a larger city, or one where I did not stay with a host family.

Finances

* 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? Approx. 100 USD

Language

* 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? 5th semester Spanish
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? Conversation is very important, and hard to practice especially if you are not required to, but it makes integration so much easier.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Exchange

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?
  • Spanish people are incredibly nice.
  • Historical sites
  • Experiencing new culture
* What could be improved?
  • Food options (gluten free, vegetarian)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Though I knew about it before the trip, I was definitely not prepared for the eating schedule here. I am used to snacking throughout the day, but the first real meal doesn't happen until about 2pm. Meals felt very large and heavy, but were overall pretty decent.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'