Barcelona gave me an experience of a life time and a new mindset on life :) Past Review

By (PSYCHOLOGY., University of Mary Washington) - abroad from 08/30/2012 to 12/14/2012 with

ISA Study Abroad in Barcelona, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Going to Barcelona was the best decision I have ever made in my life. I gained a sense of independence that I had never felt before and a passion to explore the world. I would go again in a heart beat.

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 weren't as challenging as I thought they would be, but most of my classes were interesting and I felt as though I gained something from each one.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The on-site staff were all very friendly and personable to people my age. I think the ISA office is a little disorganized with planning sometimes, but overall they did a great job.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The Melon District is a residencia I lived in. Although the facilities and the rooms were nice, the rules were way too strict for college students and adults.

* Food:

The food in Spain is different than what I expected it to be, but I managed to find good places to eat and made lots of lunches and dinners in the kitchen. As far as ISA, they do not provide any meals.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It is very difficult to be connected with the culture unless you make an effort and try. You are thrown into a different country with Americans, so people tend to stick together. If you want to feel integrated with the culture you have to make the effort to do so.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I fell into a sewer, cut my knee open, and had to get stitches while I was abroad. ISA had insurance for us and it was pretty easy to get to the hospital in a cab, but ISA itself did not help me out much during this process. When I got to the clinic, there was a translator who helped me out a lot.

* Safety:

Spain is a lot safer than people assume it's going to be. Pick-pocketing is very bad, but it is very rare that someone will be violent if you get pick-pocketed. Other than that there isn't a lot of crime.

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)

It was very difficult to budget while in Spain, especially the first month. You get better at it as time goes by, but living abroad is expensive, especially in Europe. I probably spent $225/week, not including traveling.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $225/week for food/going out/other. When traveling during the weekends-add another $225
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Make your own food. Groceries are very cheap compared to the US. After I got better about budgeting, I would spend $40 on groceries that would last me 10+ days. Make a list of restaurants you want to try while you are abroad and plan to eat out twice/three times a week. You will save lots of money. Pre-game before you go out to a club, drinks at clubs are very expensive. Take the metro over a taxi, or walk!


* 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? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Spanish 105
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? Have dinner nights with your friends and only speak Spanish. Get an intercambio to speak Spanish with!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
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?
  • Friends I made
  • Culture
  • Excursions
* What could be improved?
  • Cost
  • More activities
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How expensive living in Spain is

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.