Best Time of my Life Past Review

By (PSYCHOLOGY., Barnard College) - abroad from 06/22/2014 to 08/01/2014 with

ISA Study Abroad in Barcelona, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was literally the best thing I have ever done. I fell in love with every aspect of Barcelona from the people, the architecture, museums, beaches, streets ,food, nightlife, to cafes. It was just so incredible. I got extremely lucky with a small program of 25 amazing people and we all got really close. I made really incredible friendship and would say Im still in touch with about half of them. Our apartment was in the heart of the city so I walked everywhere which was amazing - just wandering aimlessly through the Gothic area, El Raval, Gracia, Barceloneta, El Born and pretty much everywhere. It was very easy to meet international people in classes and out and about. I learned to go for everything and take risks. That is the best way to travel; I felt a fierce independence and freedom when I was there that Ive tried to hold on to at home. I would just advise anyone who goes to just really go for it, take chances, do things you didnt think you would or could, and take every opportunity to make it an awesome experience. I can honestly say that I did that and I regret nothing and which I could do it again.

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.

I really enjoyed both my spanish language class and my spanish contemporary art class. Both were very laid back yet somewhat challenging as both instructors understood that we shouldnt be inside all day doing homework but exploring the incredible city

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

We had a bunch of issues with our apartment and the ISA office responded immediately to every one of them. I loved how much freedom the program gave us - they were there to help us with anything we needed, give suggestions and offer support but they were also pretty hands off and let us explore and figure things out on our own. It was great

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Our apartment was incredible. I cant even believe that I got to live there for 6 weeks. It was right off of plaza catalunya and because it was so centrally located it served as a meeting point for our freinds. I really recommend living an apartment if you have the chance and are very independent and dont mind cooking because I felt like a local by the end.

* Food:

ISA didnt really provide us with food so im not sure if this question is about the food in barcelona (which was amazing) or ISA provided food

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I loved wandering around for hours after class and really got to know the city very well so I felt pretty integrated but people still know that you are american and will sometimes treat you differently (not badly, just differently)

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had a week when I had to go the clinic for a rash a two other issues and it was a pretty great experience (as far as hospital visits go) I went to the ISA office and they called ahead to the Sagrada Familia clinic to let them know i was coming. I was greeted by a translator who was so sweet and staying with the whole time every time I went. ISA has a relationship with this clinic and I barely had to wait at all. All of the doctors were very nice and compassionate.

* Safety:

I felt pretty safe the whole time

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)

things were somewhat expensive but not terrible. Public transportation was very reasonable

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? im not sure


* 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

they offered free tutors and encouraged us to use the language but not too much

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? Elementary Spanish 2
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? I would take advantage of the exchange program they have where you can teach a local english and they teach you spanish. Just try to talk to everyone you can in spanish especoially restaurants which is when you will mostly need to communicate even if they offer or start to speak english which they ususally do

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • The city, people, architecture, nightlife, food
  • The freedom
  • classes
* What could be improved?
  • It should have ended on a sunday rather than a thursday that also what our final exams, it was too much anxiety that last week (academic and emotional) because we all wanted to have some more time to say goodbye and do the things we wanted to but the finals stressed us out too much and then we had to say goodbye that night
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Nothing. I went into with very few expectations and the whole experience just blew me away and I feel that I grew an incredible amount as a person and wouldnt trade this experience for anything

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.