Barcelona is the best city to study abroad in, no seriously it's the best Past Review

By (International Relations, The College of New Jersey) - abroad from 01/07/2015 to 04/23/2015 with

ISA Study Abroad in Barcelona, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It is just so fascinating to realize not everyone around the world has the same mindset and experiences as you do as a native of Country X, Y or Z. My host grandpa lived through the Spanish Civil War, that's just crazy to hear him talk about a war and later a fascist dictatorship ravaging a Western country. The US is a relatively new country while kingdoms and other civilizations have flourished abroad much longer than we have.

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 took five classes compared to my normal four, but in no means were they unmanageable. The classes were somewhat challenging if you didn't have SOME prerequisite knowledge, and some teachers weren't the best, but it was certainly easier than what I'm used to.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The apartment belonged to an 83 year old man who didn't take the best care of the place, but he was so enthusiastic about having American kids over that it made up for the general dirtiness of the place.

* Food:

Spanish food is pretty good as is, but then one has to realize that they're in a city, and any kind of food is available due to the cosmopolitan nature of Barcelona. I had Turkish food every lunch, for example.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Barcelona is pretty welcoming of different cultures as is so I felt like I was very much living in a Barcelona-culture more so than say, a Spanish culture. Barcelona culture consists of staying up way too late and going with the flow and at first it was challenging to be that energetic all the time, but it absolutely grows on you so so much.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I personally never went to the doctor, but my friends that did had no issues at all. I got a full bottle of ibuprofen for like 2 dollars once though.

* Safety:

It's very likely you will get pickpocketed at a club or walking down Las Ramblas, but if you're always aware and don't let people know you're not from around there you'll be find. You may get robbed, but no one will hurt you.

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)

Barcelona is pretty expensive to be honest. Everything costs the same as it does in the United States plus a little bit more I'd say.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Part of Barcelona culture is just going out! So naturally more money will be spent.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? You don't have to go out every day of every week, and buy a fake Messi jersey.


* 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

I didn't take classes in Castillian Spanish, but they were available. I tried to use it talking to my advisers and I had to talk in Spanish to my host family because they didn't know too much English.

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? Just listen to the language being used in real-life. News, talk shows, etc.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* 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?
  • Barcelona is ALWAYS alive
  • As long as you try to speak their language, locals will try to help you out as best as they can
  • the on-site staff for my program were knowledgeable and actually pretty cool
* What could be improved?
  • I would have liked a few more opportunities to meet all the students I was studying with, we kinda just fell into class without meeting anyone
  • My host family didn't really take care of the place I stayed in
  • Maybe we could come into Spain at night so we can sleep off some jet lag before we go through orientation
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That even if you're only hanging out with the friends you made abroad for four or five months or so, those months are way longer than you think and you shouldn't not put in the effort to be the best friends you can be only because you'll see each other for such a short period of time.

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.'

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

A Greater Middle East

Course Department: International Studies, Business and Culture
Instructor: Toni Raja-i-Vich
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The class wasn't necessarily challenging but the teacher is just a goldmine of information on nearly every subject we delved into. It's hard to believe how much Toni knew. He made us refer to him by his first name, was always lively and made EVERY SINGLE class enjoyable. The class was an hour and a half long and at the .end of every class I wish there was still one more hour
Credit Transfer Issues: No issues transferring credits!