Barcelona, para siempre, mi ciudad April 04, 2017

By (Texas A&M University - College Station) - abroad from 09/09/2016 to 12/21/2016 with

ISA Study Abroad in Barcelona, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned how to be independent, became more curious about the world, and nearly gained fluency in a second language. Studying abroad in Barcelona was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I'm so happy I went.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I studied at the Universitat de Barcelona, in the estudios hispanicos program. It was an incredible school and centrally located. My professors were kind and caring.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

ISA's on-site staff did a great job of making everyone feel at home. They provided us with weekly activities, and were always ready to help whenever we went by the office.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host mom was really kind. She was not strict, and I had my own bedroom and bathroom. I was in Plaça Espanya, which is pretty centrally located. The only downside was that my host mom often left me dinner and I would eat by myself.

* Food:

The majority of the meals she prepared for me were really good. However, and this is probably a cultural difference, she would leave meat and other foods out overnight and then offer it to me for dinner the next night which I felt was a bit unsanitary.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I found an incredible church, and was able to meet locals and found lots of friends. I spent a lot of time in the city, trying new things and meeting new people.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I never had any issues.

* Safety:

Pickpocketing in Barcelona is horrid. I bought a pickpocket proof purse on amazon that really helped me out. I was not personally pickpocketed, but I know several people who were. Do not stick anything of any value in your pockets. Never set your purse on the floor. Las Ramblas and la Sagrada Familia are the worst spots for pickpocketing- I have heard of pickpocketers snatching phones out of people's hands. Also be careful on the metro, especially when it's crowded.

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

I loved my program and do not have enough good things to say about it. At my university, I had the opportunity to meet students from other programs and I really feel like ISA provided us with the most opportunities.

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)

It honestly depends on how you are. Lunch and Dinner are provided if you chose to live with a host family. I would say I ate out for lunch and typically spent between $5-15 on a meal. Traveling and visiting local attractions is what I spent most of my money on.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $150

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

They offered language partners that we could meet up with to practice speaking the language, as well as many other activities that helped us practice Spanish.

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? Advanced Grammar- Spanish 302 at Texas A&M
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? Don't be afraid to mess up! Practice speaking every chance you get!

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
  • 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?
  • Helpful Staff
  • Weekly Activities
  • Excursions
* What could be improved?
  • Checking on host family situations halfway through the semester
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Spend as much time in the city as you possibly can. Let yourself get lost (it will happen). Also, do not be afraid to speak to the locals!

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!