Learn to step out of your comfort zone June 30, 2017

By (Texas A&M University - College Station) - abroad from 08/27/2016 to 12/16/2016 with

ISA Study Abroad in Barcelona, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I had previously been abroad with family, but this experience was unlike any other. For the first time, I was forced to do things on my own. There are so many valuable life lessons that I learned from simple things such as finding out where to get the metro card, or learning the metro system. There was no one there to hold your hand along the way, and that is the best part about being abroad. Don't get me wrong, it is very frighting at times. You realize that you are far away from home, in a place where not everyone understands your native language, and you have to go out and figure things out for yourself. There were times where I had no idea where to go, or what to do, but the beauty of the experience is that you find that you have the skills to figure things out on your own. No longer are you dependent on others to figure things out for you. This experience was by far the best thing that has happened to me, which is why my goal is to return abroad. There is so much more to learn, if anything the time I spent abroad was not nearly enough. There should be more than simply a 10 week requirement.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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

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? 200
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Do your research before going to all the touristic places, there are some that are worth the money but others are not.

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? Fluent
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent
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? Make friends with the locals, it is the best way to practice and learn their native language.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • 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?
  • Staff in Austin was very helpful with the process prior to arriving in Barcelona
  • Staff in Barcelona is incredible, they genuinely care about your growth
  • Program ensures that we have all the resources we need to figure things out
* What could be improved?
  • More excursions
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish i would have known about the intercambio before going on the program, that way my intercambio and I were able to talk prior to my arrival in Barcelona.

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.'