Barcelona was an unforgettable experience Past Review

By (Econ/Comm, University of Colorado - Boulder) for

ISA Study Abroad in Barcelona, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?

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.

The academics with ISA were really convenient. We didn't have classes on Friday and classes were all very relevant to living in Barcelona. (for example Spanish art classes or International economics using real life examples with Spain and the US. I don't want to say the classes were easier because they weren't but it was easier for me to learn because we were actually using what we learned in our everyday lives. The grading system really stresses people out and I don't think it should. A good grade in Spain is a 5 (on a scale of 10) and that is considered passing at Colorado. Even with this scale people were freaking out about getting a bad grade when in fact, a 5 is considered a pretty good grade in Spain. 9's and 10's are usually not given but many students were offended when they didn't receive them. Teachers at the school were really good and willing to help but it was hard to adapt to because they are not native English speakers and sometimes not even native Spanish speakers so it takes a lot of patience in the beginning to learn how to understand them sometimes but at the same time many teachers also speak English very well. I think that school is going to be what you make it, the effort you put into it is what you will get out of it like every other class.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

ISA in Spain went above and beyond. They answered questions promptly and were always in the office having fun. They really encouraged meeting new people and doing new activities, participating whenever they could. Specifically, I got really sick at one point and they really helped me out when I was in need. They sent someone in a cab to come and get me to take me to the doctor. It made that experience a lot better.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was really happy that I was in a homestay first semester. It was when my language skills were really developing and It was nice to have some friendly advice about the city from a different perspective. However I do wish I switched to dorms or apartments for the second semester because I wanted more freedom.

* Food:

My host mom was an excellent cook and I really lucked out. When going out it was good too, slightly expensive but Kebabs were a good, more economical option that we got a lot. I honestly missed cooking my own food though...

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Spain knows how to party. They have so many festivals and parties. Spanish people are so friendly and I had the time of my life. Everywhere you walk in Barcelona is beautiful and it is totally a walkable city which is nice. It doesnt offer as much as other programs (like trips or pre paid for events), but it is definitely worth what you pay. It is affordable and very worth it. I definitely recommend this program.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

If you go looking for trouble you will find it. But if you are smart you will not run into anything. Barcelona is a safe city, I never felt uncomfortable once. The tap water is drinkable but it isn't served in restaurants. Healthcare in Spain isn't that cheap but Catalonia produces a lot of Europe's medicine so medicine is cheap. My program provided health insurance that had a $50 deductible, and they covered the rest. It is not for checkups but you can use it in necessary situations. You have to pay for the whole thing at first and the insurance sends you a check a few months later. You have to go to an approved clinic and a normal visit is around 70 Euro.

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)


If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Keep calm and carry on--Churchill Traveling is stressful and you really need to expect disaster in Europe. (like unexpected strikes, weather, credit cards not going through, pick pocketers, etc) You need to accept that these things happen and stressing about them only makes them worse. Try and always be aware, make smart decisions and try to avoid these things as much as possible.