It is never too late to study abroad and it is always worth it. Past Review

By (Business Marketing, Colorado State University) for

ISA Study Abroad in Barcelona, Spain

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

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.

Spain, and Europe in general, is an entirely different system, so that by itself is a hurdle that a lot of students struggled to get over. Some classes were a total joke and felt like a waste of time to be there. Upon taking the exams for those classes it was even more confusing. On the other side, I had a class (International Business) that was one of the toughest classes I've taken. That said, I was fully able to learn from the classes and I had a great time doing so.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The on site staff for ISA was AMAZING. The directors were all younger and fun to talk to and learn from. They helped with any and all troubles and they put on great programs for the students to experience the country. Because of the ISA directors in Barcelona I considered the job for myself in the future. Great staff!! They all deserve a raise!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My housing arrangement was great, it was myself and another American in the same program. They placed us with a veteran of the host family process, a woman named "Conchita." She was sweet and kind and a slice of life out of the Barcelona city. She had lived their most of her life and made sure we were both well fed (a major plus for a student on a budget).

* Food:

You can't be a pickey eater and travel the globe too.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Barcelona is an amazing city and the program directors make sure you get to see all of the historical and cultural aspects. If your into the partying and bar scene, Barcelona has places all over that never sleep. If your into the learning and museums, BCN has more then you could possibly visit. Outside of BCN, it is extremely easy to travel, and cheap too.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I did an optional excursion to Morocco with some of the directors and students. Alot of kids get sick on this trip every year because of the contaminants in the Moroccan water supply. I was able to hold out on the sickness until I returned to Spain. Not the programs fault, they warned everyone before the trip and provided everyone with medical advice in case the sickness did happen. I was just unfortunate.

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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
Language acquisition improvement?

I had a home stay so I was able to practice with the woman my roommate and I lived with. Other home stays were family sized, mine was just one old, single woman, not uncommon apparently. I was also able to practice in the classrooms and with some of the more dedicated students. The downside is that Barcelona is an international hub where the locals speak Catalayn (mixture of Spanish and French), a language only spoken in this part of the world. So, all the locals also speak Spanish, or learn English, French, Arabic, German, Italian, etc. For most students they got by with speaking in English all the time. So If your looking to just experience Europe and don't care about learning Spanish, the you won't have any difficulties at all. On the other hand, if you want to improve your spanish, outside of the university you may find it more difficult. Most students in the programs will just talk in English, when you go to a shop the owners are either annoyed to talk to you out of their native Catalayn or extremely excited to practice their English with you. Only a few times was I able to disguise my american accent when speaking spanish, but even then they know your not from Barcelona because your not speaking Catalayn and they treat you like a tourist.

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? ISA is amazing! A friend of mine studied in England a year before I went to Spain, she recommended ISA above all else. My roommate went to Italy with ISA based upon my recommendation and the chain will continue.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Spanish Language G21

Course Department: B1.2
Instructor: Francesc Navarro
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: First off, the "equivalence" of the American spanish level to the Spanish or European spanish level is way off. I came into Barcelona enrolled in the second lowest language course, after completing my first 300 level course at my home university. The program has you take a test that "determines" your skill level, this is a good and a bad thing. According to their "equivalency" chart, I should have been in B2.1 or B2.2, but I tested into A2. The good thing was the program and host university run into this alot and they had me write an essay on the first day of class to move me to the next level. I moved up ONE level, so I petitioned and they allowed me to move up ONE more level ("Very rarely do we do this" they told me). So I landed in an intermediate level Spanish course. Some of the course was review, and some was new. It showed me some of the gaps I had in my education. The Professor, Francesc Navarro, was absolutely amazing. He was fun, enthusiastic, informative, patient, and genuinely cared about the education of his students. I would recommend him to anyone.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

International Marketing Strategies

Course Department: 3
Instructor: Gabriel Izard
Instruction Language: English
Comments: It was a fun course, but partly because it was way way way too easy. I am a marketing major and the entire course felt like a review of my previous courses. For other student, the material may have been new or challenging, but for a marketing student it was all redundant. Furthermore, the Professor, Izard, had the thickest Catalayn/French accent and his english was extremely difficult to understand.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

International Business

Course Department: 2
Instructor: Jorge Mongay
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Extremely demanding and difficult, but I learned more in this class then any others. the professor was very rough around the edges, but very knowledgeable.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Espanol para los Negocios

Course Department: 2
Instructor: Francesc Navarro
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: Amazing class and amazing professor! If your spanish skill level is good enough, take this course!! Even if it isn't good enough, a friend of mine was by far the weakest in the class, but Francesc Navarro helped her along and the overall experiance of being in Spain helped her spanish too, and she did great in the class!
Credit Transfer Issues: