A Great Experience in Barcelona Past Review

By (Sociology, University of California - Santa Barbara) for

ISA Study Abroad in Barcelona, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned that I might not be a big-city person, but the fact that I navigated through one, mastered public transportation and traveled alone, having to make all new friends entirely gave me a lot of confidence in my personal capabilities.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Very casual, small, laid-back atmosphere with all students enrolled in the ISA program; no international students or even other American students in different programs.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration was very available and responsive to all of our needs/desires.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The apartment we were put in, while clean and safe, was quite depressing to me. There was only a window in the main living room-- the rest of the windows in the bedrooms and kitchen opened into the laundry area, which had no light. This very much affected my well-being and comfort level. The apartment also had absolutely no decoration or anything that made it feel at least a little bit "home-y" or aesthetically pleasing. Again, rather depressing. I also had a lot of problems with noise and thus sleeping at night, as our neighbors were a bunch of international students who had parties until the sun came up on any given night of the week. At first I took it for what it was and didn't complain until I saw an apartment that another group of people were living in who were in our same program! Their apartment was located in the heart of the city, had marble floors, painted walls, balconies, indoor/outdoor plants, pictures, and an overall beautiful living space. Not to mention, their building was a lot more well-to-do, with residents who weren't disruptive.

* Food:

I used the grocery store, where I found all kinds of foods for my dietary needs, including an entire gluten free section! La boqueria is, of course, the coolest place to shop for fresh food and snacks. I loved their fruit salads!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I loved walking around alone and taking the metro everywhere. Seeing all of the Gaudi buildings and landmarks was my favorite. I also recommend visiting Sitges as much as possible-- it is a lovely beach town.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I felt very safe in Barcelona. I walked around alone quite often, and even took the metro home alone very late at night, all without feeling threatened in the least. Watch out for pickpockets, though.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* 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 was able to practice the language with some locals and a little bit with my fellow students.

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

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It was a little bit too party-based for me, so I sometimes wish I went somewhere a little bit mellower. Still, Barcelona is a fun city. Jump in wherever you can, explore the city both alone and with others by foot and metro. Also, it's a good idea to go with plenty of extra money in hand, as the food, nightlife, shopping, and general lifestyle in Barcelona is best lived with some spare cash.