"La vida loca: Life in Madrid" Past Review

By (International Studies, University of Wisconsin - Whitewater) for

ISA Study Abroad in Madrid, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained knowledge of the culture, language and independence. I had a wide understanding of different cultures prior to the trip. I had traveled to Europe every year for 5 years prior to my study abroad experience, along with having a close friend from Germany. However, I learned more about the history and how it impacts the Spain culture. It helps explain many of the cultural traits, this proved to be very interesting.

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.

The overall educational experience was fantastic. I felt like I learned more in a year in Spain than a year in the US. It was very hands on and the teachers were very friendly and understanding. I miss being in Madrid and to this day I wish I would have just stayed there!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff were always available and the "Hub" location was a great place to just hang out and meet other people from different programs in the areas. They also arranged outside activities that were a great way to enjoy not only the company of others but we were able to learn more about Spain culture.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I felt like part of the family. I loved them as my own family and viceversa. Having another american live in the same household was a bit difficult at times. It was tough not to speak english, but overall I enjoyed living with my host "family!"

* Food:

The food was incredible. My host mom was a fantastic cook and she always made Paella! It was my favorite food is Spain.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I was able to participate in a program where I was able to meet spainards from around different parts of Spain. This allowed me to meet spainards and learn more of the coloquial language. We also gathered a group and played soccer once or twice a week, this was a fun extra curricular activity and helped me to join el equipo de la escuela.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I did become ill at one point (but it is something I get every year - still do), but my host mom and the program leaders gave me advice as to what will help me. They directed me to the farmacia and told me the name of the medicine I would ask for. This is an experience everyone should learn, even if it is in not so good conditions.

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?

Teachers, friends, spainards, host family. Yes, I needed to use spanish every day. I would say about 50% used english in the courses, however, outside of the classroom about 5% spoke english. If you emerse yourself in the culture more, there is a less chance of speaking english.

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? If you are going to study abroad, go for longer then 6 months. I know that some people only have that amount of time, but it is well worth it. By the time 6 months come around you will realize that it was not enough time to truely experience Spain. In fact, a year didn't seem to be enough really. Time went by very quickly. A student who is interested in learning the language and making friends from all over the world would be perfect for this program.