The Best Decision I Will Ever Make Past Review

By (Spanish Language and Literature, Grand Valley State University) - abroad from 05/21/2014 to 06/28/2014 with

ISA Study Abroad in Sevilla, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned to be open minded, to learn about new cultures, and to accept diversity. My view of the world was molded into one that realizes that there is so much out there waiting to be shared. Learning the culture of Spain was the best part because it allowed me to feel at home and to feel more comfortable with stepping outside of my comfort zone!

Review Photos

International Studies Abroad (ISA): Seville - International Studies, Business & Spanish Language Photo International Studies Abroad (ISA): Seville - International Studies, Business & Spanish Language Photo International Studies Abroad (ISA): Seville - International Studies, Business & Spanish Language Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The provided classes were both fun and challenging. We were able to go out and tour the city, while at the same time learning the ancient history and basis of what keeps the city going. The language classes are also very challenging. At first it seems like a review, but I advanced my Spanish language knowledge immensely in this class.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The on-site staff was like my family away from home. They were willing to do whatever it took to make us feel comfortable, safe, and happy. (Even if it meant coming to your hotel room every ten minutes to check on you and bring you gatorade when you are sick :))

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I chose to live in an apartment and the set up was amazing. Everything that we needed was provided and if there was anything else that we wanted, the ISA staff figured out a way to make us happy.

* Food:

I am a complete foodie, so that is what I was most excited for and my expectations were exceeded. There are so many new things to try and experience. Staff recommended the best restaurants and best plates and always encouraged us to try new things.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt completely integrated with Sevilla. The people there made me feel and home and with the excursions and optional program events, we were able to participate in local cultural events and get a feel for what it is like to be Sevillana.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had an allergic reaction to mosquito bites while I was abroad and the on-site staff were just as concerned as my parents would have been. They scheduled a ride to pick me up from campus, take me to the health care center, and a person to walk me in and speak to doctors. The doctors were extremely kind and made me feel at home, explaining everything to me thoroughly. There were no prevalent health issues that required vaccines, but it was really reassuring to know that it was that easy to access care when something went wrong.

* Safety:

The only safety advice I can give is never be too careful. I did not have any safety incidents during my travel, but I know pick-pocketing is big. Girls, keep your purse if front of you at all times and never leave it at a table or anything. Boys, keep your phone and wallet in your front pocket. These are just safety precautions to avoid worst-case scenario. As far as safety goes, I felt extremely safe in Sevilla. I felt more comfortable walking around at night in Sevilla than I do in my hometown.

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)

1.5: Living in an apartment is definitely more expensive, because meals are not provided, but I was aware of this going into the trip and was prepared. Groceries are EXTREMELY cheap and you could get by with spending maximum 40$ a week if you went to the market for all of your meals and cooked. Also, if you like to go out, there are so many restaurants that have 2 euro tapas and cheap drinks. It can be very cheap to live, but me and my roommates spent frivolously.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? around $150
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you are in apartment, cook your meals. Groceries are extremely cheap and you can make meals for less than $5. Another tip is to walk instead of the metro or a cab. I know it may seem far, but the views and things you find along your walk are worth it. Also, ask on-site staff for cheap deals on certain days of the week. On Wednesday, Cien Montaditos has euromania and everything on the menu is 1 euro. So, you don't have to be afraid to eat out.


* 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

If you wanted, staff would only speak to you in Spanish, and both classes were in Spanish. On excursions and out in the city, we were forced to use the language because the locals did not speak any English. My Spanish improved greatly.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? SPA 331
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Speak Spanish with your friends and host family. I know it may not seem like you and your roommates should speak Spanish when you don't have to, but it is a HUGE help.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • 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?
  • Excursions
  • On-site staff
  • Classes
* What could be improved?
  • Scheduling times for class
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew how much I would love it, so that I would have chose a longer program length.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.