ISA Valencia: Trip of a Lifetime Past Review

By (Biology, General., University of Arkansas - Fayetteville) for

ISA Study Abroad in Valencia, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I talk or at least think about my time abroad everyday. Something will happen in my daily life and immediately I relate it to a memory from abroad. I made lifelong friends while I was there and continue to keep in touch with them. Since I was a little girl, my parents have told me that everyone is different and you must accept them for who they are and where they came from. This became exponentially realistic while I was in a different country. People have different outlooks on life and a lot of this has to do with how and where they were raised. While I gained a greater appreciation for a culture other than my own, my greatest growth came from within. I have always wanted to pursue a career in the medical field and my study abroad experience heightened my interest. Not everything is scientific and matter-of-fact, most of the time a person's health and beliefs about medicine has to do with the culture they were raised.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: Universidad de Valencia
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.

The professors understood we were there to travel and explore the city of Valencia while taking in as much of the culture as possible; therefore, the workload was not overwhelming. In my culture class, we took numerous field trips where the professor would explain everything in Spanish. I believe this was the aspect of my study abroad trip that improved my listening and comprehension skills the most. My grammar professor made us of games and different activities to explain difficult material more clearly. I liked the aspect of being spoken to solely in Spanish for my professors' English wasn't the greatest.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I absolutely loved the ISA directors in Valencia! They took us on 3 or 4 different excursions which were all well planned and executed. All of them had lived in Valencia for the majority of their lives so they were very knowledgeable of the are and Spain in general. One of them spoke English fluently because she had studied abroad in North Carolina for a whole year. I became very close with her in such a short time and we still keep in touch to this day!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

The food was definitely different than the food here in America, but this was to be expected. The main difference was the meat.I would tell future study abroad students to try everything at least once to fully gain the experience of immersing yourself in a new country. Don't be picky!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia is spectacular! While the fees for the program are a little higher than others, it is totally worth it! ISA did an exceptional job planning the excursions to Madrid and Barcelona. Our hotels were gorgeous and centrally located. In each city we visited we had tours set up where we walked around the historic districts. They could be a little lengthy at times, but I wouldn't have missed it for the world because this is where I gained the utmost respect for Spain and its people! While the program provided structure, we also had plenty of free time to explore and go out with our friends!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

We were given emergency cards from our ISA directors and told that we could call them at any hour. I never felt unsafe but I also made sure I was always with at least a group of 3 or 4. Luckily I remained healthy while abroad so I never had to mess with the healthcare system in Spain.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I hardly spent money on food because our host mother cooked breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day. If we wanted to go to the beach we just had to tell her in advance and she would pack us a sack lunch. Most of my money went towards recreational activities in the evening aka going out! I would estimate about $100-$150 a week, but there are definitely ways to spend less.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Water is not free, so expect to pay at least 3 equivalent American dollars for water at a restaurant.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Advanced Spanish
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Hotel
  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • organization
  • group of students from all over the US
* What could be improved?
  • n/a