Living in Spain is a great experience. Past Review

By (Ohio Northern University) - abroad from 06/21/2017 to 08/19/2017 with

ISA Study Abroad in Valencia, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
How different the cultures were. I loved the experience of being in Europe for over two months.

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.

I made great connections and learned a little bit about cancer.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They had some good things planned for us to do, but after the first three weeks they did not have anything else planned. Many things were also advertised to me (and other ISA students after talking to them) that were not true, such as they would pay for our transportation to and from work if we were not within walking distance, we would be with a host family that spoke English if we did not speak Spanish, and that they would help with booking plane tickets if needed. I am paying 6 euros per day to go an hour away from where I live just to go to work that I am not being reimbursed. I do not speak Spanish and my host family does not speak English, which is extremely frustrating and causing a lot of issues. Lastly the only help that was 'offered' for plane tickets was they told us the dates we need to book. We also did not find anything out by the dates ISA told us we would know, they were usually about two weeks late. My placement had also been tampered with by someone in ISA, leading me to accept an internship that did not meet my graduation requirements like we thought it would based on the letter. I did not find that information out until days before the start of my program, so it was too late at that point. The onsite ISA staff is amazing, while my connection to ISA in Texas was never helpful or supportive of anything I said. I told him my issues and all he told me was that I was wrong and that it is my problem, not ISA's.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

As said before, they did not speak any English, which caused both of us to get very frustrated. My roommate from ISA also did not speak any Spanish. We not treated as part of their family. It was like I lived in their house and ate and that was it. There was no communication between my roommate and I with our family because of the language barrier. If we had been paired with a family that actually spoke at least some English, I feel like it would have been better. This is more of an issue with ISA annd assigning our housing, than an issue with the family themselves.

* Food:

The food was decent. Our host family usually made one big dinner and then we would eat that for the next three days. She usually made the same things, so I did not have many different foods.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

At the beginning when ISA had events planned for us, I felt very integrated with the culture. But ISA only had events planned for the first two or three weekends and then did not have anything else the rest of the time. This caused me to be in my room a lot more which did not integrate me into the culture as much. My host family also did not do anything with my roommate or I, so I could not even be integrated in that way. My host family kept to themselves and did try to get my roommate or I to do anything with them.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not have any issues

* Safety:

During the day, I felt pretty safe. I caught several pick pocketers in my purse or my roommate's purse though. At night, I was always very paranoid because there are a lot of trees and places for people to hide.

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

I had way too many issues with ISA. I was also not the only ISA student here in Valencia that had a lot of issues with ISA.


* 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)

Most of my finances had gone towards paying to get to and from work. There were several times my host family would leave and tell us we are on our own for dinner, so we would have to eat out those days.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? about 60-70 euros


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Take a class

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
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Other
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?
  • ISA students
  • Valencia
  • Being able to travel
* What could be improved?
  • How ISA does everything
  • CORRECT advertising to future students
  • ISA American staff could be nicer and more helpful
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That I would be spending over 30 euros a week just on transportation to and from work, that my placement letter was incorrect and tampered with, that my host did not speak English before they tried talking to me at the airport and I had no idea what they were saying to me, and that I would need A LOT more cash than I came here with.

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.