Segovia: Change of Scenery, Change of Perspective Past Review

By (Advertising, Ball State University) for

KIIS: Sevogia - Experience Segovia Spring Semester Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Because I had never traveled abroad before my trip, this was a big stepping stone in my life. This trip taught me that I am much more courageous than I had thought, and that I have the ability to adapt much more quickly than I ever imagined. It certainly was a struggle at times to adjust to living with a new family and roommate, take classes, and understand the culture all at once, but having experienced another culture has given me a more appreciative view of American culture. Spain is fairly modern in regards to technology and such, so it wasn't dramatically different compared to a third world country, but it certainly had its differences. Naturally, living with a Spanish family, living in a Spanish-speaking country, and taking classes in Spanish helped improve my language skills, but realistically one would have to be living in the country for years to be considered fluent.

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.

The classes that I took while abroad were a little bit harder than I had originally expected, but I think some of this was due to the professors' teaching styles. All of the grades were without pluses and minuses, so we all had to work hard to complete assignments well. Overall, the program was great -- I met a lot of great people, both American and Spanish, and my Spanish host family was extremely supportive and treated me well. Because the university was comprised solely of American students that were traveling abroad and American professors (except for one professor, who was Spanish), the school itself didn't seem very different than an American one. It was the immersion of living in the culture and traveling on class trips and with friends on the weekends that made the true learning experience of the study abroad program. If I could change one thing about my experience, I wish that the classes had not taken up so much time out of class so that we could get to experience the culture of the country more.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I did not have any issues getting registered for the program and being prepared for international travel. KIIS provides a one-day orientation for students and their parents to meet the professors and other students on the trip ahead of time. The office for study abroad programs at Ball State did a good job of providing advice and individual advising to help me process paperwork and ask questions.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Everything needed was provided by my host family. The only things that my roommate and I had to buy were electric converters. The neighborhood was safe, although it got kind of dark at night. I never had any problems with feeling unsafe walking home, but would certainly still recommend that everyone keeps a walking buddy. Each student in the program is provided an American roommate from the program and they are placed with a Spanish family. The Spanish families are located throughout the city. Our house was small by American standards, but was not extremely uncomfortable. We had a small bedroom to share with two twin-sized beds, but had a parlor and another small bedroom to use for our suitcases. Our family was very nice and supportive. They were willing to spend some time with us if we wanted to, but encouraged us to go out and explore the city, travel, and participate in city celebrations and festivals. The food was good, but I would recommend that future study abroad participants be prepared to be flexible with their eating patterns. One of the biggest problems that I had was that other students would not eat meat and expected their families to cater to their needs (note: If you are a vegetarian/vegan/celiac/etc., the program will try to accommodate to you by putting you with a family that is willing to alter their cooking styles and with roommates with similar needs.) Segovia is a fairly small town, so everything was within walking distance, but might take a little while to walk there. The school was about a 15 minute walk from my house.

* Food:

The program does its best to try to place students together in a family household based off of their personal preferences and living styles, including eating patterns. If you have any dietary restrictions, they will try to take that into account. As for dining in the city, there are good restaurants and bars near the large plazas (Plaza Mayor and Plaza del Aqueducto). If students want some good sangria, I would recommend El Oso Blanco, which is located near the overlook of the city on Cervantes Street (I'm sure locals and the professors could point students in the right direction). The biggest issue regarding food is that Spaniards eat lunch as their main meal, and have lighter breakfasts and dinners. I constantly felt hungry due to the eating schedule while abroad because it was dramatically different than my schedule in the U.S.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There are several excursions to local cities included in the program. We went to Ávila, Salamanca, Toledo, and Madrid. We also spent an afternoon in Segovia'a castle, the Alcazar. The trips were nice, but it was difficult to understand the tour guides because they didn't break the whole group into smaller sizes, and the tour guide also spoke Spanish the whole time. Focusing on listening in a foreign language was challenging, but volume was certainly an issue at times as well. At the end of the program, the professors invited students and their host mothers to come meet for a snack after siesta time.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I didn't personally experience any issues with health while abroad. However, a friend on the program did get extremely ill with something similar to the stomach flu while I was there. She was taken to a local doctor or hospital by the program director to be treated. She was frustrated by

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)


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

  • Host Family
  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Weekend travel and In-town festivals
  • My host mom
  • Group Excursions
* What could be improved?
  • Roommate pairing
  • Amount of time spent on homework each night
  • Size of School Building
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? If I could describe a person who would be on this trip, I would say that this person needs to be ambitious. Not only do you have to be brave in general to study abroad in another country, but because of the immersive nature of this program, this student also needs to be able to adapt quickly and keep an open mind. Regardless of the program, study abroad students need to be understanding of the culture that they are in, and should try their best not to compare it to their home culture, which is a challenge. This person also needs to be passionate about learning -- not just the classes and language, but other aspects of the culture as well.