Language immersion success January 13, 2020

By (Amherst College) - abroad from 08/19/2019 to 12/18/2019 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Getafe

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes, the most valuable thing I gained was exposure to the language. I also spent a lot of time with Spanish university students but only through a prior connection I had, so I'm not sure I would've found as many opportunities to speak Spanish without having this prior connection.

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.

Rigorous in a different sense than universities in the United States. Less intellectual rigor but difficult at the end of the semester studying for exams.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Staff were very engaged and ready to help despite being somewhat understaffed for the housing search process.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Housing search week was made difficult because there was not sufficient assistance to students during those five days.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Middlebury does a great job at setting an expectation that you participate in the local culture and practice your language skills.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Insurance and emergency action were topics that were covered during orientation and I felt pretty comfortable.

* Safety:

Madrid is a very safe city with really good public transportation systems.

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

I did not realize how unstructured the program is before selecting it. Arguably, this helps with the immersion but I might've preferred a program with more programmed activities instead of only a week of orientation and nothing else.


* 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)

Cost varies widely depending on lifestyle while abroad but it is very possible to keep expenses low.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 40 euros
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Although the apartment rental seems like the cheapest option, homestay is probably the most cost effective option.


* 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

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? Fluent
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? Find varied activities in which to practice the language so it is not something you only practice in one or two situations. The more different environments where you can practice Spanish with varied groups of people, the faster you will learn.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • Location (Madrid)
  • Emphasis on Language Learning
  • Program Headquarters
* What could be improved?
  • Housing Search Week
  • Advice on choosing classes
  • More structured language exchange
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known to choose the homestay; apartment could've been the cheaper option but with the strict program rules that I didn't know ahead of time, it became the same price as a homestay.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Periodismo y Cambio Social en España

Course Department: Periodismo
Instructor: Fransisco Herranz Fernandez
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: Class was challenging to stay engaged. Professor brought in prepared notes and read from them in a monotone every class. Very difficult for an international student to follow along. Exam was a series of very specific questions that were unfair for the test takers.
Credit Transfer Issues: