Great time in Madrid while improving language skills July 10, 2018

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 01/15/2018 to 05/18/2018 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Madrid

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes! I gained a lot of independence and confidence; my Spanish skills also improved greatly.

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 took 3 courses at the Sede Prim and really enjoyed 2 out of the 3. The grammar course was not engaging and moved at a glacial pace. However, I also took 2 other courses that were very interesting and really connected the students with the culture, history, and people of Madrid, Spain, and greater Europe.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

While initially the administration seemed to be very energetic and helpful, it quickly became clear that in the face of adversity, they did not handle situations well. When it came to students' problems with housing, classes, or well-being, the administration did not always support students in the most respectful and professional way.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in a great shared apartment in a central neighborhood. I loved the independence of an apartment and being able to practice my Spanish with my roommates.

* Food:

Great food in Madrid.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It wasn't always easy to make Spanish friends or blend in, but I felt that the Spanish were very welcoming and kind as we tried to integrate ourselves.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I went to physical therapy at an English-speaking clinic and the care was great.

* Safety:

Madrid is a very safe, clean city with people on the streets at almost all hours. No matter the time of night, I felt very safe walking home or taking the metro.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

I loved Madrid and my classes and internship, so I would definitely do it all again.

Finances

* 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)

Madrid is very inexpensive and groceries/food were generally very cheap. It really depends on what you want to do and where you want to eat.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Roughly $75 a week.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Pretty standard, but don't eat out for every meal. Groceries are inexpensive in Spain and I saved a lot of money by cooking at home for most meals.

Language

* 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

We had a language pledge that required us to speak in Spanish all the time.

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? I completed a 300 level course, which was after 1 year of beginning and 1 year of 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? Don't give up if it's difficult, people are generally pretty understanding and excited when you try to speak their language.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
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?
  • Living in Madrid
  • Taking Blogging in Spain
  • Making Spanish friends
* What could be improved?
  • Administration
  • Communication
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Going abroad isn't for everyone, but if you go in with open expectations and curiosity for learning more about the culture, country, and people, it'll be an educational experience no matter what.

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:

Blogging in Spain

Course Department:
Instructor: Armando Figueroa
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: Armando was an incredible professor who shared a lot of wisdom and knowledge with us about Spain. This class was very formative for my understanding of Spain and connection to the country. Armando always had interesting topics or events to discuss and the task of writing a blog was a great exercise for practicing our Spanish. He also gave us opportunities to explore Madrid outside of the classroom and challenged us to improve our speaking.
Credit Transfer Issues: No.