Incredible music and math and friends and food and family in Spain. August 02, 2019

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 01/14/2019 to 05/31/2019 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Madrid

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes, it was absolutely worthwhile. More importantly than the language (which was a very important factor), I learned a lot about the Spanish lifestyle. I feel as though they maintain a less frenetic pace of life than that in the United States, and live with less complications. My time abroad gave me the ability to see my own culture from an outside perspective, and I'm extremely grateful for that.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family was like, the best EVER.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Madrid has many thieves. I never had anything stolen from me, but my friends did. Other than that, I felt safe.

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

I loved my semester abroad! It was such a formative experience for me: I learned a lot about the language, culture, and art, not to mention the bonds I made with my host family and friends there. I couldn't have possibly hoped for a better six months. Yes, I would totally do it over 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)

Before I left, Middlebury provided an estimate in the ballpark of $9,000 or thereabouts for total spending during the whole semester. I found that to be pretty accurate, not higher nor lower, in my experience.

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

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
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 300-350
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Not really. Yes, it's important to know the grammar, and the vocabulary, and the pronunciation, but in my opinion there is absolutely nothing that can replace going to a a country where the language is spoken and experiencing it for yourself. No amount of preparation in some other country can be substituted for that, from my perspective.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* 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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Opportunities to meet locals
  • Immersion in another culture
  • Gaining new perspective
* What could be improved?
  • Geometry of Curves and Surfaces
  • Preparation for re-entry to the U.S.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I hadn't worried as much about what may go wrong while abroad. If I could, I would tell myself not to worry, and that everything is going to turn out alright.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Advanced Communication

Course Department: Spanish
Instructor: Carmen Caballo Sanchiz
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: Yes, yes, and yes. Carmen was a challenging yet motivational teacher. Her lecture style was energetic and highly effective. She was a terrific professor.
Credit Transfer Issues: No. But then again, I haven't finished the process of transferring my credits yet. So, I don't know if any troubles will arise before then.
Course Name/Rating:

Nation and Narration

Course Department: Spanish
Instructor: Patricia Rodriguez
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: Again, yes to all of the above. Patricia was an extremely organized, insightful, and inspirational. I learned so, so much about Spanish language in her class in addition to Carmen's. I cannot over-emphasize how wonderful it was to take their classes.
Credit Transfer Issues: No
Course Name/Rating:

Geometry of Curves and Surfaces

Course Department: Math
Instructor: Jose Jaime Garcia
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: Why is there not an option to give 0 stars? I would if I could. Jose Jaime was disorganized, unhelpful, and incompetent as a teacher. He did not explain mathematical concepts well, nor introduce new material in a clear manner, nor answer student's many questions effectively. Practically everything I learned in this course was a result of reading the text, rather than his lectures. Perhaps the only consolation was that he retired at the end of the academic year, so future students will not have to endure his "class."
Credit Transfer Issues: No
Course Name/Rating:

Differential Equations

Course Department: Mathematics
Instructor: Antonio Sanchez de la Calle
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: Antonio was a decent teacher. Strict, but fair. I feel as though his teaching style was well-aligned with his expectations of us on exams etc. Maybe his course could have been improved by providing us with a little more opportunity to practice the material ourselves (exercises, problem sets, and so on). Overall, it was a well-run class.
Credit Transfer Issues: No.