I want to go back and create new memories! August 29, 2023

By (International and Global Studies, Middlebury College) - abroad from 08/22/2022 to 12/16/2022 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Madrid

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was definitely worthwhile, and I learned more about Spanish culture to some extent, but I didn't feel completely immersed socially.

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.

Overall, I enjoyed my classes at both the Middlebury office in Madrid and the classes at UC3. However, I have a very negative experience in my language class with the professor (elaborated in individual course review).

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Overall, it was good, however there was a lack of communication in the weeks leading up to the program. Even though we are adults in this setting, transportation from the airport to housing arrangements weren't clear, but I will elaborate on my housing experience in the next section. Overall, I don't feel like there was specific information that should have been shared with students beforehand that were not included in the handbook and/or the slideshows.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Overall, I adored my living situation. At the beginning, there was a lot of confusing, miscommunication, and tension because of the access to certain kitchen supplies because of the misuse from former students. The specificity of access in the house pre-arrival and pre-orientation was not clear and because of the early stage language barriers, it created a lot of difficulties in the beginning. It turned out fine and overall I had a great experience, however, the tensions at the beginning could have potentially been avoided.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I personally wish there were more opportunities to engage with local Spaniards, especially since Madrid is such an international city. It can also be difficult for introverts to engage, so relying on the network of the program can be very helpful.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I became very sick halfway through the semester and the health resources were extremely helpful.

* Safety:

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

I personally felt that socially it was difficult, and I personally don't want to be in another academic setting when I do to Spain. Other than that, I would still recommend the program.


* 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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? N/A
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Save money beforehand so you have spending money. If there are students of a certain socio-economic status that can financially afford to travel more and engage in certain activities, DO NOT feel the pressure to participate if your financial situation does not allow that. The pressure is real and can sometimes feel uncomfortable, but don't let that get in the way of having a good experience.


* 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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 300-level
How many hours per day did you use the language? 0
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Taking immersive classes is very helpful. I've heard amazing things about the Summer Language Schools, but they're not always the most affordable or cost-effective programs.

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?
  • My host mom
  • The academic immersion at UC3M
  • How accessible the administrative staff was
* What could be improved?
  • Communication
  • Social immersive experiences
  • The grammar/technical class with Beatriz Del Valle
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew how many Middlebury student friend groups were planning ahead to go together. This made it difficult for students on this program to feel included and such. I feel like social immersive experiences could've helped a little.

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:

Sintaxis Avanzada

Course Department: Spanish
Instruction Language: Spanish
Comments: The professor's teaching methods were very frustrating and unclear. Despite my efforts in attending tutoring and doing the homework assignments, I felt my Spanish from a technical perspective got worse than better. The homework assignments were not always clear, and her explanations would leave me more confused. The structure of the class was also difficult because there was not a coherent flow between topics and despite students expressing their confusion, the professor would not spend more time on a subject because she didn't want us to fall behind schedule. This just resulted in an overall confused class. I heard very similar experiences from my peers. I personally felt very strongly about the class and don't want future students to have the same experience as me. I do want to clarify that the professor herself was not a disagreeable person, but her methods and structure were counterintuitive and made many things more difficult and complicated.
Credit Transfer Issues: