Spain: Exactly What I Wanted Past Review

By (Spanish/Hispanic Cultures, Juniata College) for

Pablo de Olavide University: Seville - Hispanic Studies Semester

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My experience was absolutely worthwhile. I would go again in a minute if allowed the opportunity. History classes in the US don't always cover Spain/Spanish history/Spanish culture very well (apart from financing Columbus and conquering much of Latin America) or talk much, if at all, about Portugal) or how northern Africa influences Europe. A year in Spain really helped fill in those gaps for me. It helps me learn to actually see things, and to be in Spain, and travel in Europe makes all those history and culture lessons really sink in. My year abroad made me much more aware of the rest of the world, and how other people think. My time in Spain changed my short term plans greatly. I was originally a biology major, but an interest in Spain (and lots of Spanish credits from the Spanish university) converted me to a Spanish major. A year in Spain did not greatly change my future plans. I am still planning to follow a similar career path to what I had in mind before going abroad (occupational therapy and art) but having a greater command of the Spanish language allows me greater range of choice in where (geographically) I go with those jobs. Spain and most of Latin America are open to me now. Even within the US, more places are open to me, given that I speak Spanish.

Review Photos

Pablo de Olavide University: Seville - Hispanic Studies Semester Photo Pablo de Olavide University: Seville - Hispanic Studies Semester Photo Pablo de Olavide University: Seville - Hispanic Studies Semester Photo Pablo de Olavide University: Seville - Hispanic Studies Semester Photo

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.

The program for international students (who were mostly American) was really good about offering courses related to Spanish history, Spanish literature, and the like, not just more vocabulary/verb conjugation drills.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration was very helpful, and made it very easy for us to get where we needed to be, and were very good about orienting us to bus schedules, and so on. We even had a few organized field trips. The one weakness is that those who came in with an intermediate/high level of proficiency were not always pushed as hard as we could have been to take more classes with Spanish students, not just with international students. The program worked well for those with low -intermediate language skills, but less well high intermediate/advanced skills.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Living with a host family helped my language development immensely. I lived with lovely people, in a nice neighborhood.

* Food:

My host family and the program administration was really good about telling us where to go to get what we needed (if the host family didn't/couldn't provide).

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The program was really good in that we had classes 4 days a week, which facilitated travel around the province (and the country), and exploration on our own terms. We had a few structured field trips, to show us more local history/culture (which I loved). We saw a flamenco performance (guitar, singer, and dancer), visited historic sites (Italica), and went to see a movie on one occasion with some Spanish students.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Sevilla was, overall, a safe city. We were warned about the sketchy neighborhood, so we could avoid that part of town. But, the same with any city, once in a while one would encounter people that make you nervous.

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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I spent a lot of time in classes with other international students, but less with Spanish students. I think that if we international students (at least those who came in with intermediate/advanced language skills) were placed/integrated more into classes with/for Spanish students, we would progress more.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Exchange

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I think that someone who is relatively self-motivated would do well in this program. While the program does provide some structure (some GOOD structure), it allowed students time for their own explorations. Someone who is not self-motivated would not make the best use of that free time. Self-motivated students would be able to find what they need to meet their own needs.