Amazing Past Review

By (English Education, Presbyterian College) - abroad from 01/13/2014 to 05/23/2014 with

Pablo de Olavide University: Seville - Hispanic Studies Semester

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was so worthwhile to study abroad!! It challenged me so much and I grew so much as a person. I learned so much about Spain and the world. It's hard to explain how much living in another place changes you for the better. :)

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I was very impressed by the international program at UPO. Classes were rigorous (even the ones that were taught in English). You have to work hard, but it's so worth it and you learn so much!! Professors all have office hours and are willing to help you. The library also has plenty of resources for papers, research, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The international program staff at UPO are very accessible. They're helpful and if you have any questions about Sevilla, ask them (they even helped my roommate and I find a good place to buy our cell phones). They're personable and will call you by name even if they've only met you once or twice.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved living with my host family. My host mother was amazing! I recommend staying with a family if you can- this provides so much intercultural insight and you get to practice Spanish, eat homecooked Spanish couldn't have been better!

* Food:

My host mom made the best Spanish food. It was really cool to see what Spaniards normally eat! (sidenote: meal times are different in Spain, so observing lunch and dinner at "Spanish" meal times was a neat experience too).

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

All of the international classes are with international students (even the ones taught in Spanish). This made it kind of hard to meet Spanish students. On the other hand, it forces you to branch out and meet Spaniards at social events or through school clubs, community events, etc. I think it's a positive and a negative.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I took a cooking class at UPO but I have a very severe food allergy to shrimp and shellfish. My professor was very understanding and accommodating, so I could still take the tapas class. It was great. There are many health centers in Sevilla and you will probably live close to one, but I found that most people just went to the pharmacy when they needed something (there is one on every corner in Sevilla). The pharmacists will help you find the medicine you need if you are sick, have a cold, need ibuprofen, etc.

* Safety:

Sevilla is a big city and everyone goes out at night. I thought it would be dangerous but it wasn't bad at all. There was never a time when I felt unsafe or threatened, even walking back home at night. Just use your common sense and be on guard- it's better to be safe than sorry no matter where you are.

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)

Since I lived with a host family, my food costs were already covered. Living costs in Spain for extras (such as snacks, going out for food with friends, etc.) were not much pricier than they were in America.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? probably $20
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you go to UPO, they have a program where you can sign up to tutor someone in English. This is a great way to make money while abroad. There are always more people who want tutoring lessons than want to tutor, so you'll get a few emails from the international office about tutoring opportunities. Take them up on it! It's a great way to meet Spaniards, make some spending money, and practice intercultural dialogue. :)


* 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

All of my classes were in Spanish except for one, so we were encouraged to use Spanish in all of our class participation and activities. Professors always encouraged us to make friends with Spaniards outside of class. It's a great way to a) make new friends b) learn about Spanish culture and c) practice the language. UPO also did an intercambio program where they paired up international students with UPO students. This was a great way to practice Spanish (and for UPO students to practice English) and get to know Sevilla. They also hosted activities such as round tables and movie nights to get UPO students and international students meeting.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
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? Advanced Spanish Composition and Conversation
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? Stay with a host family if you get the opportunity! Get involved on campus or in the community (there are lots of intercambio meetings in Sevilla too, not just at UPO). Use the web to find out about events happening in Sevilla, then go and meet Spanish people! Talk to people whenever you get the chance. Sevillans are really open people so don't be scared. Travel within Spain and to Morocco or Portugal if you get the chance (if you can travel with a group of Spanish students, do it! Many student organizations will arrange trips and lots of Spanish students go on them too). In the spring tourists/fellow travelers will often ask you where landmarks in Sevilla are; if you feel comfortable, try to give them directions in Spanish. :)

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

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • 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?
  • challenging classes
  • staff at UPO
  • social events
* What could be improved?
  • international students in the same classes as Spanish students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known that it's okay to go somewhere by yourself! It took me a while to realize that I could explore Sevilla on my own (I thought I would get lost). It's important to be able to find new places and try new things by yourself, as well as with other people.

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!