PRESHCO, the experience of a lifetime January 21, 2016

By (Spanish, Wellesley College) - abroad from 08/28/2015 to 12/17/2015 with

PRESHCO: Study Abroad in Córdoba, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My time abroad taught me that I can do anything. Between international and cross-continental travel, navigating new cities in a foreign language, making myself at home in a different culture, and immersing myself in a dynamic experience, I learned I am able to adapt to anything. Studying abroad gave me so much self-confidence, and I also gained unforgettable friends, both international and from the US.

Review Photos

PRESHCO: Cordoba - University of Cordoba Photo PRESHCO: Cordoba - University of Cordoba Photo PRESHCO: Cordoba - University of Cordoba Photo PRESHCO: Cordoba - University of Cordoba Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Academics in the program are divided into two segments. The first are PRESHCO sponsored classes, taken only with other students in the program. These were lovely. I loved all of my professors and felt that my Spanish improved as a result. However, none of them could be described as particularly rigorous: I did no more than an hour or two of work each week. In addition to PRESHCO classes, each student must take at least one direct enrollment class with the Universidad de Córdoba. These classes are difficult to select because they don't fit with the PRESHCO schedule. There is also very little guidance regarding class choice and almost no logistical or personal support once enrolled. That being said, my UCO class did give me insight into the Spanish higher education system, however I did not learn much else.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

PRESHCO is run by three amazing Spanish women who are absolute gems. They work incredibly hard and are wonderful individuals.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family was wonderful, I have no complaints. I felt welcomed from the start and had many conversations with my host mom and dad. Living with a host family was also the most significant means of improving my Spanish.

* Food:

My host mom cooked every day, and it was always delicious. If I didn't like something she was always good-natured about not making it again. She also would always encourage me to eat more, which I think is typical of most host moms. Whenever I ate out, the food was also delicious and very cheap. Spanish cuisine is very tasty, not spicy at all, and I would describe it as comfort food.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt very integrated with the culture in Córdoba. Living with a host family helped because I was constantly immersed in Spanish culture, and I also made sure to spend a lot of time with my Spanish friends. While it is very easy to only hang out with other American students, the best way to become integrated is to put yourself out there and make friends with UCO students. PRESHCO makes the introduction for you with their conversation partner program, but it's really up to each individual student to branch out.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not have any significant problems with healthcare, but I had two different brief illnesses and my host mom was very kind in taking care of me through each.

* Safety:

I never felt unsafe in Córdoba, even walking alone very late at night. That being said, you should always be self-aware. Most of Spain has problems with pickpocketing, so that is something to be cautious of.

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

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)

Spain is incredibly cheap, especially food and drinks. However, life in Spain is usually spent "en la calle", meaning it is very easy to spend money in small amounts on coffee or other beverages.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 30 euros, approximately
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? PRESHCO presents you with large amounts of cash, so I recommend only placing as much money in your wallet each week as you are willing to spend. It is also never a good idea to carry large amounts of cash around due to the possibility for theft.

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

While PRESHCO did encourage us to speak Spanish amongst each other, most students tended to speak in English. However, in class, at home with my host family, and when I was with my local Spanish friends I spoke exclusively Spanish, so I felt comfortable speaking Spanish.

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? A higher 200-level Spanish course
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? Make local friends and put in the effort required to make sure you are speaking Spanish to them.

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
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?
  • Meeting new people
  • Living with my host family
  • Exploring Córdoba
* What could be improved?
  • UCO class registration and support
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Spanish houses are freezing during the winter. Like 55 degrees Fahrenheit. And they don't turn the heat on.

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 Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.