Finding my Spanish Mom in Córdoba May 26, 2019

By (Amherst College) - abroad from 01/27/2019 to 05/24/2019 with

PRESHCO: Study Abroad in Córdoba, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
One of the most important things I gained was a perspective of world history from a country that wasn't the U.S. It can be a little perturbing, especially to see how history is told from a country that was a major European colonial power, but it's eye opening.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Academics were okay, but definitely not rigorous. Classes in Spain are structured and organized different than in the U.S, to the point where they appear disorganized. Would recommend making a friend in each class to help you out.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved my host mom! The families have been working for this program for years and really know what they're doing. I always felt at home.

* Food:

My host mom was a wonderful cook! Other students had different experiences, but my host mom made sure I was happy with the meals and changed something if I didn't like it.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I was lucky enough to not get sick, but I do know that other students who had gotten ill received help and advice from the program admins.

* Safety:

Córdoba is one of the safest places I've ever been in. I felt that I could be walking at all hours of the day and be fine. As a woman, this was particularly important and felt fresh and new. Definitely a factor I wish I could take with me to the U.S.

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

I just always felt very supported. I never felt like alone at any moment.

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)

PRESHCO is designed so that you could essentially live in Spain for free. You live with a host family who feeds you every meal, unless you wanna buy some snacks or street food or stuff. The host family also washes and dries your clothes and you get a 450 euro stipend throughout the semester for cultural expenses.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Depended, ranged from 5 to 30 euros
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Grocery stores! We'd always fall for pretty pastry shops with their wares placed right in the display windows, but often the exact same treats could be found for way cheaper in stores like Piedra, Mercadona and Mas y Mas.

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? 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? Writing Workshop
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? Watch a lot of Spanish TV shows. Helps to attune your ears and you pick up on catch phrases and lingo.

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

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Host Families
  • Travelling
  • Supportive admins
* What could be improved?
  • Integration into UCO
  • Programs that include Spanish natives
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew that the UCO campus was dispersed across the city. Coming from a small liberal arts, I wasn't expecting to have to commute from one side of the city to another getting between classes. I wouldn't have chosen the classes that I had if I'd known.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'