The Best Summer of My Life. Past Review

By (Nursing & Spanish, Auburn University) - abroad from 05/30/2015 to 07/16/2015 with

SAI Study Abroad: Barcelona - Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB)

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned so much about the Spanish culture and way of life! Visiting a foreign country for a couple weeks is great, but actually living in and adjusting to the culture for an extended period of time is absolutely life-changing and definitely worth every second!

Review Photos

SAI Programs: Barcelona – Study Abroad at Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona Photo SAI Programs: Barcelona – Study Abroad at Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona Photo

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.

The classes were super informational, and I learned so much! However, the professors were very good about recognizing that it was a summer program and that we needed some free time, too!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Mireia, the onsite coordinator, was the absolute best! She was always available to help with whatever we needed: booking travel, ordering food from the market, housing issues, etc. She always responded super quickly, and I never had a problem arise that she didn't help me take care of when I asked!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Our apartment was AMAZING. A perfect location with all the amenities that we needed and more! A cleaning lady came once ever 2 weeks to spruce up the common areas, too!

* Food:

Meals aren't provided by the program (except for the 2 dinners we had planned), but food in Spain is super cheap, so there were no issues! There was a supermarket and a produce market within 5 minutes of our apartment, and all the pots and pans that we needed to cook were provided. There were also plentiful cafes and restaurants in the neighborhood to eat out!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The neighborhood that we lived in was very quiet and full of locals instead of being super touristy. Although it was my fault for not branching out and talking to my neighbors very much, it would have been very easy to just sit in the plaza and strike up a conversation with someone. Mireia, the onsite coordinator, also knew some kids our age who lived in Barcelona if we wanted to go play soccer or grab some dinner with them if we asked!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't personally have any health issues during my stay, but SAI's health insurance would have covered the costs of any doctor's visits and prescriptions that I may have needed. I didn't need any specific vaccines to get into Spain, just the routine set, and there were no health issues that I encountered while I was there!

* Safety:

As far as big cities go, I thought Barcelona was very safe. I never felt like I was being followed or uncomfortable, which was a big positive for me. The one thing to watch out for was pickpocketers. Always always always keep your hand on your purse or wallet on busy streets (especially Les Rambles), in clubs, on the metro, or anywhere were people could bump into you and make it seem like an accident! I didn't personally have anything stolen, so just being aware will keep you safe!

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)

I spent a little above $100 a week on food and personal expenses, but it would have been easy to spend less than that since I ate out quite a bit. A typical full meal in a restaurant was around $10 total, and I spent about $30 a week on groceries. Lots of the activities and museums in the city were free for students or on certain days, so look up the website for what you want to do to see if you can get a discount and save some cash!

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Around or a little above $100


* 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

My Spanish isn't very good, but my classes definitely improved my skills! I usually spoke English with Mireia, but she would have been happy to speak Spanish with me if I had asked!

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? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? FLSP 3030, Spanish 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? Many people in Barcelona speak very good English, but insist on speaking Spanish with them! There were many times that my waiters started speaking English when they noticed me struggling with my Spanish, but I kept responding in English, and locals will appreciate the effort! Definitely avoid the touristy areas of the city where everything is in English and pick restaurants/hangouts in the neighborhoods where they won't switch languages as easily to get some practice.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* 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?
  • Housing
  • Excursions
  • New Friends!
* What could be improved?
  • Immersion in the language
  • Making friend with locals
  • Wider selection of non-business classes
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I wouldn't have packed so much! It's the middle of summer, so I didn't need 2 sweaters and 2 sweatshirts. Spaniards also never wear tshirts or athletic clothing (unless they're at the gym), so leave those behind, as well!

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.'