Barcelona: My home away from home Past Review

By (Indiana University of Pennsylvania / IUP) - abroad from 06/01/2015 to 07/16/2015 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot about myself - how I handle new situations, that I can survive very well on my own in a foreign land, and that people can be wonderful even if they don't speak your language or know your culture.

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.

The classes were engaging and encouraged participation. Even though I learned a lot, the workload was not overbearing and still allowed me to have a full and complete study abroad experience.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was given a 3 bedroom apartment, newly renovated and in a great location, for myself and only one other person. We had plenty of room and the building was close to everything we needed and more.

* Food:

The food in Spain was incredible! There was a fresh market right across the street and three other smaller markets within the block. When I didn't feel like cooking for myself there were plenty of affordable and delicious restaurants nearby serving a variety of types of food from all over the world.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I am not fluent in Spanish so there was always a slight language barrier, but the people were wonderful. I found help when I needed it (even from strangers) and just putting forth some effort to communicate in Spanish or even Catalan when possible went a long way to impressing and gaining the support of locals.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no healthcare related experiences but I was given an insurance card and shown what policies and systems were in place for me in case I did ever need anything.

* Safety:

I felt very safe while living in Barcelona. My building was locked at night and had a doorman during the days who learned and recognized our faces. The neighbors were mostly young families or young adults living together and were very friendly and welcoming. As in any city, there were areas that were known for pickpockets and other shady goings-on but as long as I kept my awareness there was nothing I ever felt worried about.

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)

Food was very affordable and we were instructed on how to make transportation easy and as cheap as possible as well. When I spent a lot of money it was usually when I was trying to (souvenirs, event tickets, excursions..) but when I needed to budget I could do so fairly easily.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $50-100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Take out cash in large amounts and keep the excess safe. If you minimize your transactions at the ATMs you will not have to pay as many fees in the long run. Also do not carry a ton of extra money around. You will find ways to spend it!

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

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?
  • Classes/Professors
  • Excursions and Trips
  • Location, Location, Location
* What could be improved?
  • Longer period of time
  • More interaction with the locals
  • An extra week before or after for travel.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Culture shock is way worse when returning home than it is when you get to your country of choice!

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.