SAI in Barcelona, the ultimate experience! October 18, 2017

By (Colorado State University) - abroad from 01/07/2017 to 04/27/2017 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was definitely worthwhile. I learned how to be independent and how to ask for help. I also learned how to be culturally aware and how to look at things with a different perspective. I learned how to adapt to new environments and I definitely improved my social skills and confidence. I also learned some valuable information within the classroom. Overall, this program has so much to offer and it was definitely worth all the time, money, and efforts.

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.

The International program at UAB in Barcelona provided a wide range of classes and they offered some very unique and interesting classes. I had some amazing professors who were very knowledgeable and reputable. It was somewhat easier than the courses I take in the states, but it was a perfect balance. They were rigorous courses but the professors knew there's more to learn while abroad than just in the classroom so the homework load was a bit lighter. Plus, we had no classes on Fridays!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

We were allowed to stop by the SAI office almost whenever we wanted and there was a 24/7 number we could call if we needed any help at all.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved my apartment, it was adorable and very nicely furnished and decorated. I absolutely adore my roommates, I am still very close with them. I did not give housing five stars simply because I wish I lived in a home stay because I wish I learned more Spanish while in Barcelona.

* Food:

For the most part I was on my own for my food. The campus had little to no options so you had to bring your own food or venture around in order to find a meal while on campus.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

SAI did a great job of taking us on tours and teaching us about the local culture and lifestyle but because I lived with five other Americans, sometimes it was difficult to submerge myself. Although, I did have the opportunity to have dinner with a family every week and I was also able to volunteer at a primary school.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I always felt safe. Living with a bunch of people definitely helped because I had little to no reason to be walking around alone. Also, I could call my coordinator at any hour of the day and that was reassuring. Although, I did get my cell phone pick-pocketed on the metro. so beware! It is very common in Barcelona.

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

I absolutely loved SAI. In my opinion it is the best program that goes to Barcelona. It is one of the only small programs there which allows you to really get to know your other kids in your program.

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)

You definitely should save up spending money before you go. I was on a budget and I wasn't able to go on a lot of trips or go out to eat with my friends. You can definitely get by with a little bit, just know that you might have to miss out sometimes.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Maybe $100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? No--you're only abroad once! Pay it back once you're home. Money comes and goes and this is an opportunity and an experience that will be with you forever. Make the most of it and treat yourself! Although, if it really is a constraint for you, just cook all your own meals, stay in Barcelona (it's much cheaper than most parts of Europe in my experiences) and avoid buying clothes. You can't bring it all home and you're there to experience, not to buy clothing.

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

My program definitely encouraged it, although you really had to put yourself out there to take advantage of it.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Spanish II at the college level
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! Otherwise, you're on your own to practice and it's harder than it seems to make yourself 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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Small, close-knit group
  • Lots of excursions
  • Unique and interesting classes
* What could be improved?
  • More submersion
  • More opportunities to practice Spanish
  • -
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I now know that not everything goes according to plan. Sometimes things don't go your way, and that's ok, if not good! It is an opportunity to learn and to test yourself. There is good in every situation.

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.