An amazing, immersive experience that allowed me to fall in love with Spain Past Review

By (Economics, Baylor University) - abroad from 01/11/2015 to 05/14/2015 with

Saint Louis University Campus in Madrid / SLU-Madrid

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
While abroad, I was exposed to a whole new world that did not resemble my conservative American background. Studying Spain allowed me to experience how people in another country live on a daily basis. Coming from America, I think we assume that our realities are representative of the rest of the world. This is not the case, and it was fascinating to read news reports and hear opinions from an international perspective because it was so different than those in the U.S. Also, I enjoyed the international influence at St. Louis Madrid because I got to have a Spanish experience while also learning from students from all over the world. I was able to take religion classes with other students from many diverse faith backgrounds and economic courses with students from countries that have very different political and economic systems. The experience changed my life, and it has been the best part of my college experience.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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)


* 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? 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? 2000 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? It is important to make friends with the local students. Try not to only hang out with other Americans, and try to develop a close relationship with your host family if you have one. When learning a language, it is important to be able to speak with a native speaker that you feel comfortable around. When you feel comfortable and at ease, you are more likely to listen more carefully and be more confident when you speak.

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

  • 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?
  • The International Campus
  • Madrid is an incredible city
  • I loved my host family and my house mates.
* What could be improved?
  • I think there should be some sort of language requirement because many students had no language background and made no attempts to immerse themselves in the language or culture.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I would have known that the school campus itself is very Americanized. I was expecting to have an immersive school experience. While I was able to immerse myself in the culture outside of school, during the school day I felt like I was at an American university. There are many students from the main campus in St. Louis, and they clump together in their same groups from home. They make up an overwhelming majority of the students, and they do not try to branch out and immerse themselves in the culture.

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.'