More than Madrid Past Review

By (Baylor University) - abroad from 01/12/2015 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?
So worthwhile!!! I could write forever, so here is a brief essay: I always wanted to experience the world on my own, and after years of working towards that goal, I realized my dream. During my junior year, I spent an entire semester living in Madrid, Spain. Through a four-month study abroad program, I attended a local university in the picturesque Spanish capital. Being my first visit to Europe, I made the most of every second abroad, and came back with plenty of memories, along with lessons learned and improved skills. While in Madrid, I had an excellent semester of classes with professors and students from across the globe. They helped me not only appreciate new cultures, but also delve into new fields. For example, I had the pleasure of working on a research project as the personal assistant to a psychology professor at my international university. Through this experience, I learned how the overall research process works; starting with an idea and developing it into a final proposal. Although I spent my weekdays in Madrid, most weekends I traveled to other countries and appreciated unique cultures everywhere I explored. Undoubtedly, my cultural awareness grew as I finally saw history and art with my own eyes. While traveling, I also learned how to overcome any unexpected scenarios that came up. I am so glad I explored Europe, because I not only had a lot of fun, but also became more adaptable and confident with myself. In addition to my travels, I spoke Spanish on a daily basis in Spain until I earned back the complete fluency I had as a child. Even when I found myself outside of Spain, I learned how to surpass language barriers to continue connecting with people.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 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?

I lived with a family, but it was not working out (did not feel comfortable with them), so my 3 other roommates and I switched. Our new host mom Lola was the greatest host mom we could have ever asked for. She was more than worth the hassle and awkward encounters caused by the switch.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Granted, I speak Spanish fluently, so I fit in quite well, and was very comfortable hanging out where the locals do.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

N/A never got sick thankfully

* Safety:

I never truly felt unsafe, even when alone. Try to travel and explore the city with others, but Madrid as a whole was a truly safe and welcoming city.

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)

If you wanted to live cheaply, you totally could. Without travel expenses, I could easily spend under 30 euros a week on food/necessities. With weekend travel, I would suspect I spent an average of 150 euros a week.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 30
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Take enough cash to get started. Have a credit card with a chip


* 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

Not as much as I would have liked. Take one of the courses in Spanish if you wish to use it on a daily basis.

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? none
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? Find other students at school who would like to practice their English, or Spanish. That way you can exchange the benefit of practicing your spanish and their english/spanish.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • People that I met (locals, Americans, and international students, oh the stories I heard!)
  • Places I traveled to (and how easy travel was from Madrid)
  • Food mm mm
* What could be improved?
  • Interactions between permanent students and visiting
  • More Get togethers for the visiting students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? -Get a credit card with a chip -Use air b&b as an option for housing abroad -Be flexible, nothing is as bad as it first seems

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.'