Past Review


Saint Louis University Campus in Madrid / SLU-Madrid

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I want to go back as soon as I can. Living abroad was the best decision I've ever made in my life. I feel like a new person and I feel that I have a major edge in the workplace and in LIFE because I've had such a global experience. I am now planning to live and work in Ireland for the next three years. When I went away to Spain, I worried I would miss everyone and everything. I missed NOTHING and it was easy to stay in touch with everyone I missed. Now that I'm home, I cant wait to get away again!

Personal Information

The term and year this program took place: Fall 2009

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The academics were not necessarily rigorous, which was enjoyable. The classes required you to be there, and definitely were formatted to mirror that of an American institution, but they were not as challenging as I expected them to be. Professors were aware that students often had reasons for going abroad OTHER than academics (such as travel...)

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program was strong in the sense that the classes and environment were very American and extremely easy to adjust to. Also, there were a lot of Spanish and international students there as well, which made the experience highly cultural and fulfilling. The weaknesses were that a lot of the technical support (especially computers and internet) was lacking or difficult to get. Also the program could have had more involvement with its students. I felt that I would have liked to have been more involved on campus or joined a club or something, but this just wasn't readily available to study abroad students (only to permanent students). Nothing gets done on time either and the administration is pretty relaxed...but that's just the Spanish attitude and definitely something you got used to. Everything else was amazing. I especially loved my host family :)

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I LOVED my host family. I lived with a mother, father, their two young sons and their great grandmother. I also had four other female american roommates. All of us girls got along very well and the host family was especially welcoming and accomodating. We lived right by the Royal Palace and right next to the Opera with Maria del Mar and her family. The location was FANTASTIC and CENTRAL to everything, but, as a consequence, a bit noisy at night and during the afternoon. (Lots of street performers outside). Totally worth it though for the ease of accessibility and fabulous views. <br /><br /> LOVED everything. Location, family, and their apartment were all above my expectations. Neighborhood was very safe, cute, and RIGHT NEXT to Sol (the major place for nightlife!)

* Food:

there were some scary moments at my host family's dinner table (including a squid ink fettish I did not approve of) but everything else was very easy and tasty. They LOVE ham. it goes in or on or with everything they eat. I'm lactose intolerant and I never had an issue over there with food, which was nice. Definitely hit up local places for food. they're all mostly good.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It was very hands off and make of it what you will. If you want a social experience, get out at night and do fun things during the day. Travel a lot! The university organized some day trips in the beginning and that was how I met a lot of my friends. They also did a good job of advertising local and Spanish holidays so that students were aware of the culture behind them! My favorite thing I did in Madrid was see a rap battle/ concert in Plaza de Espana on La Noche en Blanco. AMAZING and the rappers were very good!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Madrid is a big city, like New York. Be careful or your stuff will get stolen. Dont act ignorant and drunk on the streets and keep a good head on your shoulders and no one will bother you. Health issues and support were amazing on campus. Pickpocketing is prominent in the city (as I said) but I ALWAYS felt very safe walking the streets alone at night! Everyone is out on the streets from 12pm to 6am. The city is a LOT like New York. They never sleep and I always felt extremely 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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I spent about an average of 30 euro a week when I wasn't traveling? BUT I travelled almost every weekend so its hard to say how much I would have spent without travel.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Bring a lot more money than you think you need. Its also good to keep some cash hidden away in your room/ somewhere safe, just in case your cards get stolen or your bank decides to randomly cancel them (which happened to me a lot).


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
Language acquisition improvement?

I learned SO much Spanish from taking a class there, living with a Spanish speaking host family, and also from interacting with the locals a lot. I definitely feel much more comfortable speaking Spanish than I ever have in my life. I love the language! It seemed just as I started to gain fluency though that I had to leave. I would definitely recommend staying for a year so you get to really USE the spanish you learn while studying here!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Keep an open mind and an open wallet. If you come back broke, you've had an amazing time ;)

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Americans in Paris

Course Department: English
Instructor: Matthew Kineen
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Fabulous! Loved the content--all very interesting. Class discussion felt very relavent to the study abroad experience and gave me a way to talk about my experience to other Americans. There would have been a field trip to Paris but our class was very small and it was too expensive so I just went on my own trip there and had the professor give me notes :)
Credit Transfer Issues: Not so far...
Course Name/Rating:

19th Century Art

Course Department: Art History
Instructor: Fabiola Martinez
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Very Spanish style lecture course. MUST go to class to get any notes as there is no assigned textbook and tests are all lecture based. Tests were difficult but overall the class was very manageable.
Credit Transfer Issues: None.
Course Name/Rating:

International Mass Communication

Course Department: Communications
Instructor: Erika Polson
Instruction Language: English
Comments: LOVED this course! Very informative and a great way to do international studies AND American studies while abroad. The course was challenging but in a very manageable and interesting way. Course expectations definitely took into account students' desire to travel and get the most out of their short experience in Madrid.
Credit Transfer Issues: Nope!
Course Name/Rating:

Spanish 1

Course Department: Spanish
Instructor: Alicia Ramos
Instruction Language: Spanish (and limited English)
Comments: My FAVORITE course while abroad! The professor was amazing and I miss her already! Other than leading an engaging class, she gave us great tips on places to go in Madrid and also helped us learn useful slang and local sayings. Definitely would recommend this course (or simply the professor) to everyone!
Credit Transfer Issues: No