Awesome Experience That I Would Recommend Trying July 30, 2018

By (High School) - abroad from 06/30/2018 to 07/28/2018 with

Sol Abroad - Granada, Spain High School Spanish Immersion

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This was completly worthwhile. I gained independence and learned how to be alone for some time. I lived with a roommate, but sometimes I would be alone, and it taught me to appreciate the time I had alone. I also learned how to respect the things that I have that they don't have in Granada. For example, my host family did not have air conditioning, which isn't something I thought too hard about before coming to the program. Water is also limited there, so I was encouraged to shut the shower off between shampooing, conditioner, etc., something I don't have to do at home. I learned to appreciate the things that I have here that they don't have in other countries or cultures.

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.

I think I learned a lot from studying at the University of Granada CLM. My teachers taught me a lot and being able to learn in a classroom with real Spanish people exposed me to the type of language actually used in daily life. It also required me to not rely on my teachers knowing specific words in english, instead having to explain them. The class pushed me in a positive way and overall helped me improve in Spanish.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Our onsite directors were amazing. They both knew so much about the different things we were doing and helped us learn a lot about the culture and dynamics in Granada. Our activties and excursions were all very organized and a lot of fun, and I think their attitudes and readiness contributed greatly to that.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host mom was very nice and made amazing food. It wasn't always that easy to connect with her since she wasn't always in the house, but I enjoyed talking to her and we had good conversations when she was. The apartment was nice too and in a good neighboorhood, but it was a bit far from the different activties we had going on. I would have preferred to live even a few minutes closer since it took us about 35-40 minutes to walk to school.

* Food:

I really enjoyed the food here. I don't normally try super new things, but I'm glad I did so in Granada. The paella was amazing and I loved the different small foods and tapas provided in different places around the city.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt super immersed. There were words we used that were special to Spain and the Andalucian accent wasn't hard to understand after a little bit. We got used to eating our meals later and it was easy to pick up on the things people do frequently, such as staying out late. Our activties and free time were good times to learn about the culture and try to immerse ourselves in it.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Granada was super safe. I never once felt in danger or as though someone were going to steal something from me. There were a lot of people out at night, so if we were ever out late we definitely didn't feel as though we were alone.

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

I think Sol did an amazing job of immersing me into the Granada culture. Between living with a host family and attending classes every day, my Spanish improved by a mile. The activties were amazing and taught me a lot about how different countries live compared to the U.S. Granada is also a city full of Arabic culture, and I got to experience that to.

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)

I spent a good amount of money, at least a hundred or more on food and activties I chose to do outside of the covered cost of the program, and the rest on gifts and things I bought for myself. I think if you plan ahead, you may only end up spending 200 or 300, but that's if you have a host family who buys and makes you food. Otherwise, I'm sure it would've costed more to live.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Every week I'd say I probably spent a little over 100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Definitely don't buy stuff (souvenires/clothes) early on. I would wait until your last week or week and a half to really buy stuff. If you want to buy things ocassionaly it's fine but otherwise you should wait because then sales might be better (summer sales were amazing and stuff was normally inexpensive) and you might find things you would've regretted not having money for.

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

I used it in class, in the streets at shops and at home with my host family. Sometimes even with my directors or during activties. I used Spanish a lot.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Spanish 2H
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? They had some activties at CLM called inter-cambios which was where you could go talk to people who already spoke spanish but wanted to learn your language and then you could talk to them in your language and they could talk to you in Spanish. it's a good way to practice it. Also, try to do things with your host family. Had I had more host family members, I might have done more things with them outside of the house where I would've used 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

  • 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?
  • Granada itself
  • The excursions like to the beach and to the mountain villages
  • Having a roommate
* What could be improved?
  • More activities
  • More suggestions for things to do on free afternoons
  • Shorter classes (maybe by an hour. Four hours was a lot of attention to ask for from anyone, no matter what subject we would be learning. But i still enjoyed classes)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known how fast the time goes by. The day I left it felt like only a few days ago I had arrived. I wish I had taken advantage of some of the free afternoons. I definitely did fun stuff, but I could've done more on the days where we had extra free time. I also wish I had known to walk around a little more and explore parts of the city I hadn't before.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!