An AMAZING cultural [maybe once-in-a-lifetime] opportunity! July 27, 2019

By (Texas A&M University - College Station) - abroad from 05/30/2019 to 07/02/2019 with

Sol Education Abroad - Custom Faculty-Led Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned about a culture that we normally don't study here in the U.S. and I met so many interesting and amazing people not only from Spain, but all over the world. Definitely worthwhile!

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.

I have traveled abroad, specifically Mexico, so I've had exposure to another culture - but never Spain. So, I went wanting to learn more about their history, culture, daily life, etc. The classes were challenging, but so worth it! The classes challenged you to explore the city of Granada and made you want to learn more.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Sol and the administration was always attentive! They helped guide me from the moment I first applied, upon arrival, throughout my stay, and when I felt.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family was AMAZING! I loved how welcoming they were and really made it feel like I had a family in Spain. I rarely got homesick.

* Food:

Food was INCREDIBLE! My host mom always made home-cooked meals for lunch and dinner. I had to get used to how light the breakfast is. Some of the combinations and ingredients were like the ones in Mexico, so it was really easy do adjust my diet. I also had an open-mind when it came to trying new foods.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt completely immersed into the culture because I lived in a great location. Sol program coordinators also made sure they had plenty of excursions and activities we could do in our own.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The program provided insurance for me while I was abroad, so that was very helpful.

* Safety:

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

Those who worked with Sol were always so attentive and made sure all students were immersed into the culture. They recognized that each student is different and therefore adjust differently to new surroundings.

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)

$100 or less...easy to live

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? It depended on the food, souvenirs, etc. sooo I can't really say.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Try to learn about the currency and "normal" day-to-day costs prior to traveling, prioritize things you want to spend money on, and talk with their home bank.

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 received a lot of encouragement from my professors and my home-stay family to speak Spanish. But quite honestly, a lot of students remained in their own little groups and only spoke English with each other. So, I feel the encouragement should occur mainly (or most) between students.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Fluent
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? I am a Spanish native speaker - it is my first language.
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Have a conversation with those who speak Spanish well. Force yourself to practice smaller words or phrases that you can then use to have a complete conversation with someone. Also, it might get frustrating, but don't allow yourself to give up. Above all, one has to be willing and want to learn.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
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?
  • Host family
  • Excursions
  • Class options
* What could be improved?
  • Encouragement to speak Spanish
  • An adjustment period before courses start
  • n/a
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How hot it could get! - I should have done more research. I loved the food and their diets, but I do wish that I would've studied them a little more just to be aware.

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!