The trip that put my life into a new perspective. September 29, 2018

By (Brenau University) - abroad from 07/01/2018 to 08/16/2018 with

Sol Education Abroad - Study Abroad in Spain at University of Granada

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned the culture of the Spainards. I had never traveled to Europe. Traveling to Spain widen my perspective of the world. My trip gave me the realization that there were other people in the world who lived very differently from me. Additionally, I was able to learn another language much faster than if I had studied at my University. This trip was able to help me become more intellectual and broaden my horizon of the world. My trip to Spain was worthwhile.

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.

The academics at the University of Granada were very good. The courses were rigorous and challenged me every day. There was never too much homework but just enough. The teachers were very nice and accommodating. I only had a problem with one teacher because I believe she ha a biased against me. Regardless, I still enjoyed my time at the University. There are a couple of things that need to be fixed with Sol description and placement testing of the courses. I believe that Sol Education should require students to take a placement test prior to arriving to Spain. Students can't gauge their level of Spanish without a proper placement exam. Also, the syllabus description of the courses that will be offered in Spain on Sol’s website is not accurate. The classes in Spain are more rigorous and cover much more material than what was described on Sol’s courses syllabus. Therefore, I studied the syllabus Sol provided and did not get placed into the level I wanted because the material provided to me wasn't accurate. Furthermore, whenever I had a problem with a professor the on-site Sol advisors were very unequipped to help fix the problems. Sol and University of Granada are two separate entities but they do not work on student advisement cohesively. There was a strong disconnect with communicating my academic problems between both parties. In the end, I still learned a lot and would return to the University to further my learning.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The on-site administrators for Sol were extremely nice and helpful. German, Edo, Miguel, and Lola truly wanted each student to have an enjoyable experience in Spain. They greeted me everyday and made sure to always make themselves available if I ever needed to talk. Having involved on-site advisors made my time in Spain velvety. Without my great advisement team I would’ve had a harder time assimilating into the culture of Spain.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Sol provided with me very luxurious housing. My host family was amazing. Provide me with all my basic necessities and more. The balcony view of my host family oversea all of Granada including the Alhambra. I shared a room with my roommate and had no problems. The housing is the best part of Sol’s program.

* Food:

The food provided by my host family was amazing. There was also something to eat my host family's house. One things that was hard to get used to was always eating with your family for lunch. I didn’t truly understand how cultural important it was before arriving to Spain but my host mother explained the reason for its importance and she always excused me whenever I was late and couldn’t come home in time for lunch

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Before arriving in Spain my University did not appropriately prepare me for the social and cultural difference. Regardless, I would consider myself as an open-minded person that is easily able to assimilate to different cultures. Once arriving in Spain I experienced a minor culture and social shock. I was able to cope with this shock by staying isolated in my American group of friends. Once my friends left Spain I was forced to assimilate with the local culture. In the beginning, it was hard, I found myself judging the locals harshly on the way they treated me as a black woman. Finally understanding and becoming comfortable with the cultural difference I was able to join the local culture easily. I suggest future abroad students to always have an open mind and not to judge quickly.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The healthcare abroad was impeccable compared to the healthcare services I had received in the States. I personally never needed any healthcare service but instead had peers who visited the doctors and/or hospitals. For example, a friend in my class went to the hospital for strep throat. He described his experience as speedy and efficient. The doctors were very kind and spoke very good English. Any health care or emergency needs would be handled well in Spain.

* Safety:

The city of Granada was extremely safe. My peers and I never worried about our safety in the city. The city was so incredibly safe we were able to walk around the city late hours in the night. Moreover, when traveling to other cities in Spain it was also extremely safe. The only thing to worry about is theft. While in, Barcelona I had to become very mindful of my belonging to prevent petty theft. My entire experience in Spain I was never robbed and rarely heard stories of theft.

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

The program provided by Sol was well organized and educational. I had a lot of fun and also became very fluent in Spanish. Also, I had a chance to experience another culture which was my lifelong dream. My time in Spain with Sol went very smooth and I couldn't have asked for a more amazing program.

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)

2.75. A student budget is hard to manage in Spain because there are activities or events outside of your program plan that you would want to do. I spent a lot of money traveling to Sevilla, Cordoba, Malaga, and Morocco. Also depending on how often you eat tapas, you may spend a lot of money. If a student really monitors what they spend and budgets their trips they can survive easier it just won't be as adventurous.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Between 10-25 Euros is what I spent on food a week. This because sometimes I would go to cheap tapas places one week or eat at more pricey restaurants the next week.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Nope, I didn't save or budget my money. Just be smart with your money and don't buy a lot of unnecessary things, but do spend money on traveling!

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes

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

  • 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?
  • The host family
  • The excursion
  • The advisors
* What could be improved?
  • The placement testing
  • Communication with Sol and University of Granada
  • Financial aid provided for students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I learned the culture of the Spainards. I had never traveled to Europe. Traveling to Spain widen my perspective of the world. My trip gave me the realization that there were other people in the world who lived very differently from me. Additionally, I was able to learn another language much faster than if I had studied at my University. This trip was able to help me become more intellectual and broaden my horizon of the world. My trip to Spain was worthwhile.