An Adventure in Independence October 24, 2018

By (Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania) - abroad from 06/02/2018 to 07/18/2018 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 a lot from my experience abroad. Socially, I didn't really make any friends while I was in Spain. I spent most afternoons doing homework and then touring the city myself. I am a painfully shy person and I feel my program did not do a lot to ensure I was socially involved. I don't blame the program for my lone wolf experience - I struggle to make friends anywhere in the world. However, I think my experience was most definitely worthwhile. I have a lot to take away and just to experience a new culture was wonderful. I'm ready to return to Spain, this time with my family to show them all the wonderful things I saw

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

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?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

I liked SOL as a program overall, but there were small elements I felt were missing from the experience. If I were to go again, I'd want another program just for a different experience.

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 saved money for a while before my trip. Even still, by the time I came home, I was scraping by on my funds. I've never been more than a month without a job since I started working at 16 so not working for 2 months was weird to me, and seeing money only coming out of my account and not in was stressful. Fortunately, I only had to dip into my savings account the last week of my stay.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 75$
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Use your card when you can, but HAVE CASH. I went over with none and ATM fees were steep with my 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

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? 400 level college Spanish
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? Refuse to let yourself use English. Oftentimes, people of whatever country you're in want to speak English with you to practice, but try to use the language there as much as possible. In restaurants, shops, everywhere - it makes a difference.

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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • language immersion
  • food
  • location
* What could be improved?
  • social activities
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Every person you meet is a learning opportunity. Have conversations at any possible time. I spent too much time in Spain panicked about my ability and convinced it wouldn't be enough. I sold myself short and ultimately took away from my experience.