Great School, but Seville has some Dangerous Living Situations Past Review

By (Spanish Language, Anonymous University) - abroad from 01/01/2006 to 05/01/2006 with

Spain Study Abroad Reflections: Comprehensive Reviews of Past Programs

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned Spanish, which was definitely worthwhile. I'm very proud of my ability. I also learned how to handle myself when faced with real danger.

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.

The teachers were wonderful and easy to understand. Their coursework was relevant and helpful. I became close to fluent in Spanish during just one semester and now use Spanish in my profession.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration got us set up and started very well. However, when I came to them with a very important concern, they didn't take it seriously at all. Because of it, future students faced a dangerous situation.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was placed in two households while I was there: the first with an abusive young woman who endangered my health and safety and the second with a family that used my stipend to support a local drug addict who stole from me and ate my food. Daily, the first woman would do things like shut of the hot water as soon as I stepped into the shower (during the winter), deliberately sit beside me and chain smoke near my face, feed me trays of rotten oranges that were blue with mold for "dinner", and insult me. I was freezing, hungry and scared. When I got sick and asked her to help me find a doctor, she shrugged and said "I'm not your mother." When she realized I planned to report her to the school, she lied and said I had invited some men over to spend the night. When I told the school what really happened, they didn't believe me. They moved me anyway, but they didn't write up any report about the abuse I experienced. Future students likely faced the same abuse because it was never documented.

* Food:

I'm vegetarian, so Spain wasn't so great for me unless I shopped and cooked for myself. Eventually, I secured a living arrangement that allowed me to do that.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I met a few nice and caring people. However, I experienced constant sexual harassment on the street such as hissing, rude remarks about my body and occasionally, flashing.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Healthcare was free and easily accessible. I didn't request help from the school, but found it easily on my own.

* Safety:

No students in my program were hurt.

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


* 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)


* 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? Beginner
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 II
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? Use it constantly! Even speak Spanish with your American friends.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* 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?
  • Wonderful teachers!
  • Excellent courses!
  • Beautiful artwork and museums
* What could be improved?
  • Host family screening
  • Protecting and advocating for students
  • Host family responsibilities should be limited so students can give themselves proper care
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How to express and defend myself properly in the face of real danger. How to persuasively request the help I need.

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.