Home Away From Home January 25, 2020

By (University of Hartford) - abroad from 08/31/2019 to 12/20/2019 with

Spanish Studies Abroad: Alicante - Semester, Year or Summer in Alicante

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
From being completely integrated into the language, my level of Spanish improved from intermediate to nearly fluent. My mind was also open to many new cultures (the culture of Spain in addition to cultures from all around the world from people I met). I also learned more independence and became more outgoing and less shy.

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.

Amazing learning experience. Classes helped to integrate into living in Alicante and learning Spanish.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Pepa and Marisa were very helpful and welcoming and gave us all a great experience. They were there to help us whenever we needed and were always encouraging and friendly.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Amazing host family, my host mother Sabina gave me an outstanding experience and made me feel at home. She was an amazing cook and very sweet woman who will help you with anything you need and help make your experience great.

* Food:

My host mom was an amazing cook and gave me a variety of authentic meals. Other food was outstanding as well.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The people I met were very welcoming and friendly. It was difficult at times to make connections because of the different language and culture of many of us but the connections I made were unforgettable.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had a couple health issues and they were promptly addressed and taken care of by everyone. My host mom helped, my teachers & RD's were very understanding, and I got the help I needed.

* Safety:

I felt very safe in my apartment & neighbourhood, at school, and in the streets. The only thing I was worried about was getting pick pocketed, which I did not.

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

My advisors were very welcoming and helpful, and exceeded my standards. They helped us integrate into living in the local culture and learning at the University and were the biggest help in adjusting to living in a new country with a new language.

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)

It was manageable and I just budgeted.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Little on food because my host mom made three meals a day, so probably around 30 euro per week
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Keep track of spending and make a spending plan (budget!), if you travel try to save a bit before so you can spend more there, but don't be afraid to pay for a good experience because that's what you came 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

We had a Spanish-only policy where we could only speak Spanish in class and with our program, and my host mom only spoke Spanish which made me integrate Spanish into most of my day.

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? 2A
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? Talk with your host family, listen to Spanish music, try meeting new friends who you can speak Spanish with, watch Spanish movies/series

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?
  • The advisors were very helpful and there for us
  • The Spanish Only Policy, although challenging, helped me learn Spanish quickly and effectively.
  • Living with a host family was an incredible experience and I am very happy with mine.
* What could be improved?
  • More activities with local Spanish students at the University
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I was very shy at the start, but once I realized the locals and my host family were there to help me learn rather than to judge me on what I didn't know, I became more outgoing and integrated into the culture, learned much more, and got more out of my time.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'