Would NOT recommend Spanish Studies Abroad! Past Review

By (Carleton College) - abroad from 09/04/2017 to 12/22/2017 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I'm really glad that I went abroad and that I went out of my way to integrate myself into Spanish life.

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.

I selected the program because it enabled me to take normal courses at the local university. The courses that I took at the University of Seville were great, and I'm so glad that I selected that option. However, the courses that offered through the program itself, which I also took, were terrible. The content was neither challenging nor engaging. My two-week advanced-level intensive Spanish course was neither intensive, nor focused on Spanish. I was extremely disappointed -- the courses at the SSA center often felt like a complete waste of time.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Administration was often not receptive to students' needs.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My first housing placement was absolutely terrible, and many of my friends had similar experiences. After fighting extensively with the housing administrator at Spanish Studies Abroad I was able to switch to a different homestay -- but only after two months. My second homestay, however, was phenomenal. Nonetheless, negotiating housing with SSA was an extremely stressful process, which detracted from my experience abroad.

* Food:

Spanish food is good, but my first host mother was a terrible cook (the meat was unidentifiable and she used no spices) and she was unwilling to provide me with vegetables, despite the housing agreement. Food in Spain is good, but much of it is either pork or heavily fried, or both.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I'm really glad that I took classes at the local university. My feelings of integration were not thanks to my program's efforts. I spent a lot of time just wandering around and experiencing things on my own.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not have any healthcare experiences while abroad.

* Safety:

I felt extremely safe everywhere in the city and would highly recommend Sevilla to anyone! I loved the city!

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

The administration of the program was terrible and extremely challenging to work with. They were not receptive to students' needs, and it often felt as though they were just trying to make money off of the students. My interactions with SSA stuff were sometimes demeaning. My courses with SSA were also extremely disappointing. That said, I loved Sevilla and my time in Spain that was unrelated to the program. I'm really glad that I took local courses at the university.

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)

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? Fluent
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent

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

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • That I could take courses at the local university
* What could be improved?
  • Administration and receptiveness to students
  • Spanish courses
  • Excursions fun events for students in the program
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That my program would be very hands-off in comparison to other programs, especially in terms of how much they cared about the well-being and engagement of the students.