Parent Review: Santander from a Parent's Perspective Past Review

By (Parent Reviews of Study Abroad) - abroad from 06/15/2013 to 07/13/2013 with

SPI Study Abroad: High School Immersion in Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I am reviewing on behalf of my son, who traveled to Santander with SPI last year. He grew from being an intermediate speaker of the language to an advanced speaker in just under four weeks. It was extremely worthwhile and I would recommend this program to anyone.

Review Photos

SPI Study Abroad: High School Immersion in Spain Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The academic structure of the program is truly wonderful. The classes are very stimulating. I liked that there seemed to be just as much of an emphasis placed on cultural discussion as there was on grammatical structure.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

It is made very clear by SPI that students are expected to abide by their code of conduct - this means making curfew and not taking advantage of any free time they have by staying out late. The staff is attentive and helpful and genuinely care about their students.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

SPI clearly does an admirable job of selecting families.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The staff, classes, activities and structure are just excellent. Most importantly, the immersion aspect of the programs is so well-designed. My son was able to feel that he was truly immersed in the language and culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The city was perfectly safe; supervision was excellent.

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

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)

SPI recommends that students budget $250-$300, to be on the safe side. This is definitely an overestimate. Unless students are planning to spend a lot of money on souvenirs and eating out, it's very easy to get by under that budget.

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

This is a true immersion program, so students are always speaking 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? Spanish III
How many hours per day did you use the language?

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?
  • Immersion
  • Classes for college credit that were also very stimulating
* What could be improved?
  • Honestly, nothing. SPI had everything I was looking for.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Wish we would have known how fantastic this program was prior to my son's senior year, so we could have sent him twice!

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.'