Amazing and unforgettable! Past Review

By (Political Science and Government., Tufts University) - abroad from 08/14/2011 to 05/25/2012 with

Syracuse University: Madrid - Syracuse University in Madrid

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I became a much more independent and confident person after studying abroad. Living in a new city with a different language and culture pushed me out of my comfort zone. Traveling to many countries and cities with other students taught me to be more independent. Studying abroad was extremely worthwhile.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Courses were extremely applicable to living abroad and learning more about Spain. It was great to learn something and then experience it at the same time.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff is always willing to help you solve any problems. There can be lots of paperwork when you are not a Syracuse student but the staff helps.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

First semester, my host mom didn't try very hard to make a relationship with us. I switched to a different family second semester and had the greatest experience. I actually felt like I was part of a family, which is what I had wanted.

* Food:

The food at the home stays is fine, it can get kind of boring. The food in Madrid is amazing!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Syracuse offers events to introduce you to local students, but often these events felt too large to actually make a connection. It wasn't until second semester when I reached out for a language exchange and had the new family that I really felt more integrated into the Spanish culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Going to the doctor is extremely easy. I had to have allergy shots once a month while abroad and it was no problem. The program sets up the original appointment for you with a bilingual doctor. After that I made my own appointments, but they would've helped if I needed it.

* Safety:

Petty crime is the big issue in Madrid. As long as you are smart and aware of your surroundings you will be find. As a tourist, you are a target so watch your bag, don't put valuables in your pockets, etc.

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


* 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)

Studying abroad is expensive. The meals at homestays are paid for, but you'll want to eat out every once in awhile. You will travel and it adds up.

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? Yes
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $250
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Budget well from the beginning. It's not fun when you are struggling the last month to find the money to do anything.


* 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

Homestay families will not speak English, so you are forced to speak Spanish much of the time. Much of the staff in the office will push you to try to speak in Spanish.

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? The equivalent of 6 semesters of college-level 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? Do a language exchange. It is less pressure when the other person is also trying to speak a new language. You teach each other. Plus, it's a great way to meet a local student and learn more about the culture.

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
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?
  • Signature Seminars are awesome.
  • The classes are applicable to daily life and teach you so much about Madrid and Spain.
  • Options to do many program related activities or be extremely independent.
* What could be improved?
  • Some of the host families seem to be only in it for the money.
  • Better organized activities with Spanish students.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Your time abroad flies and it's once in a life time. Nothing will ever be like this again so enjoy every single moment.

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 Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.