4 Months of Relaxation and Culture-ization Past Review

By (Finance and Financial Management Services., Fordham University) - abroad from 08/17/2013 to 12/05/2013 with

Syracuse University: Madrid - Syracuse University in Madrid

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
As cliche as it sounds, I learned a lot about myself (my studying habits, my partying habits, how social I am, what is important to me, my budgeting ability, how easy it is to make new friends, importance of religion to me, that I'm a homebody, I appreciate art and museums more than clubs and bars, etc). I gained visiting AMAZING new places. The best places were the ones with guides so I could truly understand how AMAZING all these places were, and how lucky I was to visit them! It was definitely worthwhile.

Review Photos

Syracuse University: Madrid - Syracuse University in Madrid Photo Syracuse University: Madrid - Syracuse University in Madrid Photo Syracuse University: Madrid - Syracuse University in Madrid Photo Syracuse University: Madrid - Syracuse University in Madrid Photo Syracuse University: Madrid - Syracuse University in Madrid Photo

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Staff was very friendly. Almost all of them were natives to Spain, with excellent commands of the Spanish and English languages. They set up free, or highly discounted, trips and events for students every weekend.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host mom was amazing!! She took care of me when I was sick, was concerned for me when I came home late, and even patched up my jeans when I ripped them. It was just me, her, and one other student. My roommate and I had our own bathroom. We could come and go as we pleased; it felt like living in my own home.

* Food:

Spanish food is NOT like Hispanic food. It's much lighter and healthier, Similar to Italian food, the cuisine uses much olive oil and is very light. My host mom cooked the best food. She even gave me all of the recipes to my favorite dishes.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Madrid is much like New York, only smaller and a lot cleaner. The metro, their version of the subway, is very fast and reliable. The city overall is much more urban than other parts of Spain. Many don't speak Spanish, so you'll have to get used to using body gestures if your Spanish isn't that great.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't get so sick on the program that Advil and tea didn't do the trick. My university had an on-site nurse, however.

* Safety:

Pickpocketing is a really big deal there since Spain is just recovering from the economic crisis. Many kids are unemployed and therefore hang around clubs at night. Just be aware of your purse/belongings at all times!

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)

Your host mom makes you breakfast/dinner, so you're only responsible for lunch. You can find cheap places to eat out, or bring it to school. Weekends are a much different story. Depending on where you go, you can spend 100 euros - 500 euros, including plane tickets.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 50 euros per week, 200 euros per weekend when I traveled
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Plan your trips early and spread them out so you don't run out of cash too fast and are bored half way through the semester. Exploring local areas are a good option for when you're running low on cash. Take advantage of school outings, student discounts, and group discounts!


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
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? AP Spanish in high school
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? Meet locals

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* 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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Guided weekend trips
* What could be improved?
  • Chances to meet locals
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Bring everything you need. It makes the first few weeks there easier, and you don't have to waste money on buying things you need, like toothpaste, or things that don't exist in Spain, like peanut butter and my favorite deodorant.

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 Networker
An active student leader, it was important for you to network abroad as well. Once overseas, you sought out student clubs, volunteered with local organizations, or attended community events. You encouraged your friends join you, and often considered how you could reflect your international experiences in a resume.