I went for the neuroscience. I was not disappointed. Past Review

By (Behavioral Neuroscience, Neurobiology and Physiology, Purdue University) - abroad from 05/17/2014 to 06/25/2014 with

UConn: Salamanca - Neuroscience in Salamanca, Spain - Summer Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned how to navigate unfamiliar places and to travel on a budget. It was very worthwhile and I would travel Spain again. Even though I was a senior, I went to this study abroad because I love learning about neuroscience. We were able to see some amazing facilities of research and learn a plethora about drugs. Traveling was a unexpected bonus to it all for me.

Review Photos

UConn: Salamanca - Neuroscience in Salamanca, Spain - Summer Program Photo UConn: Salamanca - Neuroscience in Salamanca, Spain - Summer Program Photo UConn: Salamanca - Neuroscience in Salamanca, Spain - Summer Program Photo UConn: Salamanca - Neuroscience in Salamanca, Spain - Summer Program Photo UConn: Salamanca - Neuroscience in Salamanca, Spain - Summer Program 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.

There is a lot of reading and note-taking involved in the courses themselves. The normal Spanish courses are pretty easy. The Drugs & Behavior course is really what you make of it, although if you slack off, you will get behind, making the course more difficult. I heard the auditory course was more difficult and required more attention. The primary focus of this study abroad is the courses and you will not be given any slack for skipping class or sleeping. You will need to find a balance between engaging in the local culture and studies. Take note, you are also going to walk a lot! Think about how much you walk on campus, now double it, possibly more. Bring a good pair of shoes because your courses are on opposite sides of the dormitories and you need to go to both areas every day.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

There was an issue with room allocation at the beginning of the trip (1 day). I was scheduled to have a room, but when we arrived, the students who lived there from the previous semester had not moved out yet. Thus, we were placed in a different building (large, westernized apartment-ish, with a kitchenette). The staff was very kind and had us placed in the correct rooms within 24 hours. In general, the front desk was patient and helpful when international students had trouble communicating through Spanish as they did not speak English.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

You can choose a single or double room. The private room was spacious, had a closet with drawers, a single bed, bookshelf backboard, a large desk (4x2/5x2), and personal toilet. The only frustrating accommodation was how long it took to shower as the shower had a spray hand (~5'5'' up the wall). A maid comes once a week to tidy up, but you are required to wash your own sheets. The building and room entries were normal (different) metal keys. I thought the housing was great. It exceeded my expectations.

* Food:

The dorm food was not the best, although it can fill you up. If you do not like/eat beef, your options will be limited as the cafeteria is something you would consider small. There was some chicken/fish at meals, but it was mostly beef-based dishes. Vegetable portions were fairly small. For this reason, I give a low rating. Other food sources were delicious and mostly cheap. There are two markets you can access in your walking area. One is next to the neuroscience institute, where you can go after class to get household items, food items, and food souvenirs. The second is a smaller market next to the dorms, which is much smaller, although you can buy food items and your laundry detergent/dryer sheets here. There is an open fruit market around the corner of paseo san vicente and avendida de los maristas. The fruit is always fresh, but you will need to check for hours. Any food/drink next to the Plaza Mayor is delicious if you want to spend some money (pretty cheap, especially if you share). The Don Quixote cafe was popular for our group as it was on the route to/from classes.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

If you go out with some friends around the Plaza Mayor, you will see a lot of the local Salamanca culture. But, if you stay around the dorm areas, within the group area, you will not see anything. A balance of studying and pro-activity is the key here. I didn't go out at all, but did very well in the courses. I wish I had gone out more to see the culture, although I did see a lot when traveling on weekends.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not have any health issues, but the dorms are directly located next to two hospitals.

* Safety:

Salamanca felt pretty safe to me. Walking at night around the dorms was not irregular there. Around the plaza, there are always a ton of people. I did not encounter any safety issues, although I was very mindful of potential pick pockets. Spain is known for non-violent petty theft. Just keeps your items close. A lot of people went running early in the morning and didn't have any safety issues.

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)

Everything is paid for prior to arrival, unless you forget detergent/dryer sheets (get the pods). If you want a snack like churros con chocolate a couple times a week, you can bring some loose change with you. Otherwise, you have everything you need. You do have the option to travel on the weekends, which can be price-y, but it is entirely do-able. Otherwise, there is still a ton to see and do in Salamanca itself on the weekends.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? About 15-25 euros for extra food. At most 100 euros for travel expenses.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Keep spare change (cash, not card) around for minor expenses and food when traveling around or walking to class. Create a spreadsheet and budget your expenses to maintain costs. If you are going with a group, split large food portions among yourselves. Book hostels/hotels next to major transportation (buses, metros, subways, etc.), site-seeing areas, and plenty of food options. EX. I chose a hostel in Madrid next to a subway stop and within walking distance of an art museum. I knew the subway ran from the airport to the middle of Madrid, so I was able to bypass taxi costs. Use hostelworld to books travel stays and always check the written reviews.


* 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

Outside of class, you interact with other students studying various levels of Spanish. Thus, you may not necessarily by encouraged to speak in Spanish outside of class.

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Spanish Level V
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? If you are a beginner, you can practice using your Spanish by going to cafes, for drinks, etc. As well, you can learn from your classmates in higher courses.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* 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?
  • neuroscience education, research facility tours
  • Travel ability on the weekend
  • group parties with tapas and local cusine
* What could be improved?
  • dormitory food
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known how much walking I was going to do. I didn't think much of it before leaving, but discovered 9 days into the program my shoes didn't provide enough support to my ankle. I have specific shoes and my family had to send another pair over to me. Bring good shoes and possibly a back up!