This decision changed who I fundamentally am. February 26, 2015

By (Universidad de Alcalá) - abroad from 01/05/2014 to 04/30/2014 with

Instituto Franklin-UAH: Alcalá de Henares - Study Abroad in Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned how the rest of the world works as well as the culture, social interactions, and the food of different countries.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Housing was amazing and definitely helped adjust to the life and culture of Spain.

* Food:

amazing! nada menos jaja

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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)

Student's Budget depends on what you want to do. If you are willing ot sacrifice some food when traveling you are able to spend money more efficiently on things you want to do. I ate a ton of nutella sandwiches because I wanted to save money for traveling and hanging out with friends that I made in Alcala.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Figure out what you want to do the most. For me, it was traveling to other countries and experiencing the culture, so I would not eat expensive food or eat at a restaurant every night. I sacrificed food, so I could bring my host sister's bf snowboarding with me because I could practice spanish and hang out with someone that was not American. I had the money and was willing to sacrifice to be with other people than Americans. Too many people that studied abroad in the program hung out with other Americans and wasted their opportunity to get to know other people. Of course, I hung out some at the start with students in the program, but by the end, I didn't talk to any of them except a few good friends. I hung out mostly with my family and traveled to other countries and met new friends around the world. I have friends in Denmark, England, Argentina, and Brazil that I can go visit and we will be friends forever because of the experiences that we had when we were in Paris.

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? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? spanish 3
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 not hang out too much with other study abroad students who speak english. Hang out with your host family and travel by yourself. Do not be afraid to meet new friends when you travel by yourself.

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? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • I felt comfortable in the program and enjoyed being in class as well as in life. I just enjoyed being in Spain and experiencing other cultures throughout my travels.
* What could be improved?
  • Not being with Americans for classes. I feel like there should be an immersion with spanish students of the university.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish we could stay longer lol

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.'