You will not regret this. November 09, 2016

By (Millsaps College) - abroad from 06/01/2016 to 06/30/2016 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I improved my language skills, made countless memories, and gained insight into a way of life unfamiliar to me.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I gave this program four stars because unlike the rumors heard of studying abroad being a vacation, my classmates and I attended class from 9 AM until 3 PM Monday through Friday. Our grade was affected negatively if we skipped or did not complete assignments. Our final exam consisted of an oral presentation and a written portion.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I stayed with a retired woman who lived alone. She has accommodated international students for over 15 years which was helpful in making me feel comfortable because she seemed to understand what I was going through. My housing was acceptable and in no way unfit for living.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Although I was always stood out as being easily identifiable as American, the Spanish people were very welcoming and good-natured about my limited Spanish speaking capabilities.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

No experience.

* Safety:

My advice for future students is just to always be aware of your surroundings and to trust your instincts, but do not be afraid constantly for your safety.

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

The program was very beneficial and if I had the chance to attend the same school, I would definitely do it and for a longer session.

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)

Spain is a very good place for students to study abroad. Although personal finance is subjective, items in Spain are relatively cheap. The cost of my program included three meals every day (including weekends), and travel and meal costs for our weekend excursions.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Around 15 euros.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Budget yourself. Know what you would like to spend money on and try not to go crazy during your first week.

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

During class which was from morning until afternoon, utilization of the Spanish language was highly encouraged. Instructors would not respond if spoken to in anything other than Spanish and one professor gave us consequences if we spoke in English.

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Spanish 1010
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Speak as much as you can. Do not be afraid that you will sound stupid and if you do not know the exact word or concept, try to think of ways to speak around or describe your thoughts. Do not translate into your native language and then try to form an answer to translate into the language you are learning; simply try to understand the language as it is.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Exchange

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?
  • My professors
  • Food
  • Traveling opportunities
* What could be improved?
  • Better communication between institution and host family
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That just because you can speak decent Spanish in the United States does not mean that you will be able to speak decent Spanish with native speakers in a Spanish country.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!