Splendid Spanish Suburb January 16, 2017

By (Villanova University) - abroad from 09/09/2016 to 12/21/2016 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
A LOT

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Classes were run completely in spanish, but with the understanding that we were not native speakers. This forced everyone's level of spanish to improve without out it being too overwhelming.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Administration was very attentive and communications were sent out on multiple platforms.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family and home stay experience in general were amazing. My family and I both cried when I left because we were going to miss each other so much.

* Food:

Spanish food is very good and my host mom fed me just like I was a part of her own family.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

This was the biggest flaw in having the program with all american students and ran in an american format. Intercambio (exchange partners) are available and living with a host family provides a lot of exposure, though.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no problems, but felt as though there were resources available to me if I had had a problem.

* Safety:

Alcala de Henares is a suburb of Madrid and a certain level of security comes along with being in a suburb opposed to a city.

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)

Food & Housing is included in the Home stay food so only other expenses are mainly optional.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 100 euros
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Utilize the transportation card offered to "jovenes" under 24.

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? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Advanced Spanish and composition
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? Spend a lot of time with your home stay family and make local friends.

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
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?
  • Host family
  • Culture
  • Food
* What could be improved?
  • Exposure to Spaniards of similar ages
  • Course offerings
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Distance from Madrid