A Once in a Lifetime Experience February 06, 2018

By (SUNY - Albany) - abroad from 06/29/2017 to 07/28/2017 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 to understand and speak Spanish better. I also learned a lot about the history of Spain and the Spanish culture. It was completely worthwhile, and I wish I could've stayed there longer

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.

The classes were not extremely hard. The professors made the material interesting and were always willing to answer our questions.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program was organized very well. We could easily contact anyone in the program about any kind of problem or concern we had.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I absolutely loved my host family. I feel like I have a second home in Spain, and I still stay in contact with my host mom.

* Food:

The food was incredibly delicious. It was a little different than I expected, but everything I ate was amazing.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

My host family lived in an area with a lot of kids, so I was able to meet a lot of local children and their families. I also met a lot of my host family's extended family. They made me feel like a part of their family.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not need any assistance with health care, but the program directors gave us a packet on what to do if we needed it.

* Safety:

I felt safe the entire time I was abroad. I made sure that I was aware of my surroundings, but I never felt uneasy about any situation.

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

I made friends from America and I felt like I got another family. The experiences that I've made will stay with me for the rest of my life.

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)

Depending on the budget, I found that it was not difficult to keep track of how much I spent. The only tough part about the money abroad was when it came to splitting checks because you have to do it manually. The restaurants will not do it for you. I spent most of my money on traveling and souvenirs, not food.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I would try to use a credit card that has no international fees. You will get the best exchange rate that way. If you are going to eat out a lot with others, I would recommend having cash on you because you will have to manually split the check.

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

In our classes, we were not allowed to speak English. At first, it was hard, but then we got used to it. It helped me to think quicker.

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? 200-level course, Writing 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? I would try to listen to music in Spanish. It helps to train your ear.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

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

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
  • students in my classes
  • communication on facebook
* What could be improved?
  • school-funded excursions
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Try to make friends on facebook before you get to your host country and plan out trips because if you wait too long, the travel expenses can get expensive. Also, you do not need to bring as much with you as you think.

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.