A Summer in Spain: How I Grew into My Confidence September 16, 2019

By (Birmingham-Southern College) - abroad from 06/03/2019 to 07/30/2019 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a new found confidence in myself and my Spanish-speaking abilities.

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

Everyone was extremely nice and helpful.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved living with a host family, but it was hard for me to breath in the third story bedroom as there was no air and I wasn't allowed to keep the fan running throughout the night.

* Food:

The food my host mom cooked was alright it was just unhealthy, we barely ate any vegetables. I had stomach problems going from a somewhat healthy diet to instant noodles and pizza two times a week each. The residence cafeteria was alright as well, just very oily.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt somewhat integrated during the first month with my host family and intermediately integrated with the neighborhood and my confidence in my Spanish speaking abilities during the second month.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

N/A I didn't have to visit for personal care, I did however, shadow in a hospital and got to see how the Spanish (public/free) health care system works.

* Safety:

I felt very safe in the small town of Alcala, but like in any place you just have to have common sense.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

I would love to study abroad in Latin America, so as to gain a different and possibly more advantageous experience for my career where I will most likely be working with Spanish-speaking people from South America.

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)

It is very easy to live on a students budget, three meals a day are included and textbooks are a quarter of the cost of textbooks in America. However, it is not easy to travel and see other cities or countries on a students budget, it does not happen, but there are ways to find free/cheap things to see and do.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? twenty to thirty euros.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Save money before you go. Then while you are there, don't eat out every meal and get ice cream for dessert every night. Budget how much you want to spend on food, drinks, and souvenirs.

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 Communication and Advanced Grammar
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? Go out and window shop and talk to the people working. Try your hardest not to speak English with your American classmates, you will want to! Don't!

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

  • Dorm
  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • 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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The hospital internship
  • The Medical Spanish course
  • School-led excursions
* What could be improved?
  • The intensity
  • The expectations of American students
  • The food
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known more about my host family before I got there.

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!