An Amazing Alcala Adventure Past Review

By (Auburn University) - abroad from 01/08/2019 to 04/26/2019 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Confidence to speak even though I wasn't sure with my own ability and finding out that I knew more than I thought. Also, the ability to survive in a different country for months with relative independence.

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.

Teaching was great and I learned a lot in the few months that I was there. Classes were structured well and the resources to succeed were readily available.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The people running Instituto Franklin are some of the best and most genuine people you will ever meet and they will become your favorite people ever. They want to see you succeed and will work with you to make sure that you are adjusting well.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

While every living arrangement is different it is always a complete toss up on whether or not it goes well, but never fear because there is always the option to change living arrangements. Don't stick around in a place that is not comfortable, Instituto Franklin will be more than happy to make sure that you are in a place that is welcoming. That being said my living arrangements was by far the best part of my trip because I was able to extend my learning outside the classroom. In these home settings you get to meet your hosts's family and friends and a wide range of topics get brought up and really challenge your speaking ability. It also provides a great exchange of cultures between yours and theirs, there will be some laughs and misunderstanding over this but it will be a great memory to look back on and will cherish after you leave.

* Food:

The food in Spain is different from the US but not to mean that it isn't amazing and everything should be tried at least once just to get the feel for another culture and expand your horizons a bit. I was fortunate enough to live with someone who aspired to be a chef so I got a wide range of Spanish cuisine that was absolutely fantastic. But there are some things that I

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Local culture is definitely something you have to get used to. Nothing bad.... just different. Take time once you get there to just walk around the city of Alcala, it's what everyone does to get around anyway and the city is very safe as long as you use common sense. Walk around to learn the city and all its hidden gems, talk to new people that you encounter and best of all find a bench and people watch.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The care you receive while in Spain is differnt than the US as their clinics night not resemble what you're used to at home. Make sure you brush up on any relevant medical terminology or go there with someone that can potentially help translate for you, because there's nothing more stressful when you're sick or dealing with and injury and can't communicate what's wrong or understand your doctor. The best benefit of Spanish Healthcare is that it was very inexpensive, I can't remember if I had to pay anything when I was sick, but also you're required to get some sort of health insurance through the program I think and it helps cover some costs as well. I did not need any vaccines before going.

* Safety:

Alcala is basically a small college town vibe and is very social and walkable. Safety was never really a concern and if it was there was a police presence not too far away.

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

Not a single thing that I disliked enough to not return.


* 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)

With your meals beingg covered by the program fees your only real costs are what you spend on personal stuff, outside food, travel, and entertainment. All these can easily be budgeted and planned out for prior to departure. On avg I didn't spend more than $30 on stuff in town as prices are lower than Madrid and tapas are very reasonably priced. Travel around and outside the country will be your biggest expenses.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $30-50
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Find your favorite tapas bar and become enough of a regular to become friends with the staff and get a free tapa or two. Also, if you join the ERASMUS program, which is like a study abroad club for all of Europe. They have free events and classes for stuff you'd normally pay for so I highly recommend it. An added bonus is meeting new people.


* 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

Heavily used considering you're literally in the heart of Spain.

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? Intermediate
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? Keep trying, even if you make a mistake keep going. Most everyone will be appreciative that you are making the effort and will help you even though you definitely will get some funny looks just roll with it. Also, everyone else is going to mess up to no matter their level so don't get discouraged.

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?
  • Language skills/Classes
  • Host family
  • Professors
* What could be improved?
  • More program activities to meet other students in the program
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It goes by WAY faster than you think it will. So do everything you can think of and want to, even if you have to do it by yourself, because once you leave its not always easy to get back.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.