Madrid, Spain Summer: An Unbelievable Adventure of Epic Proportions Past Review

By (Language and Culture, SUNY Purchase) for

UFV Madrid / Universidad Francisco de Vitoria: Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This experience completely opened my eyes to a world of possibilities. I returned with a love of Spain and Spanish people and culture, and a new perspective and love for my own country. I was able to achieve a lifelong goal of being able to speak another language on a conversational level, and now I am strongly considering a career of working within the field of Study Abroad or International Program because it had such a positive impact on me, and I think it is something that everyone should have the chance to experience.

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.

Classes structure and content were more demanding that normal classes, but that is probably due to the 3 month intensive program structure. My Profesora at the host university was fantastic. Besides just teaching us, she answered any questions that we had about daily life and conversations, cultural or differences or adjustments, and helped us in any way she could.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration of the host university was readily available throughout my entire experience in Madrid. They were as accommodating as possible and very helpful. I did not have as many options for an internship as I had expected; however, the placement that I was given turned out to be a wonderful experience.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The host university provided host family accommodations. I lived with a Spanish family and three other girls from my program. Living with the family certainly aided our language acquisition, but sometimes it was easier to speak English. since we were four American girls living together. The family's apartment was in an amazing location right in front of the Royal Palace and in the heart of Madrid. Our commute to school was almost an hour because the university is in a suburb of Madrid, but we loved our location because we were close to everything in the city. I felt like a part of the family and plan to keep in touch with them, as well as the girls from my program.

* Food:

Our host mom was a great cook, but the portions and eating times took some getting used to. I think we all ate less that we are accustomed to, and we did go out and buy our own food sometimes, but overall, I was satisfied with the arrangement.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I was in Madrid for the 2010 World Cup and had the experience of a lifetime when Spain won for the first time in history!!! I will never forget watching the final with the thousands and thousands of screaming fans and celebrating all night long and the next day when the National Team returned to Madrid as champions. Our host university planned great excursions to museums and parks and a flamenco performance , and we explored on our own-a Spanish bullfight, tapas bars, concerts, restaurants....the list could go on! I was able to travel through Spain and experience different regions of the country such as the País Vasco and Catalonia. I loved every second of it.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Fortunately I didn't have any safety or healthcare issues. I felt very safe throughout my whole program. The university warned us about certain issues such as pickpockets and petty crimes that are common, and thanks to their advice, I had no problems.

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)

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

Our Profesora made sure that we spoke only Spanish throughout our class, and although many people spoke some English, I used Spanish in the majority of my daily interactions.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? This was a VERY busy program. We were doing things and going places non-stop and were often exhausted, but it was worth it. The stress of being in a foreign environment was overwhelming sometimes, so you have to understand that some days may be difficult and part of the experience is learning to deal with that. If you can be flexible and keep an open mind, you will be amazed at the opportunities that present themselves!