Study Abroad in Madrid Past Review

By (Wildlife Sciences/Spanish Language, Auburn University) for

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Studying in Madrid really was a brand new experience for me. It is eye-opening even for the most well rounded person to go and fully immerse yourself in a different culture and lifestyle. My language skills improved and I got to experience things I may not have the chance to see again.

Review Photos

Direct Enrollment: Madrid - Universidad Francisco de Vitoria Photo Direct Enrollment: Madrid - Universidad Francisco de Vitoria Photo Direct Enrollment: Madrid - Universidad Francisco de Vitoria Photo Direct Enrollment: Madrid - Universidad Francisco de Vitoria Photo

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: Universidad Francisco de Vitoria
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.

The grading system is different from American Universities, but though it is a little tougher it is not difficult to get A's (or the equivalent). Classes were taught in English or Spanish, depending on the class and your own language level. I highly recommend taking any additional culture or language courses offered because they are extraordinarily helpful. The class workload was very reasonable and allowed more than enough free time to let students travel and enjoy the country.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program staff are extremely helpful. They know what you need to get done and will help you figure out the ins and outs of living in Spain. There are bureaucratic constraints which they must work within, and sometimes that can be frustrating. However the program staff are amazing and very knowledgeable.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Instead of living with a host family I wound up living with a single elderly woman. For me it was not the ideal arrangement, but this was not actually arranged by Francisco de Vitoria staff it was set up by Abroadco travel abroad company. If possible I would recommend living with other students or with an actual Spanish family.

* Food:

There are so many delicious Spanish dishes to try, but the best thing ever is Jamon! You will wind up eating things you would not have considered eating before (such as bull's tail, unnamed squiggly seafood, preserved fish eggs, etc.) and you will find that the majority of these things are actually quite good. Definitely try the national dishes and have an open mind. Overall the food is simple and well made. It is difficult to be a vegetarian in Madrid, but otherwise you shouldn't have any problems.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

My program arranged several cultural excursions for the students including guided tours of parks and museums. Universidad Francisco de Vitoria has the absolute BEST tour guide, Mario. Other tour guides pale in comparison. He guided us through the Palacio Real, El Parque del Buen Retiro, La Reina Sofia, El Prado, and Toledo all as an included part of our program. 2 years later I still remember almost everything he taught us because the tours were so well organized, informative, and fun.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

No vaccines were specifically needed, and I did not need to test the healthcare. However health insurance was provided by my home university's program if I had needed to use it.

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


* 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)


* 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?

Though most people did speak English, knowing at least a little Spanish is necessary. I spoke Spanish every single day with professors, bus drivers, my host family, fellow students, and it was absolutely invaluable every time I got lost and had to ask for directions (which happened a lot). My language skills in Spanish increased faster in the 6 months I spent in Madrid than any time in the 8 years I spent studying Spanish beforehand.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Other

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Cultural excursions
  • Working/teaching English to Spanish children
  • Taking classes taught in Spanish
* What could be improved?
  • Host family arrangements
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? This program was beneficial to students of every level in Spanish, however I feel like those who already had a firm grasp of the language were more able to take advantage of the tours and were able to polish their skills by taking classes taught in Spanish. I would recommend that you flesh out housing details before leaving the country and don't be afraid to change housing if you do not feel comfortable with your host family.