España: Un País Genial Past Review

By (Economics and Spanish, Xavier University) for

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My Spanish improved a ton, and I got to experience a a culture that I never could have in the States. All my classes counted for something that mattered for my major, so I didn't lose any time while I was studying abroad. If I could go back to Spain I would do it in a heartbeat.

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 were pretty similar to classes in the States. Most Spanish students are only worried about passing classes so don't be surprised if you don't get an A.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The International Relations office was extremely helpful with whatever you could possibly need. Everyone who works in the office was nice and they were always willing to chat with students.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My piso wasn't great but it wasn't terrible. I lived about 5 minutes from Puerta del Sol. You have to decide what's most important about your housing, be it living with friends, living close to the city center, or having a nice apartment, because you usually won't find a place that's absolutely perfect. For the most part everyone who I lived with spoke Spanish, so it allowed me to practice whenever I was home.

* Food:

Spanish food is awesome and fairly cheap. You'll definitely miss patatas bravas and croquetas once you come back to the States. El tigre is a great place to grab some cheap food and beers, but it's honestly impossible to wander around the city and not run into some bar that has great food and drinks. Don't eat at any of the fast food chains, you can find much better food for about the same price if you grab food at bars.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Spain has so much to offer you really can't mention it all. I'd definitely go see a fútbol match, go to El Rastro, and go to Retiro at least once for a botellón.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

If you use common sense you'll never have any problems. I was pick-pocketed once in Barcelona but I only lost about 20 Euro. Between Madrid and Barcelona I would say Madrid is more secure, but once again as long as you're smart you have nothing to worry about.

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?

The Spanish course was awesome. The Spanish teacher for foreigners is one of the best teachers I've ever had. She really cares about her students and does a great job of helping you with the language.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Other

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Meeting other international students
* What could be improved?
  • Do the cultural trips after everyone has settled in. We were usually too busy making friends and exploring Madrid to care about the events during the first month. They would definitely be more interesting if we did them a month after we had all moved in.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Enjoy your time in Spain while you can, because you'll never know when you can go back. Also, don't be too bummed if you feel like you don't use Spanish as much as you'd like. International students tend to make friends with other international students, which means you'll most likely use English. But you'll still pick up more Spanish than you realize just through day-to-day activities.