The Manhattan of Europe but without the local connection! Past Review

By (Bentley University) - abroad from 09/03/2012 to 12/21/2012 with

Universidad Pontificia Comillas de Madrid: Madrid - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot about how other people live and about different cultures. Unfortunately, I felt really stiffled in my program because it was so difficult to make friends either American or Spanish. I think if we are not forced to take classes in Spanish, then we should go through a program like Syracuse because then you are with all students from across the country and then they take you all over Spain to travel, which did not happen in Comillas ICADE did not provide any means of meeting people through our one day orientation, I would have loved an international buddy but they did not provide that either. Since I did not live in dorms there really was no way to meet people besides in class but even them its hard to make friends. I wound up making friends through becoming a club promoter and that was possibly the best decision I made in Madrid. I loved the city, it was truly amazing, but I really would have loved it more if I had local friends or foreign friends to enjoy it with me. I gained alot of knowledge on Spanish culture from my two Spanish friends ( they used to live in london so unfortunately we spoke english together). I could tell my spanish improved, but I didn't think I was emmersed. I learned what makes me happy and how I have to work at it, if I am not in the best situation.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

some classes were so difficult and some were not too bad. The issue is the lack of resources. The library is small, there either were not books or they were rarely used and the grading system is so much different

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

not too great. Everything was slow, there was no interaction with the exchange students. There were no programs held for all of us to meet each other and there was not much level of assistance, empathy or understanding

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived with an amazing host family. She was a single mom with two kids and it was better than I could have ever imagined. They took me to Segovia for a day trip and out to dinner! it was so great! Also, there was no issues with a curfew. she was very relaxed and kind.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I really gained a large sense of the culture and loved it! but I did not make a big enough connection with the culture I thought. My host mom was russian so that changed things as well. But, I had a really difficult time making Spanish friends because of the program and I feel with local, Spanish friends I could have been more immersed into the culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

never had a health issue!

* Safety:

got pickpocketed but didn't have any other issues! just watch your belongings and you should be safe!

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


* 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)

i averaged spending about 110$ a week and that included breakfast and dinner for free from my homestay. Going out, doing activities and buying lunch each day equaled about 100$ a week but that is conservative

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? about 110/125 each week
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? don't buy books, you literally will not use them, only in literature classes. if you live far from school, buy a monthly metro pass.


* 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

only in spanish class twice a week. Certainly not enough. I regret choosing to go to this Madrid program because I was not forced/ encourage to use my spanish in class. Only outside or in my house

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? MSLP 202
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? TAKE CLASSES IN SPANISH. It is worth struggling through them, than floating through English classes and not improving your spanish. It is my biggest regret

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
  • International Students
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?
  • I loved being in Madrid. One of my favorite cities in Europe
  • I loved the length of time we were there
  • The ability to take classes like finance and economics in English ( they are difficult in any language)
* What could be improved?
  • More support from both Bentley and ICADE in every facet of the program
  • a travel seminar so we can see all of spain and learn its culture ( IE, like the Syracuse University Program or the University of San Diego program)
  • make students take classes in spanish, it literally is so vital to the program and to the growth of the language and student
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known there wasn't going to be support for me in Madrid or at Bentley so I could mentally prepare for that and not assume otherwise. ( speaking to my friends from Bentley in other cities and programs, their school's did so much more and it was hard to listen to personally) and I wish i had known to take classes in Spanish and just deal with the repercussions with my grades later!

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 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.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Masterpieces of Hispanic Literature

Course Department:
Instructor: Eugenia Ramos
Instruction Language: English
Comments: the best class I took at comillas. Fair grader and the most intriguing professor I have had for a writing class ever. I thought I would hate this class but the professor made me love literature and it really helped me learn a lot about Spanish culture and its transformations through history!
Credit Transfer Issues: nope