Comillas is great and the experience is what you make it! Past Review

By (Hispanic and Latin American Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, General., The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 01/09/2014 to 05/16/2014 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I met lots of people from many different countries and had the opportunity to travel in Europe. I also got to experience another culture and be completely on my own. I would definitely recommend studying abroad! I enjoyed Madrid but I was ready to move on after a few months, so I think a program that takes place in a few different countries would be perfect. That said, I was glad that I chose to study in Madrid because though the smaller cities in Spain are definitely more cultural, I was always happy to return to a big city with more going on.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I had three classes which were easy to handle and one that was incredibly difficult, so just get advice on which classes to take!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Patricia is the best-very helpful¡

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Had a great home stay!

* Food:

It's good, but Spanish food got old after a while. Luckily, in Madrid you can find almost any kind of food you want though!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Even though I attended a Spanish university and did a home stay, I never felt very integrated with Spanish culture. This is probably due to Madrid being a large city. Also, within Comillas, the exchange students tend to stick together and speak English. I did get to practice my Spanish in class, in my home stay, and in stores/restaurants/etc around Madrid. I just expected to be more immersed in Spanish culture than I was.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

There are lots of farmacias all over Madrid, where the people were really nice and helpful. I only had to get eyedrops and bandaids, but it was easy (if a little expensive).

* Safety:

I felt very safe in Madrid and safety was never really an issue for me.

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)

Though Europe is expensive, Spain (especially compared to other places I visited, like England and France) was pretty affordable. All I had to worry about was money for the train and metro (around 40 euros a month I think), traveling expenses, and food (though I was provided 2 meals through my home stay). I would definitely try to stick to a budget because it's easy to spend your free time buying things!

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $50-100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Get the Abono pass each month, which includes metro and cercanias (which you take to get to class). When eating out, buying souvenirs, etc., avoid touristy areas, where things will be more expensive. Go to El Rastro market on Sunday! Lots of great, cheap stuff! Also, for traveling, check several airlines, not just Ryanair or Easyjet. Sometimes other airlines fly directly for the same price or cheaper, and you avoid having to pay the shuttle fee (which are around 10-20 euros) from a smaller airport. Also, we stayed at great places for pretty cheap, so check and look at the reviews! Also, show your student id and usually, you'll get a discount!


* 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

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? An upper division grammar and literature course.
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? You really, really, REALLY have to make an effort. Most people can speak English so it's extremely easy to get by without even using Spanish. My host family and most of the faculty and students at Comillas knew English, but I noticed that people on the street, people working in shops, etc. were more likely to only speak Spanish. Practicing with locals is your best bet, but you really need to make a point not to use English.

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

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • Comillas
  • Big City
  • Host Family
* What could be improved?
  • Integration
  • Language Practice
  • Organized Activities for International Students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? You are very much on your own, though the faculty at Comillas and the SA office at UT will be there to help you if you need it. It's up to you to make friends and organize travel, and most of your friends will probably be other international students rather than Spanish students (which was completely fine, just unexpected!) Also, I didn't expect so many people in Europe to speak English, which made improving my Spanish difficult. I recommend exploring every part of Madrid and really getting to know the city during your time there, but traveling as much as possible during weekends and breaks!

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Lengua y Literatura Española

Course Department:
Instructor: Marco
Instruction Language: Spanish
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Lengua Española-Normas y Usos

Course Department:
Instructor: Ucar
Instruction Language:
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Estudios Regionales- América Latina

Course Department:
Instructor: Biderbost
Instruction Language:
Comments: Professor Biderbost is intelligent, kind, and helpful, and I have a lot of respect for him. However, his class was extremely difficult for someone trying to learn Spanish and unlike other professors at Comillas, he wasn't very lenient with exchange students.
Credit Transfer Issues: