An Unforgettable Semester Past Review

By (Marketing, The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 01/08/2016 to 05/20/2016 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
One of the most important things I gained was greater insight into the way people from other countries viewed the US. Because the primary elections were taking place during my semester abroad, it was very interesting to learn what people from other countries thought on the matter. Additionally, I was able to learn what other international students thought about the current events within their own countries (i.e. Spanish economy and its failure to gain a majority in the December general elections; Brexit; etc).

Review Photos

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

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The classes were not as academically rigorous as those I am accustomed to at UT in terms of number of assignments, frequency of tests, etc. However, I feel that I gained a more holistic education in this exchange because the classes placed more emphasis on discussions of current international affairs and practical group project assignments.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration was always able to help but you had to be a bit patient in waiting for responses to emails. It was better to go to the office in person.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was fortunate enough to find an apartment with six other girls (none of whom I knew prior to the abroad experience) near campus. After discussing housing with friends who opted to live with a host family, I would definitely recommend living with other students in an apartment.

* Food:

I love the Spanish cuisine but it is a bit different from what I am accustomed to in the US. Nonetheless, I was able to find nearly all of the groceries I am used to whenever I cooked for myself.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I lived in an apartment with six other girls from all around the world (Holland, France, Canada, US). While I was able to gain a cross-cultural experience by interacting with them and other exchange students from different countries, I did not feel like I was able to integrate into the Spanish society. In large part, this stems from the fact that I only took classes in English.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

While I personally did not have any need to access health services, I knew several people who were easily able to go to the hospital and obtain medicine when they were sick. This process was explained in detail during the program's orientation.

* Safety:

I felt extremely safe during my time here. I walked all over the city by myself during the day and would walk/use public transportation with friends to get around at night. I never felt threatened but I, as well as at least five of my friends, had our phones pick-pocketed.

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

I absolutely loved living in Madrid. Apart from being an amazing city itself, it is extremely centralized and makes exploring other areas of Europe very easy and relatively affordable.


* 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)

If I had stayed in Madrid throughout the course of the semester I would rate finances five stars. All of the grocery stores, restaurants, and local bars are very affordable (weekly groceries could be about 30 euros and a decent meal with a glass of wine could be as low as 6 euros). I rated finances three stars because I traveled a lot during the weekends. While the budget airlines are relatively cheap, they add up, and I struggled with finances in the beginning of the trip when I bought the majority of my flights.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? If I wasn't traveling, I spent about 120 euros a week.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I would budget your trips accordingly and prepare to spend the majority of your money at the beginning of the experience because that's when you plan your trips and buy transportation tickets with other people


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Direct Enrollment

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
* 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?
  • The easy access to other areas in Europe
  • Learning alongside people from all over the world
  • The classes I took during my direct exchange
* What could be improved?
  • Having a list of recommendations on which classes to take from previous students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I know that everything worked out for the best. When I first arrived in Madrid, I had no living accommodations and I didn't know anyone else in my program. Fortunately, I reached out to some people on the Facebook group that was created for this program and was able to find people to live with. Together, we found an apartment and these roommates will remain some of my best friends for life. Before coming on the program, I was worried about meeting people and going to a city where I did not know anyone. Though several of my friends who attended programs and lived with friends from their home university greatly enjoyed their experience abroad, being on my own forced me to get out of my comfort zone and learn how to meet people in a foreign situation.

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.