Spectacular Spain Past Review

By (Eastern Illinois University) - abroad from 01/08/2018 to 03/16/2018 with

University of Salamanca: Salamanca - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned friendship skills, how to be more confident in myself, how to be okay with trying new foods, and more of the Spanish language! Everything was worthwhile there.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I knew that living in a primarily Spanish-speaking country for awhile would give me great practice and help me learn more Spanish, but the classes I attended there were also phenomenal. That is where I met friends to practice the language with, had amazing professors that taught their language flawlessly, and really solidified my knowledge of the grammar of Spanish.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They were extremely helpful. The only problem was that at first, my conversational skills in Spanish were not that developed, which made it hard to communicate problems with the administration. None of them knew much English.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I stayed with a host family, which everyone recommended I do, but I sort of regret that. I had more exposure to Spanish and the life of a Spanish family, but feeling like I was living with my own mom again and having rules took the fun and independence I was used to having while living on my own in the US. It was hard to feel like I was having an amazing European adventure at times while living in that house.

* Food:

The food was one of the best aspects of this experience. I am known by my friends and family as a picky eater, and I really feared not enjoying the food during my stay, but I was so wrong. The food was amazing.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It was easy to fit in. Lots of foreigners stay in Salamanca. I joined a gym, used the public transportation, and visited several locations in the city to get to know it and become a part of it. Spaniards live differently than Americans, but if you're willing, you'll be able to learn how to adjust.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I give this four stars only because I never had to use the healthcare that I was provided with. I assume it was good from what I heard from my friends, though. It was comforting to know that my school ID covered most medical costs.

* Safety:

Salamanca is a super safe city. I did not run into major problems. The only case was at a restaurant in which a suspicious young man appeared to try to steal something from my purpose. He was unsuccessful because I knew how to avoid those types of situations. If you're smart, you can avoid getting robbed, too. This didn't alarm me too much because it happens everywhere. I felt safe walking around most of the time, but at night, it was a little different for me being in a city when I'm used to living in the country. I don't think there is a safer city, though!

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

I loved so much about Salamanca and my experience, but looking back, I would choose a city in southern Spain because I was looking forward to warmer climate, but I mostly experienced rainy, snowy, and cold weather.


* 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)

Personally, I decided not to travel much, so I didn't go very much over budget.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you want to travel a lot, you will need to budget a lot more than people like me who did not travel much. But let me tell you, I think everyone goes over budget at least a little bit. You're in Europe and want to live it up, so you should budget a good amount, even if your housing arrangements provide you with meals.


* 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

I had a professor that would not allow us to speak any other language other than Spanish in his presence, even if we passed him on the street outside of class. It was highly encouraged in all of my classes to meet with friends and speak only Spanish with them outside of class. This was amazing practice.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? FLS 3000
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? Definitely spend time only speaking Spanish with other people who are at your level or at a higher level. Also, watching movies, reading, listening to songs, and navigating yourself in a Spanish-speaking country are amazing ways to practice the language.

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

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Food
  • Classes
  • How beautiful Salamanca is
* What could be improved?
  • My host stay
  • The time of year for better climate
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had gone with a group or some friends because I felt really homesick during this endeavor. So many others already had friends at school because they traveled with a friend or a school group, and I felt like an outsider at times. It was harder for me to make friends at first, but eventually, it all worked out!

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!