Valencia: Travel, Learn, Experience Past Review

By (English Language and Literature, University of Tulsa) - abroad from 05/20/2015 to 07/05/2015 with

University of Tulsa: TU Spanish Language & Culture in Valencia

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot of Spanish, got to travel and see a lot of Spain and even other parts of Europe, had a lot of fun, and made many friends. So worthwhile! I miss the experience.

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.

I learned a LOT of Spanish in the classes and definitely improved my Spanish skills. Furthermore, the professors were great about understanding that we also wanted time abroad to travel and have fun, so there was not too much outside of class work.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The ISA Valencia staff were GREAT. They were helpful and always willing to give advice and support. The ISA office, located a short walk from the university where I took my classes, was always a great resource if I had questions, wanted to use a computer, or print.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I stayed with a host family who were absolutely wonderful. They did not speak any English, which was intimidating at first, but ended up being incredibly helpful in helping me develop my Spanish speaking skills. I learned so much about Spanish culture through living with them, and what it is like to be a native. Staying with a host family is a fun, educational, once-in-a-lifetime experience!

* Food:

My host family provided three meals a day. I loved their food and it saved me a lot of money (and was more delicious!) than eating out all the time. It was a great way to experience traditional Spanish food and see how families dine in Spain. Valencia also has a lot of great restaurants that I frequented with my friends. Going out for tapas is the best!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt very integrated with the culture, especially because I lived with a Spanish family. Because of this, I got to experience their way of life, meet their friends and neighbors, and even do unique activities like attend my host sister's high school graduation. In addition, I attended a Spanish university (the University of Valencia) and was taught by Spanish professors (rather than Americans speaking Spanish), so all of this allowed me to really be a part of a new culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

ISA Valencia not only provides health insurance as part of the program cost, but is also more than willing to accompany anyone to the doctor or hospital for any health concerns. During orientation, what to do in an emergency was thoroughly addressed. While abroad, I actually fainted while leaving my apartment to get to school, and I was well taken care of by the staff and my host family.

* Safety:

Valencia is incredibly safe. I never felt like I was in danger, even getting home late at night. Really the only crime that occurs is theft and pick pocketing, so you will not experience any problems as long as you keep track of your belongings and do not make yourself a target to pick-pocketers.

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)

Because I had the option of eating all my meals with my host family free of charge, it was very easy not to spend too much money. For those who choose to eat out and spend money on lots of souvenirs and excursions, it is easy to spend a lot, but it is also easy to find ways to save money if you so choose, such as eating meals at home and not buying lots of gifts and souvenirs.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Probably about 75 euros, but a lot more if I chose to travel outside of Spain (I spent a weekend in Amsterdam)
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Don't buy worthless souvenirs you won't need or use when you arrive home, and eat some meals at home. Also, the bus is an easy and cheap way of transportation, rather than a taxi. Also, ISA provides students with a TON of optional excursions that come with the program cost, so go on those, because you won't have to pay for them yourself!


* 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

Speaking Spanish was encouraged, and I was able to improve a lot.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? I took the advanced courses at TU like Spanish Composition, Conversation, and Linguistics.
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? Speak it and listen to Spanish radio or television.

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
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?
  • Opportunities for excursions and travel
  • Living with a host family
  • Meeting other students studying abroad and making friends
* What could be improved?
  • Better orientations to prepare students more
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How much I would miss being abroad.. so to enjoy the experience while I am still in it rather than be homesick!!

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.