Studying abroad has truly been the experience of a lifetime! Past Review

By (University of the Pacific) - abroad from 01/17/2012 to 05/17/2012 with

USAC Spain: Bilbao/Getxo - International Business and Spanish Language Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My study abroad experience was extraordinary! I learned so much about cultural differences and tolerance. Also, the society that I lived in held strong morals and values and made me want to become a better person as well. My experience abroad was well worth every struggle I initially had and I would encourage any one to do it as well!

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.

The business courses that I took were not so demanding work wise; however, the midterms were exceptionally difficult for the class as a whole. However the spanish track class was fantastic! I loved my professor, Marta, she was absolutely amazing!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The USAC office was like our family abroad. They looked after us on all aspects and were more than willing to help whenever needed. I also appreciated that they would always check-in with us to make sure we were enjoying our time and everything was going well.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The living conditions were fine; however, the cost came out to be much more than what was anticipated prior to leaving. Also, some parts of the town were more expensive to live in than others; however, we were not given the option to choose where we wanted to stay.

* Food:

I mostly ate in my apartment or out in the city when I was at school. It is an adjustment not having fast food always conveniently available; however, it was fun exploring the different food options that are available.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There is definitely a cultural barrier that has to be broken down before you are able to assimilate into the culture: this meaning that sometimes it is the student that has to go out of their way to approach locals but it is well worth it!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The only concern that I had was with the mumps outbreak, but there was not much that could have been done.

* Safety:

I never felt unsafe or in danger. Both, the school and the housing were in great locations.

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)

After taking out rent and utilities, general expenses were not very much for just staying in the city. However, eating out and traveling became very costly.

* Was housing included in your program cost? No
* Was food included in your program cost? No
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? around 70 euro a week without traveling
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Remember to save up for the little things that don't always come to mind. Transportation was a cost that we did not always think about, but definitely adds up especially when traveling.


* 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

The track courses were a great way to learn and practice the language.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
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? high school
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? Talk to the locals in their language: don't try to get away with speaking English. Also, an intercambio is a great way to practice the language and make a local friend!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* 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?
  • USAC staff
  • location
  • opportunities available outside of school
* What could be improved?
  • housing assignments
  • better cafeteria food
  • more excursions
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How to better prepare for the food differences. I don't think I was able to figure out the right kind of milk to buy until my last month there!