I will never forget Gexto Past Review

By (Business Administration, California State University - Chico) for

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes, it was worttwhile. I picked up an accent, I learned about the history of the basque people and I met so many amazing individuals. I will remember my study abroad experience forever.

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 took on too many classes while I was there. Although I left Bilboa full of knowledge and speaking spanish, I think four classes would've been sufficient. I enjoyed working with my teachers, they were all very nice and patient. I was a level three student so after Thursday hit, I was off on a plane for the weekend. I would recommend taking four levels of spanish and then some writing/oral conversation classes before going abroad because if you are trying to learn spanish but your vocabulary is limited then it is difficult to get by in Gexto. Also, if you are level three spanish student or above then you have a three day weekend vs. a two day weekend.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

On the last day we were getting on a bus at 10pm and I ended up locking myself out of the apartment with my passport inside! The USAC advisors paid for a cab to transport my landlord so that I was able to get into my apartment before it was too late. They are so nice and helpful, I don't know what I would've done without them.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was set up to live with Americans, but now I wish I would've lived with a family or an international student because there were so many nights that I had simple questions on my homework and any fluent speaker could've explained the aswer in five minutes tops. I loved living with the girls I got set up with but a lot of the time they were doing their own thing. The housing, no matter what, will be smaller, colder, and have thinner walls then anywhere in the U.S.

* Food:

I love basque food!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Amazing experience. Every thursday night we would go to a pub that played american music. I loved their disturnadoras (screwdrivers). They squeezed fresh oranges right in front of you.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I felt completely safe but when I was sick I was not sure who to contact first other then when we were at school we could go to the USAC office to ask for help. When I was sick I was in Morrocco and then Amsterdamn so It was not possible to go see a doctor for a reasonable price. My body was able to fight it off, but when traveling it was close to impossible to go see a doctor without loosing an arm or a leg.

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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
Language acquisition improvement?

The spaniards could not understand my spanish when I arrived, but they could understand me when I left. That says enough in itself :)

If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Bring a sturdy umbrella! When I was abroad it rained more then Seattle, WA. After getting into the swing of things I was luckily able to pick up a job teaching English while I was there so that I was able to travel on the weekends. Flights are cheap, but living there is expensive. Also I would recomend setting up an account with Euros instead of keeping the same account and pulling out euros. I am a Bank of America customer and I had to pay almost $10 everytime I used an ATM. I would recommend setting up an account that has purely euros in it with a debit card attached to the account. Rent was always requested in cash, so you bare the expenses of pulling the money out and exchanging it. Also, spend some time in Gexto. I know its exciting because there are so many new countries surrounding you but Gexto is a great town, and you will learn a lot from the culture there. Most importantly, HAVE FUN!