Discovering my voice Past Review

By (Multimedia Journalism, English, University of Nevada - Reno) - abroad from 01/10/2011 to 05/18/2011 with

USAC Spain: San Sebastián - Spanish Language, Basque, Psychology, and European Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
In a semester, I truly learned to be an adult. I learned what I was capable of and it gave me confidence I would have never discovered had I never left this country.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

If you're looking for a deep cultural experience, the San Sebastián and the Basque Country is unparalleled. From cuisine to community, USAC's San Sebastián program really allows students to see how great a strong culture can be, and how it can teach you more about the greater people that exist beyond the boundaries of the United States.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Many there are locals and even have experience beyond the city as well. They understand what Americans go through while abroad, and ensure everything is taken care of students are kept alert to society abroad and back home at all times.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Homestay options provide above adequate living and offer an unthinkably astonishing opportunity to establish relationships with host families. Most apartments are shared with just three total students, however, the experience with 5 men in one apartment was a bit overwhelming and undesired, especially as time wore on (keep in mind, this option with 5 people apartments is rare).

* Food:

Basque food is a taste of passion for civilization. There are many unique and luxurious dishes featured in the cuisine. The Basque Cuisine course was especially interesting and delicious. Siderias offer renown food words simply cannot describe or credit enough for the true delight and arousal of flavor entwined with each bite.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Basques seems very serious when seeing them on the street, but they will literally go out of there way to make sure you appreciate the culture and society as much as they have grown up doing.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I was never sick, but those I know who did were given all the resources available upon requesting from the USAC office. There were never any issues students had not receiving health care when needed in a professional and efficient time frame.

* Safety:

The city is full of unselfish and sympathetic characters. As long as students act as adults--as they should anywhere they go--no worries of safety ever exist.

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)

In accordance to other study abroad programs outside of USAC I researched, the rates of tuition and housing seemed to be cheaper than most; however, I just wish our home universities would understand how important studying abroad is for the development of society, and offer more scholarships and methods of payments for those students who are forced to take out vast loans to pay for their studies abroad.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $30.00US
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Plan ahead a year before leaving to go abroad. During that time, work and save up large sums of money, and research and apply for every scholarship possible (even if you think you don't meet requirements). Donors are constantly looking to give out scholarship money, and many scholarships go unused, or to those who do not or barely meet requirements. Study abroad is a serious life experience, and should be taken as one.


* 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

Our professor taught us very well, and in small classes (6-7 students), we became close with those around us, and we just spoke to each other. Not only does being in a foreign country make you need to learn how to speak while you're there, but it became a relationship building exercise with our peers. It also gave us great confidence in general to be able to learn something one day, and go out and use it immediately to improve our status in society.

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Spanish 212 (fourth semester)
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? Find language partners and live in a homestay. Force yourself to go out into the community alone. Most will find, especially in the Basque Country, people will be very willing to help you speak correctly and help you learn.

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
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Field Trips
  • Staff
  • Courses
* What could be improved?
  • Apartments
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Was more responsible and understanding of budgeting before I left. The loans I will have to pay are worth every cent, but it could have been much cheaper had I been a bit more smart and saved for a year before leaving.

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.