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ISA Study Abroad in Barcelona, Spain

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    6

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    10

Best time of my life!

Barcelona is such an amazing and lively city that anyone would be #blessed to study abroad in. I loved every minute of it and had the opportunity to improve my Spanish, travel around Europe and Africa and live in the most beautiful city in the entire world. You're doing study abroad wrong if you don't pick BCN.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The Best Four Months

My study abroad experience was the best four months of my life and changed my future for the better! I traveled to Barcelona, Spain with the International Studies Abroad program for the fall semester of my junior year. Barcelona is an exciting, diverse, and welcoming city that steals a part of your heart. I made some of my best friends during this program and now have a second mother in Spain who was my home stay mom. The International Studies Abroad (ISA) program took us on a variety of weekend trips that were included in the program. This allowed me to see other parts of Spain that I wouldn’t have thought to travel to on my own. My favorite of these trips was to Valencia where we spent the day in awe at the beautiful architecture unique to the city. Studying abroad is an original experience that will be exciting and unique to all who embark. I ended up traveling to 14 different countries during my time in Europe and was exposed to gorgeous scenery, varying cultures, and remarkable people. I highly encourage everyone to study abroad because you will be left with the best memories and will have learned more than you ever could in your home classroom. International Studies Abroad changed my life and I plan on returning to Europe in the fall to pursue a Master’s program. The only regret I have about my study abroad experience is not staying longer!! Best of luck fellow travelers!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Barcelona Spring Study Abroad

My abroad experience was amazing. I would advise every student to study abroad during their college years. Experiencing other people’s culture and living among those who are so different from yourself is life changing. I studied abroad in Barcelona for a semester with five other girls who go to my university. My abroad experience would not have been the same if I did not go through International Studies Abroad. ISA was extremely accommodating every step of the way. Their staff was always there for each student and ready to help in any situation. ISA made me feel safe and like I would be taken care of no matter what.
ISA was very well-organized from beginning to end of my trip. They picked us up from the airport and made sure we knew where our housing was from the start. ISA also provided us with various guides on places to go in Barcelona including eateries, museums, and local spots.
Not only would I recommend to study abroad through ISA, I would also urge students to study in Barcelona. The city never became boring once. Barcelona will always be my favorite city and I cannot wait to return.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

Summer 2014 in Barcelona

I had a life-changing experience on the Summer 4 Barcelona program. I traveled with 4 other girls from my university and stayed in an apartment. Although I did not get the full immersion experience by living in an apartment, I had a great experience. The apartment was well-equipped, clean, and in an upbeat neighborhood in Barcelona. The program offered various weekend excursions including cava (champagne tasting) and a trip to the South of France. They made sure that the excursions were fun and interesting for college-aged students. One of my favorite parts about the program was the university and my profesora. Our teacher, Maria, was hilarious and always kept us entertained. I loved that we took classes at an actual university-- I know some programs offer courses in hotel conference rooms. I thought it was really great to experience the college life for a typical Spanish student.

Overall, I thought ISA was very organized and helpful. Their staff had a lot of advice and was easy to get into contact with. I had some family problems while abroad and the staff was more than generous throughout the process. The only thing I regret about studying abroad was that I should have gone longer! The month-long program goes by really quickly because you are so busy trying to see everything you can. I would definitely recommend this program to anyone who wants to go abroad but is unable to during the school year.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

The Real Study Abroad Experience

My study abroad experience was the absolute best time of my life. The staff in Barcelona are truely interested in each of their students experience. They work to provide the best educational and all around good time that you can have. The school in ISA was absolutely the best. I learned more in this semester then I had all of college previously. The teachers are a very diverse group who really care about their students. They don't boggle you down with homework and busy work but instead actually teach you. Global management with Jean Philiipe was my favorite class I have ever taken. Another amazing part of my trip was my homestay. ISA hand picks all of their homestay houses and make sure that they are all the best. My homestay was in the heart of Barcelona and had the best views. My abuelo was the sweetest lady ever and probably the thing I miss the most about spain. The food she made was to die for. The staff also works very hard to integrate you into the culture. ISA sets up weekly tours where they take you round to different regions in Spain. They also send out a weekly letter with their favorite restaurants, bars, and activities in Barcelona. There is also a intercombio option where you can learn to speak better spanish with a native spaniard. The sights and night life in Barcelona are amazing. Having traveled all around Europe I can tell you that there is no better place to be then Barcelona.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Semester in Barcelona

My experience with ISA was exceptional. I was nervous and overwhelmed with getting my affairs in order prior to traveling but ISA was quick to help you every step of the way. They were very organized prior to the trip, during the semester and were available after if we had any questions about transcripts. They provided us with dining suggestions, sites to see and different events or games we could sign up to go to. We also mentioned to them we wish we had a coffee maker, and two days later a coffee maker and six mugs showed up at our door.

In addition to the organization and helpfulness, ISA had multiple included excursions. My only complaint would be that the overnight excursions werent long enough... We could've used 3 days for the Valencia trip instead of two.

Overall ISA made traveling abroad worry-free and fun. Barcelona is the most exceptional city I've ever been to and I would go back and travel with ISA in a heartbeat.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Time in Barcelona with ISA!

I knew since entering college I wanted to study abroad and as soon as I explored my options and found ISA, I felt like it was the best choice! Barcelona was an amazing city and I loved going with students across the USA and getting to go on ISA excursions with them. ISA was really fun and planned us a ton of activities and was very involved with student life but I was still able to go roam and be independent which I appreciated. They set me up with the best house mom who owned a beautiful home in the city. The academics were challenging thanks to the local university, but I turned out enjoying and learning more from their style than ever before. Best experience thanks to ISA and I highly recommend it!!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Barcelona: The city that changed my life

For those looking for a city that is full of culture, wonderful cuisine, a great nightlife and warmhearted people, Barcelona is the city for you. I spent 8 months in Barcelona during my junior year, and my experience was nothing short of unforgettable. On top of the friendliness of the ISA staff, studying abroad helped me become more open cultural differences, and see what a real life Barcelona classroom was like with other local students.

The ISA program is filled with many different housing options, since not everyone feels comfortable in a homestay and this is customary to Spain, as well as help with academics and many different excursions. Each ISA program has something special to offer, but I always felt as though there was never a question that could not be answered by the ISA staff.

As to Barcelona itself, it is a wonderful city full of so many different things to see and do. From trying typical catalan cuisine to walking along Las Ramblas, I feel as though there is an activity for anyone. I spent so many days just wandering around and taking in the beauty, since the Gaudi architecture is something I will never forget. The closeness to the sea and mountains also makes it a wonderful location, especially for someone who is normally used to harsh winters. Overall, my experience in Barcelona with ISA is something I will never forget.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Barcelona: the city that encompasses it all

My study abroad experience in Barcelona through ISA changed my life entirely. When I was searching places to study abroad, I was trying to find a place that push my boundaries as well as having some elements that made me feel comfortable. I grew up in a small town, so I knew I wanted to try out a big city, which would make me feel very out of element. However, I knew I wanted to live somewhere that was a little like home, so it had to be on water. Barcelona, was the city I was looking for and more in that sense because it was a huge city, with water, beaches, and mountains.

Once I knew the location, I had to find a program. I was recommended to go through ISA from my brother's roommate, who said he had a great experience. I was already looking at other programs when he recommended ISA, so I had to make a couple lists comparing other programs. At the end, ISA had the most benefits with it's cost of the program. It was also one of the most reasonably priced with everything it included. Excursions to 3 different places, housing, and the readily available on-site staff made it a clear choice.

Academics: I've never learned so much in such little time. My relationship with my professor made my learning experience unforgettable. She truly wanted us to learn the language and the culture. I've never felt so challenged. However, it was in a way where I knew it wasn't just about passing the test, it was about learning this language in a way I would remember it for life. The small classroom size was perfect for being accountable and feeling comfortable enough to speak up even if you knew you might be wrong.

Living situation: Going in alone, without anyone friends, was a great decision. My only regret is not doing a homestay to expand my language skills. However, living in apartment was a great real world experience of what it was like living in another country. ISA set up everything so it was easy to jump right in.

Cultural immersion: ISA did set up events where you could be culturally immersed. Their intercambio program helped me improve my language so much because I was talking with someone one-on-one, instead of being in a classroom where a teacher can't correct your every sentence. I also formed a great friendship. However, I do think I could have done more myself to become more culturally immersed.

Program Administration: The ISA on-site staff were some of the nicest people I've ever met. They were also extremely helpful with any questions I had. The ISA staff, in the U.S. and abroad, stick out because they truly want you to go abroad and have that experience, and are willing to help in any way possible for you to do that.

Health and safety: I did not have any health issues abroad, but I felt very safe in the neighborhood I was located in.

Social life: Barcelona is fantastic in the social life aspect, because it is a very social city, where you can go out a lot if you want to. However, there are lots of opportunities where there are activities that aren't going to a club, you can go to watch a movie in a park or at an old castle. There are a million of opportunities.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

More than I could have asked for

This program was overall excellent, the ISA staff was helpful before, during, and after my time abroad. I was situated in a safe, fun neighborhood right next to a metro stop with great girls that shared a lot of interests with me. The weekly emails from ISA about cultural activities were always fun and gave us ideas of things to see and do. I felt very prepared after the advice from ISA and orientation and if there was ever a problem the staff were extremely nice and supportive. Classes were interesting and diverse and school was not hard to find. Overall, this was a great program and I would not change anything!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    8

Una primavera en Cataluña

My spring semester in Barcelona was amazing! I improved my Spanish to a highly conversational level (well, they call it Castilian there) and met so many people from all across the EU. My two small problems were that the course offerings weren't amazing (though the courses themselves were at a high level), and I was only able to complete two major courses when I was really hoping and planning on three, and that there should have been more opportunities on ISA's end to meet local students. I managed just fine, especially with EU programs such as Erasmus, but I know some people wish they met more Catalans! But the program was great in every other way! If you all could just find a way to lower the fees ;)

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    6

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

ISA Barcelona

Program is a little disorganized in terms of excursions, but staff was friendly and helpful. Would recommend taking care of any academic issues BEFORE departure, since it may mess you up when you're trying to start classes (not necessarily the fault of ISA Barcelona, maybe ISA in general?). I didn't have any issues with the program; only true con I would give is that the program for Barcelona was huge and impersonal (since cliques form quickly with so many students)... would have liked a smaller program that offered same things.

Academics:
Courses and difficulty will vary; both campuses for international students were located within the city (not at Bellaterra where the locals attend class) and were easy to get to,. Staff made sure we knew the process for adding/dropping classes before they started.

Living Situation:
I was with a homestay. Locations and families can vary greatly (so include your preferences if you have any). My biggest concern was not having internet at my homestay, since that was an extra hassle I had to deal with.

Cultural Immersion:
I really enjoyed the tours and excursions put on by ISA, however they were not always the most organized! Buses were frequently late, cutting our day short, which was the main irritating aspect of trips. We never left without students if they were late to arrive, which I think was unfair for those of us who had shown up on time. However I would still take advantage of anything offered as it is all included in the program price. The tours within Barcelona were very good with informed, passionate guides. Excursions are a little structured, usually with a tour or activity, and then there is free time to explore on your own (although why always during siesta time when everything is closed?)

Program Administration:
ISA Barcelona office is located in the city center, and the staff is accessible after-hours if there is an emergency. The office had a lot of good resources (computers to use internet although it was unreliable, and you can print too; DVDs and books if you want to borrow something). I thought the staff was always happy to help if I had any issues, and they were friendly and made the effort to remember students' names which was nice.