Skip to main content
9 answers
9
Asked 779 views

What's the best advice for someone studying abroad?

I am studying abroad in Madrid, Spain this semester. I would love to hear anyone's advice or opinions! Specifically, some topics that have interested me are: traveling on a budget, learning Spanish/Spanish fluency, making/keeping friends abroad, and time management.

#study-abroad #college #travel #college-advice #spanish #spain #time #budget #life

+25 Karma if successful
From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you

9

9 answers


0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Soyeon’s Answer

Hi Anjali,

Congratulations on your new journey to Spain! As an international student, I know how it is to study abroad so I thought I would leave some words.

The best advice I can give is that make sure you do 2-3 things outside of your comfort zone. You don't have to push yourself too much just because you are studying abroad, thinking this will be your last time in Spain.

Making friends is always a great way to do more activities, get fluent with the language, etc. I would recommend if there would be anyone connected to the study abroad program or other students around the area. Start with a simple cup of coffee, tea, brunch - whatever can make the chance to get to know each other. Just make sure you are respecting them and they will respect you as well.

For budgeting, know your total amounts on where you want to spend it on - categorize it to food, souvenirs, traveling. It will help you make a limit and restrain from any unnecessary expenses. Also, pick specific places you want to go first before traveling. Then you can make a route of how to travel from point A to point B without the worries of missing the train or bus, etc.

Don't worry too much, and try to enjoy the most of your time there. Take pictures, eat food, meet new people! I wish you good luck.

Soyeon recommends the following next steps:

Pick your top 3-5 places you want to go and make a route map
Budget how much you want to spend on the trip
Learn basic phrases in the language to open small talk
Read about the country basics through tourist books or other people who have been there before
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Kelly’s Answer

Hey Anjali!

Congrats on your trip to Spain!

I can honestly say that studying abroad was one of the best times of my life, so needless to say I am very excited for you. I would agree with all of the recommendations you have received so far.

My top recommendation is to keep an open mind to all experiences. Some of the fondest memories of my trip was when I tried something outside of my comfort zone or tried something I normally wouldn't be into. Yes, it will be scary, but I promise you won't regret it.

Secondly, I would do your best not to use English and immerse yourself in the language and culture. When I was in France, I would try to speak French, but it must have been really bad because people would respond to me in English. At the time, I took advantage of this, but looking back, I should have forced myself to learn the language. If you have the opportunity, try and make friends with the locals, they can usually give you ideas of things to do that aren't in the travel books or other tips.

As mentioned in an earlier response, I think if you plan ahead you can take advantage of good deals to help stay within your budget. However, I would also recommend it might be worth it to spend a little more on experiences vs. food. You will remember the experience but may not remember the daily meals you had. Additionally, I would try to hide some cash or a credit card in your room for emergencies. When I was abroad, technology wasn't readily available as it is today, so when I had my wallet stolen and it was a nightmare trying to get things settled.

Good luck and have fun!
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Taylor’s Answer

Hello Anjali! I studied abroad in Merida, Mexico when I was in college. It's not Spain - but still a Spanish speaking country and I absolutely LOVED the experience. I left my 5-month study abroad experience fluent in Spanish and I'll tell you what I think contributed to that the most.

First, for the 5 months I was there I lived in a homestay instead of a dormitory. This was a family that only spoke Spanish and so all of the time I spent there I was forced to remove the English from my vocabulary and only speak spanish! This was a gamechanger for me. I picked up phrases, grammar and vocabulary so quickly this way.

Second, I made sure that when I saw my American friends, we really tried to speak Spanish to each other as well. We were all living in Mexico, so why not embrace the culture! Sure, it would be easier to revert back to our native language, but we reminded each other that we were all in Mexico for the short - term and wanted to make the most of it.

Third, speak with the locals! Whether you are touring, grocery shopping, going to a local gym, etc... interact with the locals! Ask where the bathroom is, ask for recommendations, ask questions just to give you more practice! I promise it will help.

Budgeting - definitely understand you want to travel on a budget - but my advice would be to prioritize spending money on your study abroad experience even if it means you have to budget more when you get back to your home state. Study abroad was one of the most amazing experiences of my life - and I definitely cherish all of the mini-trips I went on and experiences that I did that cost money. Be wise about it, but know that you are investing in learning and broadening your worldly understanding and horizon!

Best of luck - be safe and have fun!
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Veronica’s Answer

Hi There,

A wonderful choice!! I moved to Spain a couple of years ago and I love it!! Some of the reasons why are in your question:

1. It's a great place to travel on a budget! Spain is small enough and really well connected through public transportation so you can take a train everywhere or a bus. It's cheap and safe and the places are AMAZING. Whether it's a nature trip to the mountains, cultural trip to old towns and roman bridges or a food travel to taste the different dishes. There are several websites that "suggests" routes with maps and tips. Don't be picky....yes, there are "must go places" but i haven't found yet a place i go that dissappointed me so when there is a lot to select from, just pick you and GO .... it will be good for sure. No mistake. They also have "group tours" to go to the mountains with people. They cost 10-20 euros and it's a great place to meet new people.

Some of those websites:

www.buscarutas.com
www.espanafascinante.com
www.madridlowcost.es

LANGUAGE:
I speak spanish but i think that the best way is to find free events and go there to mingle with people. Generally there are a lot of foreigners that will be in your same situation but also LOTs of locals dying to talk to people from abroad. THere is a great website that provides free walking tours, theatre events, music or photography, museums event, etc ALL FREE. The website is

www. madridfree.com

I think the above will definitively provide you with the option to find friends and people... at the same time learn the language and ultimately enjoy your time.

For time management:

In my case, I would suggest to spend some time setting up a schedule. I generally do it over the weekend, look to what events i have in the future and organize myself like that. I actually write a list of things that i want to do: Study my piano, learn a language, something for fun, exercise and then in front of the week i distribute the things so every morning I know what to do and actually i make sure i have a balance life between fun, studying, exercising, cooking for myself.

Hope this helps !!!
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Patricia’s Answer

Hola!

I did my student exchange program in Minnesota USA to learn English and it was the best experience in my life. Not only I learned the language, but I also fostered great friendships and learned about the culture. At the end of the program I was fluent in English and full of good experiences. My horizon opened greatly for me.

The key to study abroad is to immerse yourself with the locals and don't be afraid to make mistakes. Keep your mind open that you are there to learn and the best way is to making mistakes and learning from them. Also, try to pick up a hobby that you are interested in. Not only it keeps your mind creative, but you also meet new friends along with learning the language.

Spain is a friendly country and easy to go around. Make sure you have a wise budget to visit as many cities you can so you can learn the culture and history from each region. There is a lot of enrichment when you take a day trip to a nearby city and learn something new.

Studying abroad is not only about the language is about building character and experiences that you will cherish for life.

Best of luck!

0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Sam’s Answer

WOW! That's a fantastic opportunity!

- Take time to learn Spanish, another language is a skill that will serve you for a lifetime.
- Find others with the same interests
- Make time to keep in touch with them after. With today's technology, it's easier than ever!
- When on a budget, do your research ahead of time to find deals, less expensive travel times or modes and try to stay with friends or in hostels.

Don't forget about your studies either, make the best of your time in school!


Cheers
-Sam
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Tammy’s Answer

What a wonderful experience! I highly recommend studying abroad for every student who has the opportunity to do so! I studied abroad my junior year of college and it was a great time of learning and growing for me. A few things that helped me:

BUDGET BUDGET BUDGET! Before I left, I decided ahead of time exactly how much money I would take with me for the semester and then I divided that out over the number of weeks I would be there. I found a bank here locally that also had a branch near the school I was attending in London so I could weekly go to the bank and withdraw my spending for that week. I worked completely in cash so that each week, I had the freedom to spend the money in my pocket but did not overspend or overindulge which would have left me broke before the end of the semester. I was still able to travel a bit and to do tourist things because I had budgeted enough money to do that. Its all about planning ahead and being mindful of the money you have to spend.

EXPERIENCE! I made it a point to do something touristy each week. The awesome thing about spending a whole semester in one place is having the chance to do all the things that you would never be able to do if you only came to visit for week or so. Don't be afraid to do something on your own as well- of course be careful and safe about it but there is nothing wrong with checking out a restuarant or a musuem, or a local art show, or a play or visiting a festival by yourself. You might just meet some cool people along the way. I also signed up for a few of those bus tours with a friend and we got to do a few day trips to various places. Those trips were fun and we got some good deals. THe great part about a guided trip is that everything is covered for you and you dont have to worry about how to get there or buying tickets, etc.

FRIENDS! For me, I went to an English speaking country so I did not have a language barrier but I made it a point to talk to everyone. Learn people's names in your classes and introduce yourself. People are always interested to meet an international student and hear about your life. I lived in the dorms which was also helpful because I met the people in my hall and in the TV lounge. Join a study group or sign up for a club at the school to meet others.

LANGUAGE! The best way to learn a new language is to fully immerse yourself in it. Refrain from speaking English as much as possible. Stay off your US social media accounts and only watch tv shows in Spanish. I assume you have some familiarity with the language since you got into the program in Spain so start training your brain to think and talk Spanish all the time. You are only there for a semester so be fully there and leave English at home.
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Rachel’s Answer

If your goal is to learn the language, you will need to commit to spending time with Spanish-speaking friends and limiting time with English speaking people. This may be a challenge because it is difficult to feel like the odd man out in a group of people who all understand each other. That said, having Spanish-speaking friends will force you to learn the language quickly and efficiently.
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

MOHAMMED’s Answer

Hi Anjali
i foud this one, old but Gold , check this out

https://www.theodysseyonline.com/14-tips-studying-madrid

kindly
0