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Studying Abroad in Seville, Granada, or Barcelona

Studying Abroad in Seville, Granada, or Barcelona

Old Feb 2nd, 2013, 09:00 AM
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Studying Abroad in Seville, Granada, or Barcelona

I'm planning on studying abroad in Spain this coming fall and I'm torn on where I should go. I plan on studying abroad through a company like ISA or CEA. If anyone has any recommendations on which is the best city in terms of culture, safety, and schooling it would be much appreciated! Also if anyone has been through one of these programs I would love to hear what you have to say about them too.
hokie12 is offline  
Old Feb 2nd, 2013, 10:15 AM
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This implies that you are not a university student with a semester abroad but someone who wants to learn Spanish while in Spain.

I would immediately eliminate Granada. Even though the Alhambra and Granada are more than worthwhile, they do not offer the richer culture that are available in Barcelona and Sevilla. Additionally, in Andalusia they clip the ends of their words making it difficult, at least for me, to understand. For some reason, it is not as prevelant in Sevilla.

The main language of Barcelona is Catalan which founded in Provençale but Castilian spoken by everyone and it is a clear and distinct accent. It is my favorite city in Spain with its unique architecture and joie de vivre.

Sevilla on the other hand is a beautiful city and a great place to wander. Sevilla has a layered culture from many different people and times and is an excellent jumping off place for other towns and cities including Granada.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2013, 10:25 AM
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You'll find that there are a number of cultural differences between Sevilla and Barcelona. Even Granada is different, although it is in Andalucia, so it will come down to where do you want to do your semester abroad. Other options you might add are Madrid, Salamanca and Green Spain (Cantabria, Asturias. Galicia and the País Vasco), all representing different cultures.

Safety and schooling should be fairly equal and not something to worry about, as each of your choices attract tens of thousands of foreign students each year.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2013, 10:48 AM
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Central Spain has the purest Castillian, so if language is your reasn to come, I would choose somewhere central. not

However, if geography is utmost to you, and weather, then obviously you need to look to the Coast ( Valencia, perhaps?) and southern Spain in spite of some amusing idiosyncrasies in the pronunciation.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2013, 12:16 PM
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my daughter studied in Granada summer of '09 and loved it.. she is out of state right now, but when she returns on Monday - I will ask her for some feedback - if you would like it.... She speaks fluent Spanish, and was disappointed that English was spoken as much as it was there.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2013, 12:40 PM
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Have you considered Salamanca??..smallish university town, lots of students, great tapas, reasonable prices (because it is student/family oriented (not big time touristy) , easily accessed by train or bus from MAD. DD loved her year there and I loved my 2 month (Spring and Fall 2012) visits!!
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Old Feb 26th, 2013, 12:12 PM
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my daughter loved Granada.. she didn't have any feedback re: this...
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Old Feb 26th, 2013, 01:16 PM
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ISA and CEA are both programs for college students, so I assume you are a university student who is looking to study abroad.

My daughter is in Rome this semester, but she went with IES Abroad, and I just wanted to mention that we have both been very impressed with the program so far. They were very organized with all the pre-departure information, and helpful in answering all our questions. Now that she is there, she says they are very organized and very impressed with how the program runs, from her apt, to professors, to all the extra-curricular activities they provide for the students.

Also, she had a friend who studied in Granada last Spring and absolutely loved it!
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Old Feb 26th, 2013, 02:47 PM
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Considering your forum name, I'm guessing you go to Va Tech. Because the misery of Va Tech students is an interest of graduates from other schools in the Commonwealth like me, you should go to Granada because it makes up for its lack of charm with both its lack of interesting things to do other than visit the Alhambra and its lack of easy transport connections (Barcelona and Seville are on the fast train lines, Granada is not).

If I hadn't graduated from another school in the Commonwealth, I'd advise Seville or Barcelona because either has a TON more things to do and see, including interesting (Cordoba, Montserrat) day trips, than Granada and would be far more interesting.

Salamanca is an excellent choice too if you want to have a great experience. It is more isolated than Seville or Barcelona (each of which is far larger) because it is a small town and is not on a fast train line.

Barcelona would be the first choice because of its innumerable charms and its relative proximity to the French Riviera (about equivalent to Blacksburg to Myrtle Beach), Mallorca, and the whole east coast of Spain. Seville is fairly close to the Costa del Sol.
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Old Mar 7th, 2013, 11:19 AM
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Back in 2004, I studied abroad in Granada with ISA and it was a wonderful experience. I definitely wanted to be in the south of Spain because I loved the cultural influence of the Moors in the art and architecture. Barcelona has a completely different feel from Granada and Sevilla. I don't really think of it as giving you a sense of typical Spain, due to the heavy Catalan influence. Signs, etc. are sometimes in Catalan rather than Castillano, which is not idea for really immersing yourself in Spanish language, IMO. Having lived in the south, Barcelona doesn't feel like real Spain to me.

For deciding between Granada vs. Sevilla, either would be wonderful. The language in the south is more difficult to understand, but I loved it once I got used to it. Sevilla is a much larger city than Granada -- that can be either a good or bad thing depending on what you are hoping to get from your experience. I loved Granada because I thought it had more charm than Sevilla. You can't beat seeing the Alhambra every day when you walk to class. However, Sevilla probably has more things to do, more stores, etc. Sevilla feels more cosmopolitan to me, although there is still plenty of history around (it's Europe, after all).

The staff at ISA in Granada were really great, and I have only good things to say about that program. The directors were excellent, the office (with computers and internet access) was conveniently located right next to the university. The side trips that they included were amazing: all very well planned. According to the ISA website, some of the same people I had are still there: Eugenio, Christian, and David. They were all excellent and did a fabulous job. One of the students in my group had to be hospitalized for some intestinal problem while she was there and one of the staff was always in the room with her making sure everything was okay. I had to go to the doctor for strep throat during my visit and one of the staff went with me to make sure I could communicate with the doctor and they walked me through how to pick up my prescriptions at the pharmacy. I would definitely recommend ISA.

The classes were much easier than classes at my small liberal arts university in the states; I learned a lot, but I never had to study (which is good -- when you're abroad you don't want to waste time in your room studying!). I never felt unsafe in Granada, even walking home by myself at 3am. Everywhere is Spain gives warnings to beware of pickpockets, although I believe Barcelona actually has a higher incidence of street crime. Be alert and careful and you will not have problems.
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Old Mar 18th, 2013, 03:09 AM
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Seems to be some confusion as to whether your doing this through university or by yourself. If youre doing it privately you could try Estudia Espana. They have a host of schools to choose from. As I decided to learn the language AFTER college, I didnt have the benefit of funded study abroad programs. These guys were very helpful though.

I went to one of their schools in Granada two times. Granada is amazing! Hot... no, extremely hot in summer but there's an amzing feel to the city. the coast is just an hour away too and we spent a weekend or two down there to cool off Dont be put off by people telling you they dont speak 'the purest' Spanish in Granada. It's really not a problem...

Let us know how you get on with your plans!
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