Undergraduate Program


International Study
Comments from Haas Students - Non-EAP Programs


The views expressed here are original, unedited student comments. These views do not necessarily reflect the position of the Haas Undergraduate Program and/or UC Berkeley.

Argentina
University of Belgrano in Buenos Aires

University of Belgrano in Buenos Aires
International Studies Abroad (ISA)


Studying abroad was probably one of the most valuable experiences I have had in college. Buenos Aires was the perfect place for me to study abroad and I also got the opportunity to travel a fair amount throughout South America. I am a double major at UC Berkeley, studying Business Administration and Development Studies with a focus on Economic Development in Latin America.


I chose to study in Argentina because I needed to study in Latin America for my Development Studies major and it would also allow me to earn the Global Management Concentration through Haas. Also, I have family in Buenos Aires that I had never met and heard it was a great city. It is. Buenos Aires is often referred to as "the Paris of Latin America" and is a city full of culture, art, beautiful architecture, and a great deal of history of economic and political havoc, resilience and development. Buenos Aires is also a great option for students that want to improve their Spanish because it is easier to achieve full immersion here than in Europe.

My program was International Studies Abroad (ISA) and I was very happy with it. Other than ISA, I met people that were happy with the CEA program to Buenos Aires as well. I studied at the University of Belgrano in Buenos Aires and took 16 units. ISA has a program office close to the university with a full-time staff that are available to help with classes, tutoring, answering questions about the city, host family issues, and anything else. There were also about 6 computers available to students to use for Internet, homework assignments, or whatever. The ISA staff was very nice and took us on several excursions as part of our program.


I chose my classes to fulfill requirements for my DS major and for the Haas GMC. The classes I took were:

- Argentina, Latin America and Economic Globalization
- Argentine Economic Policy
- ISA Keystone Course: Argentina Across Two Centuries: Self Reflection, Depiction and Interpretation (web link)
- International Commercialization (with Argentine students)
- Advanced Spanish
- Tango Dance (didn't get credit, but two hours of dance instruction a week was great!).


As a final comment, because Argentina is in the Southern Hemisphere, its school semesters and breaks are reversed, so my semester did not start until March and ended in July. This made it very hard to get a summer internship (which I knew when I chose to study here), and I instead spent the summer backpacking through South America after my classes finished. I know that most Haas students are extremely concerned with recruiting and ensuring they have the "perfect" summer internship to get a job the following year. I knew that by choosing to study abroad, I would miss this opportunity. Instead, I had a two month internship with a leadership consulting firm before I left and spent the summer finishing up classes and traveling. I went through recruiting this Fall and although I agree it would have been nice to have had a more concrete internship on my resume, I do not think my chances were hurt too much by my decision to travel abroad and I still got some job offers I was happy with. I actually think that students that study abroad are often stronger candidates and those that study abroad in the Northern Hemisphere can easily study abroad and get home in time for a summer internship.


What to bring

If you go to Buenos Aires in the Spring semester, it is the end of summer there and heading into Fall and then winter. It was pretty hot when I first arrived at the beginning of March and was very cold when I left in August. Bring a skirt or capris for when it is hot, and then jeans for the rest of the time. Fashion is fairly similar to what it is in the U.S. Definitely bring a few scarves and jackets. There is a ton of shopping to be done in Buenos Aires, so do not worry if you forget something (I bought 10 pairs of shoes abroad). If you plan on traveling around, I would bring a backpack from home (or there are camping stores where you can get one) and bring a big warm jacket as these tend to be imported and overpriced down there. My down jacket got me through Bolivia alive (it was down to -14* Celcius there a couple of times).

What not to bring

Don't pack too much because you usually wear the same outfits fairly often and people have varying amounts of storage space depending on their host family or living situations.

Where to eat

There are great cafes and restaurants all over Buenos Aires. It is the country of beef and Malbec wine, so enjoy!


Places to visit

In Buenos Aires:
Ferrias:
Ferria de San Telmo: If you are there on a weekend, you should definitely head to the outdoor fair in San Telmo. You can take the subway to Congreso and then walk to the ferria (ask someone at your hostel how to get to "la ferria de San Telmo). This is on Sundays.

Cementerio de la Reccoleta: This is the famous cementary that has Evita's grave. It's actually a really cool cementary and I would recommend checking it out if you have time. Address: Junin 1760, entre Guido y Vicente Lopez. Admission is free.

El Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes: The national art museum has an amazing collection! And, entrance is free. Address: Avenida del Libertador 1473. Open Tuesday-Friday 12:30-7:30 and Saturday and Sunday 9:30-7:30pm.

Plaza de Mayo: Famous plaza. The mothers of "los deseparecidos" still march here (I think on Wednesday afternoons at 3pm...).

La Boca: This is the famous part of the city that has the brightly colored buildings, but it's kind of hard to get to and is known for theft and pickpocketing of tourists.

Bars and Clubs: (clubs are called "boliches" in Buenos Aires)
Plaza Serrano (also known as Plaza Cortaza) in Palermo: This plaza is surrounded by really hip, fun bars and has lots of young, fun people there pretty much every night of the week (Monday included). You can sit at outdoor tables and people watch and enjoy some nice refreshments (Quilmes, the National beer, is uber-popular)

Liquid: My all time favorite bar! Thursday nights, this local bar is full of mainly young, very attractive Argentineans with few foreigners. It's located on Avenida Santa Fe between Scalabrini Ortiz and Araoz (tell the Taxi driver, "Liquid, en Avenida Santa Fe entre Scalbrini Ortiz y Araoz"!). Ideally, try to arrive around midnight on a Thursday night. (Free entrance and drinks are fairly cheap).

Azucar: Salsa club! Friday and Saturday nights this salsa club is really fun. It's located on Avenida Cabildo 2040. In the Belgrano neighborhood. (On Cabildo between Echeverria y Juramento). Entrance: 25 pesos with a drink included. (about $8).

Las Canitas: This is the cutest little neighborhood ever and is filled with amazing restaurants and bars. I would recommend heading here one night for a good dinner with friends and then going to the bars in the area. Ask to get dropped off at Baez (Baez 325 or so is a good area and has two of my favorite bars, Van Koning and Jackie O). Jackie O is really fun any night of the week.

Museum: This club is really fun as well. It's in San Telmo (on Peru 535). On Wednesday nights they have an "After Office Party", so people come from work and you can start partying at about 9pm. Fun if you're near there, but is a lot of techno.

Crobar: By far one of my favorite clubs. The big front room is a lot of techno, but there is a back room where they play a ton of American oldies and great music. http://www.infoboliches.com.ar/crobar.htm. (Girls get in for about 20 pesos ($7 USD) and it's really fun. Also, pretty easy to get a cab there and back home. I'd definitely recommend this for a typical Bs.As. boliche.

In Argentina and South America:
Mendoza: Mendoza is the wine-making region of Argentina, on the west, near Chile. It is very Napa-esque. I would stay in a hostel and it is a really fun place to go. There is a company called "Bikes and Wine" that rents bicycles and gives you a map and you can go visit different wineries, a chocolate factory, and gourmet deli. There are also a lot of nice restaurants and cafes in Mendoza and a ton of young people travel here, so staying in hostels here is really fun. I went twice.

Iguazu Falls (Las Cataratas de Iguazu): These are some of the most beautiful waterfalls ever and are included as part of the ISA program.

Uruguay: The ISA program includes a day trip to Colonia, Uruguay, but the ferry ride each way is pretty long and I would recommend more time. I went to Uruguay for my spring break with two friends and we really enjoyed getting to know Montevideo and Punta del Este (beach!).

Salta: Salta is in Northern Argentina and is beautiful. From Salta, it is fairly easy to get to Bolivia.

Bolivia: Go to Bolivia! My friend and I did a 4 day tour of the Uyuni Salt Flats (the largest salt flats in the world) and it was amazing. You can book tours in towns once you cross the border into Bolivia or online. La Paz was also really fun and has some amazing old markets.

Peru: Peru was great! My friend and I spent about 4 days in Cusco before starting our 5 day trek to Machu Pichu. We walked the Salcantay Trail and had an amazing trip! From Cusco we went to Lima for a couple of days and then flew back to Buenos Aires before heading home.


Culture shock

I really didn't experience hardly any culture shock as I had lived in Latin America before and Buenos Aires is one of the most developed places in all of Latin America. One thing that is annoying to get used to is how some of the systems seem totally inefficient compared to systems at home (i.e. the process of getting a Visa or signing up for classes and taking finals).


Reverse culture shock

Not really any, either, except I missed Argentina and it is weird that nightlife in the U.S. ends at 2am (as opposed to 7am abroad).


How to meet "locals"

I met "locals" at school and at Liquid, my favorite lounge and bar. Most classes are with Americans or different international students, but I took a class for Argentinean students in which I was the only non-Argentinean, so I met a lot of people. I also made some friends at a local bar that is mostly young Argentineans and people are generally nice and chatty. Some of my friends also made friends by joining sports teams, school choir, going to a local church, or through their host families.


Language skills

I had an advanced level of Spanish when I arrived, but continuously improved it throughout my time there. Most everyone on my program improved their Spanish speaking skills a ton because most people don't speak English, so everyone is constantly speaking Spanish, especially if they live with a host family.


Really interesting courses

Argentina, Latin America, and Economic Globalization (taught by Roger).


Housing suggestions

I lived with a host family and loved it. Otherwise, I would suggest trying to find your own apartment and doing your own housing apart from ISA.

Other comments

Go abroad!

(Fall 2007)

Non - EAP Denmark, Copenhagen (DIS)


What to bring
"Only the bare essentials. Be very aware of the climate and insure that clothes are chosen accordingly. Also some music will help make you feel like you are back at home. Also large backpacks are great for travel." (Spring 1999 - Student 1)


"Clothing, some form of musical entertainment, a laptop, and a big back pack." (Spring 1999 - Student 2)


What not to bring
"Do not bring too much." (Spring 1999 - Student 1)


"A television." (Spring 1999 - Student 2)


Where to eat
"Most places in most of the world are usually more expensive than America, especially England and Scandanavia. Learn to cook at home. You make the food that you enjoy." (Spring 99 - Student 1)


"Places that are cheap, and if possible, cook at home." (Spring 1999 - Student 2)


Places to visit
"Well, I was only in Europe. Some of the most amazing cities to me where Luxenburg, Paris, London, Stockholm, Barcelona, Leiden, Amsterdam, Gotenburg, the fyords in Norway. One of my greatest experiences was renting a car from London and driving all through Scotland, taking a ferry to Ireland, driving all over there, then coming back to London through Wales--although expensive, it was one of my best experiences of my life." (Spring 1999 - Student 1)


"All of the major European cities, and if possible, go to Elba off the Italian coast." (Spring 1999 - Student 2)


Culture shock
"Didn't experience much of it. Be open-minded about everything." (Spring 1999 - Student 2)


Reverse culture shock


How to meet "locals"
"Local bars, pubs, clubs, and popular eateries. Just be friendly and most of the time it will be received positively." (Spring 1999 - Student 1)
"Hang out in local places, and if possible, live in a dorm with native students." (Spring 1999 - Student 2)


Language skills
"Only needed to know English where I went. But any other language that one may know can always help. I know a very little bit of Ukrainian, French and Spanish. It is amazing how far a little bit can take you with some patience." (Spring 1999 - Student 1)


"Try and learn the language if necessary. In Denmark, everyone spoke English very well, so there was no real need to learn Danish, other than personal interest." (Spring 1999 - Student 2)


Really interesting courses
"Marketing and European Business Environment." (Spring 1999 - Student 1)


"Business classes on the EU." (Spring 1999 - Student 2)


Housing suggestions
"I lived in a dorm, and LOVED it. Although it was much more expensive for the foreign students, it was well worth it. A friend of mine lived with a family then moved to the dorm, and found it a far better experience. Also, many had some problems with families as well." (Spring 1999 - Student 1)


"Dorm with the students from the country. It is the best way to get the foreign experience and to be with people of the same age." (Spring 1999 - Student 2)


Other comments
"To everyone who is considering going abroad. Do yourself a favor and go. Words can not even describe what a fulfilling experience this is." (Spring 1999 - Student 1)


"The only thing I can say is be open minded, try as many new things as possible, and be adventurous." (Spring 1999 - Student 2)

Non-EAP - France - ACCENT - S 04


What to bring:
Comfortable shoes! Walking is the best way to discover the city, so plan on doing a lot of it. Bring your favorite snacks, if you can fit them (like peanut butter & energy bars if you're into that). Any type of hygiene products that may not be available overseas, though France has great soaps and shampoos. A guide book of the city, and of France. It will become your Bible. Film & batteries - you'll save if you buy them in the states rather than abroad. A backup camera in case tragedy strikes (people have had them stolen, or break..). Nice clothes - Parisians tend to be pretty stylish, and you will be easily spotted as an American in jeans, tennis shoes, and a T-shirt. Warm clothes! unless you will be there in the summer. If you can bring a laptop, though it is not necessary. Bring reading material because English books are very expensive in Paris. And bring music, though the french radio will grow on you..


What not to bring:
Do not bring too many clothes. Pack your bags about half full, because you will end up filling them by the end of your stay abroad (souvenirs, clothes, posters, etc..).


Where to eat:
Nothing is cheap in Paris, or most of France for that matter. However, you should experience the great food that France has to offer. The pastries are delicious - find your local boulangerie and try the almond croissants, and the chocolate croissants. Bread, cheese (brie from Ed's, a market in Paris), and wine makes a great, delicious, and cheap meal. And the crepes are to die for.. Make sure to go to Chez Fondue, in Montmarte - it's in the guidebooks. Great, fun atmosphere, and wine out of baby bottles! Eat at Lenny Kravitz' Falafel place in the Marais. It's the best falafel you've ever had.


Places to visit:
Try to see it all. Paris has so much to offer, there is no way you will be able to see it all in a semester, or even a year. Walk all around - you'll get lost at first, but that's all part of the experience. Buy a guide book - mine, and my camera were my two best friends while in Paris. See all the touristy sights during nontouristy hours. Buy a Pariscope from the magazine stand - it comes out every Wednesday and tells of the events for the week. The last few pages are in English and pick out some highlights of the week.
Make sure to get out of Paris, too. The tgv train system is easy and cheap. Buy a carte joven - ages 12-25, and you'll get half off of tickets. Go wine tasting in Bordeaux, visit Normandy, go surfing in Biarritz, visit the south of France - Nice, Antibes, Cassis in particular. And be sure to go to other countries - I advise purchasing a eurrail pass and traveling though Europe. It is an amazing, unforgettable experience.


Culture shock:
Try not to be ethnocentric. Things in France are different from the way they are in Berkeley. On Sundays and Mondays most shops are closed. Nothing, except for restaurants, is open past about 7 on any day. The bathroom situation is different. Embrace these differences as part of your experience abroad.


Reverse culture shock:
Returning home is a sad sad thing.. you will probably have become so immersed in the culture, you will only experience shock when you return to the states. It is sad, but bearable - always keep things in perspective and keep yourself happy by remembering the amazing experiences you had. Keep in contact with your friends from your abroad program.


How to meet "locals":
If you are a girl, you may be a little shocked at the candidness of the French men. They are direct and up front with their feelings - perhaps a little too direct at times. So you should have no problem meeting locals in that sense. In any situation, it is a great experience to meet locals, hear their perspectives, learn their interests, and pick up on their culture. Going out at night is a sure bet to meet people. And going to parks or such places where many students lounge around is another great way. Be open and not dismissive. And avoid large groups of Americans. You will find that you are most approachable when you are alone, or with one other person. Also, try to make the effort. One difference between Americans and French is the French are rather reserved upon initial acquaintance. It may take a while for a French person to feel close enough to you to invite you to his house, or out with his friends. So make the first move and introduce yourself..


Language skills:
You will learn. I highly advise trying to learn French before going to France. I didn't, but I wish I had. However, I learned enough to hold a conversation and to understand when people speak. Not everyone who never knew French did this. It was my prerogative to try to teach myself the language, and I felt so much more at home in Paris because of it. Take a crash course before coming if you can.


Really interesting courses:
The course content was lacking, yet the atmosphere of a classroom with students from all over the world was great. Make sure to interact with them, and discuss culture differences. It's very interesting.


Housing suggestions:
Make the best out of your situation. If it's a dorm style housing with Americans, befriend the Americans, yet do not let this stop you from meeting French people. I hear home stays are great - you learn the language, you really feel at home in France, you get to eat great French cuisine. However, I have heard it is difficult to live under certain rules of the house (some "parents" had problems with their students going out at night). If you know enough French and must get housing on your own, try to live with a French roommate, or a non-American. It will certainly broaden your horizons.

CEA Paris, France

General comments about study abroad and your particular program
I studied abroad in Paris, France through CEA (a non-EAP program). CEA is a very organized program, and is very helpful with the confusing pre-departure stage. Once abroad, CEA organized many events to help you meet other students. Though my program, I met lifelong friends who I keep in touch with consistently. Paris itself is an amazing city, so be ready to explore- you will never run out of things to do!

What to bring
If traveling to Europe, and Paris in particular, bring warm clothes! The weather is very sporadic, so be prepared for the cold weather and rain. Scarves, boots, coats, and other warm clothes are more important to bring than sandals, heels for women, and clothes for going out!

What not to bring
Don’t bring appliances such as curling irons and hair dryers, because you run the chance of blowing them out due to the difference in voltage in Europe. There are many places where you can buy these things abroad. Where to eat As you will probably be on a limited budget, the best dinners are picnics where all you need to buy is a baguette and cheese. Be creative in ways such as this to save money! When traveling, eat meals by buying food at a local grocery store or market so you can save your money for sightseeing.

Places to visit
If you are not studying in Paris, go to Paris! Make sure you allot at least 3 or 4 days to tour the city because there is a lot to do. My favorite place that I traveled to was Lagos, Portugal, which is a small beach town. I loved it because it was a nice change from the typically large European cities that I traveled to in order to see various museums and monuments. It was nice to be able to relax for a change!

Culture shock
I had been to Europe a couple of times before, so I did not experience culture shock, but if you do, the best way to deal with it is to keep yourself busy. Don’t spend all your time on the phone with friends or family from home. Go out in the city and make the best of the city you’re in.

Reverse culture shock
Although I did not go through culture shock, I did experience reverse culture shock after returning to the U.S. I found that the best way to deal with missing Paris was to keep in contact with my friends who I met there. Also, rather than complaining about how much I missed Paris, I found it was better to share fun stories with other people and think of all the great memories. Being positive about it helps a lot! How to meet "locals" I met locals through events that my program set up. So it helps to study abroad with a program that organizes such events.

Language skills
My French improved a lot while living in Paris. Although most of the time, the locals knew I was American because of my bad French accent, and therefore would speak to me in English, I did not let this bother me. Even if people reply to you in English, keep on speaking French (or another language). This is the only way you will learn. Really interesting courses It really just depends on what program you do. Take classes such as art history where you can really use the city you are in as a tool for learning. It was a great experience learning about things in the classroom, and then being able to go to a museum and see the real thing right in front of me.

Housing suggestions
I would suggest living in a dorm with other students. This way you have the freedom to come and go as you please, but you are still around other people. I lived in an apartment with one other student while I was in Paris, and I wished I had lived closer to more people.

Non-EAP Italy, Turin (Univ. of Nevada, Reno)

"I would strongly recommend going abroad. However, some things to consider which may seem obvious from the outside but aren't always when desperately searching for the right program are as follows: Every aspect of your trip is highly affected by the city in which you live. Therefore, is your city centrally located to places that you want to travel? Is the sheer size of the city different from what you're used to? As we live in California, most people may take the weather for granted, don't. Enough about cities, you should know something about the culture of the country in which you plan to live and evaluate it against your own way of doing things. If the contrast appears too great, either be prepared to change or don't go. If you don't speak the language of the country you're going to school in, it may be more helpful to pick a city in which American tourists and other American schools are located. i.e. you'll be able to speak to more people and meet more people. However, if you really want to go and the program works for you, your attitude will largely determine the program's success and your own happiness while abroad." (Spring 1998).

Non-EAP Spain, Sevilla (CIEE Program)


What to bring
"It would have been nice to know how people dressed. I think it's better to fit in with style of dress, and I didn't know that people didn't really wear shorts or open-toed shoes/sandals in Spain. I would definitely warn people about over packing, especially if they plan to travel. Definitely, bring a camera. =)" (Fall 1997)


"In terms of clothing, I would bring the bare minimum because you'll somehow acquire a lot of stuff to bring back. I would also bring pictures of my family and friends and anything I think I might not be able to purchase in the country abroad (such as a favorite brand of shampoo or something). It's a nice idea to bring gifts for the host family, if you know you are staying with one." (Fall 1998)


What not to bring
"I would just try not to bring anything I don't absolutely need." (Fall 1998)


Where to eat
"If the person lives with a host family, I would suggest going out to eat as little as possible. The food is better, and I think, more "authentic". And if a person is to eat out, I think that trying to find restaurants in non-touristy spots is a plus - sometimes better food, and almost always lower prices. And a lot of touristy restaurants try to serve what tourists want as opposed to more "authentic" foods." (Fall 1997)


"I loved eating with my host family. The food was excellent! I would also try to go where the locals eat (vs. touristy restaurants)." (Fall 1998)


Places to visit
"Depends on what people are interested in. For people who are traveling after or beforehand, I would suggest trying not to do whirlwind tours, trying to see many different cities in a short amount of time. But if they do, I would suggest getting a guide book, knowing what the most important things they want to see are, and allotting ample time to see them. For example, I went to Rome for three days, and I knew that I wouldn't even be able to see the "must-sees". I missed going inside the Pantheon and the Coliseum, among seeing the other billions of sights and ruins. But I was able to spend a day at the Vatican, hang out on the Spanish Steps, and hang out at Piazza Navona. Instead of rushing through with a set schedule saying I had to be somewhere at every hour, I sacrificed to really enjoy a few things. I loved Toledo, San Sebastian, Granada and Sevilla. =)" (Fall 1997)


"I would check out the touristy monuments, they're popular for a reason! And then I would ask locals what they like to do and where they like to go." (Fall 1998)


Culture shock
"I would say just be prepared. Going to another culture, even another Western world culture like Spain, it is so different. Be respectful. Try to adapt to the local culture instead of making the culture adapt to you. Just because things aren't the same, it doesn't mean they're any worse. I have so many examples of that, but anyway..." (Fall 1997)


"I was expecting to experience another culture but I wasn't prepared to see the amount of influence from the United States. Companies and brands I had never even heard of were proclaiming to be America's finest or favorite."" (Fall 1998)


Reverse culture shock
"Also, be prepared. I think I suffered from reverse culture shock for a good month or two. It probably didn't help that I was only back for a few days before school started. The semester just hit me with a bang. It took a while for me to adjust back to the American lifestyle, and the lifestyle of a student. It was hard." (Fall 1997)


"After getting used to another lifestyle, it's strange coming home because a lot of things have stayed the same and your friends and family expect you to fall right back into your previous lifestyle." (Fall 1998)


How to meet "locals"
"Don't be passive. Sign up to be a conversation partner. Go to social places, like bars and cafes. Also try the university. Meeting students is the easiest way, I think. In Spain, it wasn't that difficult to meet locals, it was actually maintaining a friendship that was hard. It was fairly easy to start chatting with people at a bar or a cafe, but having a deep enough conversation to start a friendship at that point is tough I think. And definitely think quality not quantity when making friends. I only keep in touch with a few people in Spain, but I got to know them well." (Fall 1997)


"Try to find out where locals hang out, participate in University activities, join a gym, anything that gets you out of the house increases your probability of meeting some cool locals." (Fall 1998)


Language skills
"Practice, practice, practice. Don't speak English (if you're going to a non-English speaking country). Always try to speak in the local language. Even if you're frustrated, even if your friends are, even if it's hard." (Fall 1997)


"Don't expect to speak like a native in just one semester but you can improve a lot! How? Try not to fall back into the comfort of hanging out with all Americans. Go out and meet locals. Speak as much as you can in the native language. It doesn't matter if you make mistakes, the more you speak, the more natural it becomes." (Fall 1998)


Really interesting courses
"Classes that deal with the local culture." (Fall 1997)


"My favorite class was on Translation (from Spanish to English). It was interesting to look at the different expressions and sayings we use in each language. Another great class was on Production & Operations. We took field trips to a brewery, winery and yogurt factory." (Fall 1998)


Housing suggestions
"Host family. Of course I don't have any other experiences, but it was fabulous. On the program I went on, I didn't hear of any problems with restrictions or people not having space (the usual drawbacks people think of when living with a family). It was such a great experience on so many different levels - instant people you can talk to regularly, resources for learning the language, the culture, good cooking =) (at least in my case)." (Fall 1997)


"Living with a host family was a great experience. It gives you a real taste of local food, culture, and traditions. If you're studying for a year, I would live with a family for the first semester and then move into an apartment with local students for the second." (Fall 1998)


Other comments
"It's an amazing experience. Given the chance, I would absolutely do it again." (Fall 1998)

Non-EAP Spain, San Sebastian (Univ. of Nevada)


What to bring
"As little as possible. I would suggest bringing a travelling backpack and a duffel bag, but that is it. That is what I brought and I still thought I brought too much. Make sure all your money is in your checking account and you have a 4 digit pin number. Bring rain gear if you are going to the north of Spain in the winter months. Bring a camera and a diary so that you remember all of your experiences." (Fall 1998)


Where to eat
"Look in the travelling books for this info. I found that I got my best meals eating the meals that the family I lived with prepared. The biggest meal of the day in Spain is lunch, so keep that in mind. Breakfast is not a big meal at all." (Fall 1998)


Places to visit
"Spain has a lot of festivals throughout the year. Some highlights were the Day of San Sebastian in January in San Sebastian, Carnaval in Cadiz, Las Fallas in Valencia in March, and La Feria in Sevilla in April. I think the festivals in Spain expose a lot of culture and you get a good feeling for their enthusiasm during these events. Definitely go to a soccer game and if you don't mind watching bulls die, Bull Fights are definitely a cultural experience." (Fall 1998)


Culture shock
"I didn't experience too much culture shock, but the time difference on the way there mixed with being on the plane for a long time can definitely cause some disorientation. Drink water to defeat the time change." (Fall 1998)


Reverse culture shock
"Coming back, everything was the same so I didn't notice much reverse culture shock. One thing that is noticeable is how much independence you had in Spain and then coming back to a structured lifestyle created at home and at school." (Fall 1998)


How to meet "locals"
"Be friendly, ask questions, sign up for programs such as the intercambio program where you get paired with a Spaniard to speak English and Spanish. Don't travel around in big groups of Americans because you get stuck talking English and there is less of a possibility to meet locals." (Fall 1998)


Language skills
"Doesn't matter. If you have the ambition to learn you can become fluent within a year if you don't know Spanish and even if you think you are good, there are many expressions and different vocabulary that can be picked up if you pay attention and ask questions." (Fall 1998)


Really interesting courses
"Living in the Basque country, politics is very alive. Take a politics course. Definitely take a history of art course, especially if you are in Barcelona, and the history courses are very interesting also because it gives you a better feel for where the country was and where it is headed after Franco." (Fall 1998)


Housing suggestions
"I suggest living with a family for at least a semester. I was able to talk Spanish all the time, meet people through the family, have food made for me, and my laundry done. Living in an apartment is beneficial if you aren't with another American speaking English all the time." (Fall 1998)


Other comments
"It is extremely hard being a vegetarian in Spain. I got lucky living with a family that cooked vegetarian meals, but Spain has definitely not grasped the "vegetarian" lifestyle completely." (Fall 1998)


Non-EAP Spain, Saint Louis University, Madrid


What to bring


"Jacket and warm clothes (ie. scarf) if you're in Madrid or Northern Spain! I was surprised at how cold it STILL was in April! Spanish/English dictionary LOTS of film a backpack for weekend trips (3 to 4 days) was key! supplies for your contacts (they are expensive in Spain!)." (Spring 2000)


Deodorant (unless you like sprays or sticky stuff), lots of extra underwear (laundry here is ridiculous. you can only wash like ten things at once since they don´t have dryers and there is limited room on the clotheslines. then it rains on your drying clothes and they smell like mildew and you feel like throwing them out, but you keep wearing them anyways cause the only replacements you can find are these Spanish-style, way uncomfortable, skin-tight, spandex-type things.) (Fall 2000)


What not to bring


"Shoes! Tennis shoes, flip flops, and one nice pair are all you need! A lot of toiletries. They are not expensive if you buy Spanish products."
(Spring 2000)


Where to eat


"1.Pans y Company!!! quick, great sandwiches for reasonable prices (lots of veggie options also!) You can find one every two blocks.
2.For late night munchies VIPS It's open until three am and has lots of options for decent prices." (Spring 2000)


Jamon (ham). they have plenty (Fall 2000)



How to meet "locals"


Couldn´t tell you. did a really bad job of that. this school is probably not the best choice if that´s your main priority (most students are american or from other european countries) (Fall 2000)


Places to visit


"I can't even write them all down, highlights include:
1.Barcelona
2.Granada
3.Sevilla
4.Cordoba
5.Toledo
6.Madrid
7.San Sebastian (stop at Bilbao on the way)" (Spring 2000)


San sebastian, if its sunny. awesome beach town. the greek islands, very chill and relaxing. sevilla, much more ¨spanish¨ than madrid. (Fall 2000)


Culture shock


"Museo de Jamon and the Spaniards obsession with pork surprised me, but other than that I didn't experience any culture shock." (Spring 2000)


Language skills


"Take advantage of every opportunity to speak Spanish! If someone wants to practice his English, answer him in Spanish. Talk as much as you can!! I wish I had spoken more. After a while I forget to practice and only when I got home did I remember what an amazing opportunity it was to speak Spanish on a daily basis!" (Spring 2000)


You can speak zero spanish and survive here. as far as the school is concerned, everyone speaks english. i have a panamanian friend who goes to school in rhode island who says she speaks more english here (versus spanish) than she does back in the states. (Fall 2000)


Really interesting courses


Art history is pretty dope cause you have the prado, the reina sofia, and other world famous museums close by. you´ll study the works of artists like Goya, Velazquez, and Picasso one day in class, and see the actual painting the next day in the museum. unique opportunity. (Fall 2000)


Housing suggestions


"If you can, live with a Senora or host family. It's cool to have your own place, but you learn so much more about the culture and are forced to speak Spanish if you live with a host family. Living with a Senora really added to my experience in Spain." (Spring 2000)


Having my own apartment was fun, but it can be a huge pain to find one. some people were in hostals a couple weeks before they got settled. we got ours in two days. it´s all about luck. plus, if you´re here for only a semester, it´s especially difficult cause you gotta find a four month lease. the people in the dorms seem satisfied, but its mostly for freshmen and the spots are limited. big warning for those planning on finding their own apartments: if you end up with a verbal contract, make sure everything is agreed upon and communicated on the day you make the agreement (ie. payment of utilities, purpose of the deposit, etc.). as far as living with a family, i´ve heard very mixed stories. (Fall 2000)


Other comments


"Try to attend at least one festival. (Las Fallas in Valencia and Carnival in Cadiz are two highlights) You get a good feel for the culture and they are REALLY FUN!" (Spring 2000

Non-EAP Spain, Autonoma University,
Madrid, (George Washington U)


What to bring
a picture of your family. Although this seems superfluous, it helps during those short but very real moments of homesickness. (Spring 2001)


What not to bring
shampoo, conditioner, etc. You can always buy toiletries abroad and they can get very heavy. (Spring 2001)


Where to eat
eat where the locals eat. Avoid McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Hard Rock cafe, etc. You can find those in the states. (Spring 2001)


Places to visit
Madrid -- what can I say, I'm biased. Great art, wild nightlife, good people, nice people, wonderful shopping, world champ soccer, crazy bullfights. (Spring 2001)


Culture shock
You will experience it and you will get over it. Don't retreat into what is familiar -- McDonalds -- but force yourself to explore. You won't regret it. (Spring 2001)


Reverse culture shock
Don"t know about that yet. (Spring 2001)


How to meet "locals"
Participate in intercambios. Find a bar and become a regular -- not just for the liquor but for the conversation. Join a healthclub. Play on a local soccer team. Take flamenco lessons. (Spring 2001)


Language skills
While it always helps to know a little bit of the language, you will pick it up very quickly when you are forced to use it to feed or clothe yourself. (Spring 2001)


Really interesting courses
European History, International Economics. (Spring 2001)


Housing suggestions
My homestay was great. She was always willing to chat or help me but let me have my own space. Others weren't so lucky though. (Spring 2001)


Other comments
Go abroad. I've never heard anyone regret the experience and say later "Gee, I wish I had stayed at school and gone through recruiting." It is possible to go abroad and get a good internship. Lots of my friends did it, including myself.


Don't try to plan too much and be flexible. You can be talking to someone and be inspired to visit someplace. Eurail passes are not worth it for people living in Spain -- bus travel is often cheaper.


Go to Budapest or someplace else in Eastern Europe. You should be able to relate to the changes there because they occured in our lifetime. Plus, it's very different but eerily familiar. (Spring 2001)


University of Barcelona
Cultural Experiences Abroad Program

General comments about study abroad and your particular program

Going abroad was one of the greatest experiences of my life. It’s best to travel through Europe when you are young and have a limited budget—it makes for a lot of fun and unexpected times. My program, Cultural Experiences abroad, was perfect for people who want to learn by experiencing Europe. It was not good for those who wanted to take meaningful classes or learn a new language.


What to bring

Bring things that may not be so easy to find abroad. They are usually simple things that are common in the U.S. For example, I couldn’t for the life of me find the right kind of pencil led or the deodorant that I like anywhere in Barcelona. Also, no matter where you study, bring clothes for all types of weather— you never know where you might end up. I nearly froze to death in Amsterdam because I figured I would never need a really heavy coat while studying in Barcelona.


What not to bring

Do not bring to much clothing. You will probably end up buying clothes while you are abroad.


Where to eat

Whenever you travel, always find out what the locals eat and go there. Try to never eat food that you can have in America. Only surrender to Burger King once you get homesick (I lasted about 3 months).


Places to visit

In Europe, there are so many places that have great things to offer that it’s hard to narrow it down. I thought that Italy had the most to offer in terms of diverse and fun cities; specifically, Rome was the most amazing city I’ve ever seen. Barcelona has the best nightlife in all of Europe. The best tip I can give is to go somewhere fun for a festival called Carnival. I had never heard of it before I went to Europe, but it is a huge deal in many European countries. It takes place in February and is like an extended version of Mardi Gras. From doing research and talking with lots of Europeans, Venice is supposedly the best place to go for Carnival. A close second is Cologne, Germany. I went to Cologne for Carnival with a friend, and it was the most fun I had while in Europe.


Culture shock

I never really experienced culture shock. I guess I was just around fellow Americans so often that I always felt comfortable.


Reverse culture shock

You realize that America is more conservative than Europe.


How to meet "locals"

If you want to meet locals, you really have to try. Most locals do not go to the same places that tourists or American students go to. You’d have to go to small, less popular establishments and put yourself out there. But from my experience, most locals are not very interested in bridging the language barrier and getting to know American students. Just try to think of how many foreign students you have gotten to know in America.


Language skills

Many people in Europe speak English and will try to use it with you. But if you are trying to learn a local language, just start off using that language and go from there. If they respond in English, just explain that you are trying to practice the local language and they will usually indulge you.


Really interesting courses

Always take whatever local history or local art or local architecture class they offer on your program. These classes will take you around to great buildings, museums, and sites within your city and you really get to learn things first hand. Don’t take classes that you can take at Berkeley.


Housing suggestions

If you want to really learn the language and connect with locals, do a home stay. If you want to be free and get a little crazy, do an apartment.


Other comments

You will regret the things you didn’t do abroad rather than the things you did. Wake up early, go to bed late, and spend all your money. You’ll have plenty of time to sleep and earn more money when you’re back in the states.

(Spring 2007)


CIEE Study Abroad Program for Business and Culture in Barcelona

Spring 2008
General comments about study abroad and your particular program
I found study abroad to be an extremely rewarding experience and one that I would not change for the world. It provided an excellent opportunity to travel around the world and to experience numerous cultures. The night life was also very entertaining with countless options for anyone looking to have a great experience. I chose CEA for my program mainly through word of mouth and that it offered a later due date for the application. This allowed me to better finalize the place I wanted to visit. While in Barcelona, CEA provided great events and entertainment as well as a decent class structure.

What to bring
In terms of traveling, I would recommend brining a travel backpack that you do not have to check on planes. Also, travel size toiletries are a plus so you do not have to buy new things at every location you visit. If traveling in the colder months, bring plenty of jeans, warm sweaters, and a heavy jacket that can withstand rain. Practically every place I visited rained at least one day. In general, bring more clothes than your program guide recommends – I found myself doing laundry constantly, which was a pain as my apartment did not have a dryer.

What not to bring
Do not bring too many valuables and glitzy jewelry as you will become a more obvious target for pick-pockets. Where to eat There are numerous sandwich shops and pita places that provided cheap, decent meals. Other than that, go exploring and be open to trying new foods. Eventually, you can find gems that you will frequent quite often.

Places to visit
Greece in the summer months is nothing short of amazing. The weather is perfect and the sights to see are excellent. Florence is a great place to go for a weekend, as it had fantastic food and a great night life. Italy in general is a must go if you appreciate good food and drinks. Barcelona has the best night life of any city I visited, but the sight seeing lacks and literally can be done in a day or two.

Culture shock
Just be prepared to be overwhelmed the first few days there. Not knowing the language and not knowing the city is intense, but you adjust quickly. Also remember that tipping is not necessary, so save some money and only tip if you feel the person truly deserves it.

Reverse culture shock
Coming home, I would forget to leave tips for the first few times I went out to eat. Also, people in Barcelona seemed to move at a much slower place and really enjoy the quality of life. When I came home, I found it frustrating and annoying how rude some Americans truly are and how people just move too fast through their daily activities.

How to meet "locals"
I personally did not have too much of an experience with this, but the few “locals” that I do keep in touch with I met at bakeries and small boutique places that I frequented often. When talking with them, if in a foreign language, just be polite and show an effort in trying to communicate with them instead of speaking English outright. In my experience, if someone saw you making an attempt to talk with them they would be more receptive and actually help you speak the language correctly. In general, do not act as the typical American student stereotype and people will treat you kindly. Language skills Language skills are a must. Make sure to enroll in a language course while studying there. Also, try to immerse yourself into the language as soon as possible: talk to cab drivers, waiters and waitresses, etc. By hearing and speaking the language often, it becomes much easier to understand.

Really interesting courses
Take courses that would not generally be offered at Berkeley. Culture classes that focus on the specific city are great and actually give you a greater appreciation for where you are living. Also, make sure to enroll in a language class. Housing suggestions Housing is honestly luck when traveling abroad and dependent on your destination choice. Try as hard as you can to get a place with internet and central location. Internet is obviously the most key as it gives you the easiest means to keep in contact with the outside world.

Other comments
If you have the chance, go abroad. It will be an experience you will never forget. I enjoyed the program very much. There are 2 parts I would change- 1. Spanish classes are on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, which makes it difficult to travel, 2. The attendance policy is too strict—2 absences, and any more, your grade gets marked down.


What to bring

Blenty of comfortable walking shoes and a good guide book of Spain/Europe. Definitely bring your computer with Skype downloaded. This makes it easier to do homework and communicate with people at home.


What not to bring

Don’t bring many business clothes. I wore a suit maybe once the whole time I was in Barcelona for a presentation. Spanish students don’t really dress up for presentations. Do not over-pack. If you don’t absolutely need something, don’t bring it. They have everything you need in Spain.


Where to eat

Juicy Jones- Vegetarian place off of La Rambla. It has really good healthy food for cheap and great fresh juices.
Maoz- Great falafel around La Rambla and surrounding areas.
Opera Café- Amazing Spanish hot chocolate. It’s thick like pudding.


Places to visit

Sagrada Familia
Gaudi’s Houses
Figueres- go see the Dali museum
Magic Fountain
Montjuic
Parc Guell


Culture shock

The most shocking part of my stay in Barcelona was the eating times. Dinner is served starting at 10pm. Then people go to bars afterwards from midnight to 3am.


How to meet "locals"

The best places to meet locals are in bars. Go with a small group- maybe 2 or 3 people- and it’s easy to meet locals especially on week nights when the bars aren’t as crowded. Another great way to meet local people is through “intercambios”, or language exchanges. Many times your school will offer them. But you can also find them on the internet. Loquo.com is Spain’s version of Craigslist and they have a special section for Language Intercambios. A lot of people are trying to learn/improve their English, so it is easy to find intercambios.


Language skills

A lot of people speak English in Spain, but it is helpful to know a bit of Spanish. In addition to helping you meet people, it makes you look like less of an “ugly American.”


Housing suggestions

If your Spanish needs work, I would suggest living with a family. However, I lived in a residencia (Spanish dorm) and enjoyed it. It’s not as cultural of an experience since you don’t have Spanish food cooked for you every day, but I liked the independence.
(Fall 2007)

Non - EAP UK-England, University of Westminster (Butler University)


What to bring
"London is as cold as you'd expect. Don't forget a heavy wool coat, gloves and a scarf. Boots are a necessity for going out (open toed shoes will get you a lot of looks on the tube when it is 60 degrees outside). On the other hand, Londoners are not shocked by anything, in terms of style, anything goes. Clubs are infamous in London, and an integral part of "studying" abroad here, so bring your clubbing gear! As far as travelling, which you will be tempted to do in excess, you will need a sturdy backpack that will be good for a week up to a month of traveling (Spring break is 3 1/2 weeks)." (Fall 1999)


What not to bring
"Laptops, CDs, hairdryers, too many shoes, and don't bring too many very American things." (1997-1998)


"New Balance sneakers and a northface will make any American college student stick out in a crowd. A swimsuit??? Don't bring too many clothes in general, shopping is fun and Londoners have great style." (Fall 1999)


Where to eat
"Stockpot (cheap food, a little boring, but better than the countless sandwiches you'll be shoving down your throat). Wagamama, yummy Asian food that you took for granted in Berkeley. Local sandwich shops have good soups and delicious hot sandwiches (panini, ciabatta, etc). Cooking for yourself is the most economical way to go, and probably the best tasting. London is expensive, the difference between buying groceries and eating out is huge. Buy all produce at Portobello market (Ladbroke Grove on saturdays)or other street markets like Angel (Angel everyday)." (Fall 1999)


Places to visit
"London, Glasgow, Florence, Rome, Barcelona, and Croatia were my absolute favorites." (1997-1998)


"Tons and tons of museums to visit, usually a student discount if they are not free. British government is very unique in that they subsidize museums to make them open to everyone. St. Paul's Cathedral, Wallace Collection, Tate Gallery, National Gallery. Shopping, top shop, H&M, Selfridges (more $$), Covent Garden. Shoes at Shelly's." (Fall 1999)


Culture shock
"Culture shock is tricky because you never realize that you are experiencing it. However, the culture shock that my foreign friends and I experienced was manifested in the incessant comparisons we made between Scotland and America. Be wary of starting too many sentences with, "Well, in America we do this..." or "They do such and such weird here...." Of course it is natural to compare the cultures, but I found that by the third month, the foreigners and the natives were sick of such comparative conversations. You will engage in them, it's inevitable, but try to let yourself get absorbed in the culture rather than stand analytically apart from it." (1997-1998)


"You won't notice too much of a difference at first, Starbucks, McDonald's, and BK at every corner. Until you hit the pubs...:). British people are a bit cold, a bit crass, but once you get to know them (if you are lucky enough), they have a great sense of humor and a lot of fun." (Fall 1999)


Reverse culture shock
"Many people develop a severe distaste for America while abroad--it's an easy thing to do when most of the world continuously attacks every bit of our culture. Yet, I developed an appreciation for aspects of America that I had overlooked because I was always so skeptical of it. For me, the biggest shock was returning to my hometown with my old friends and family and finding it all so utterly un-changed. A year abroad will alter you, whether you realize it or not. So, to return to a life where people still act and do things in their old habitual ways was rather frightening to me. I had a hard time not regarding my old life as quite stale. I also had a hard time interacting with old friends because I felt so different, but speaking with them was forcing me to be my old self rather than my new self. Yet, no worries. You will deal with such issues as they arise and from them you will continue to learn about yourself and the world around you." (1997-1998)


"How to meet "locals"
Stay away from "American clubs" like the gardening club or cheers." (Fall 1999)


"Live in a dorm or residence hall situation. It is inevitable that you will find good mates when living with so many people, though perhaps they will be younger than you." (1997-1998)


Language skills
"Beware, british people will throw you offguard with a few strange terms here or there. Fag means cigarette, lolly is a candy, pudding is dessert, tube is subway/metro, rubbish is garbage, knock up means wake up, pissed means drunk, etc." (Fall 1999)


Really interesting courses
"If planning to travel around Europe, take Art History courses (Renaissance, 19th Century) and perhaps a European History class. Everything will make so much more sense if you do." (1997-1998)


"Art & society..." (Fall 1999)


Other comments
"With no hesitation, I absolutely recommend that everyone study abroad. You will learn more about yourself and the world than you ever could by staying around for a third year in Berkeley. Perhaps you won't think that you are having the best year of your life while living it abroad. But, let me just say that all the people who have returned from studying abroad have been altered in positive ways. We all feel so much happier in this world because we were able to see a different way of life and encounter different meanings for living. We all are more confident and relaxed. A few didn't come back and many others have plans to go back. I understand it is difficult to abandon your life here, to disrupt the continuity and leave this time and place. But in the longer scheme of your life, leaving this moment behind in order to challenge your entire self will undoubtedly benefit your whole being." (1997-1998)


"The amazing part about London is that there is so many museums to visit, parks to stroll through, clubs to hit, and pubs to relax at, and restaurants to discover. You could never get sick of this place (unless you get seriously depressed when the sun doesn't shine :)) Also, London is the "hub" of Europe in terms of air travel. The cheapest flights in the world are to and from London (good for weekend excursions to Scotland or Rome or Athens)" (Fall 1999)