Choosing a study abroad program can be extremely intimidating. Below are a few questions and answers for why I chose this program.
What attracted me to AIFS?
I actually called the AIFS office after speaking with my university’s study abroad director. The woman was very kind and was able to answer all of my (seemingly) millions of questions. I was never transferred to another employee. In addition I was given the contact information for an AIFS campus representative. Within a few hours I already had an email from the representative letting me know that if I needed anything to let her know. Right from the start, even before I applied, the AIFS staff was there to help and reassure me whenever possible.
I am scheduled to graduate in August, 2015 and need to take two core business classes only offered at my school in the spring before I graduate. The other part of it is that I am from a really sheltered home and going away to a foreign country, where not many people speak English and I don’t know my way around concerned me. My logic was that in doing a short term program, I would be able to fulfill my goal to study abroad and leave home but have the security of knowing I was coming back in less than a month.
What convinced me to choose Barcelona?
I looked at many different programs before deciding to go with AIFS. I wanted a program that was all inclusive (travel, room and board, activities, tuition) and AIFS provides this. The website was thorough so I knew exactly what attractions I would be seeing and what the costs included. After looking at some of the AIFS J-term programs I was able to narrow it down to Greece and Barcelona. Ultimately I chose Barcelona because of the homestay option. In studying abroad I wanted to be in the culture. I felt that by staying in an apartment, I wouldn’t be able to do that.
I was right. In staying at a home stay, it forces you to live the family’s lifestyle and to also step out of your comfort zone. My eating and sleeping schedule is going to be so out of whack when I get home. You eat later and less food. And eating later means sleeping later. Here, getting 5 hours of sleep before class in the morning is normal.
Would I recommend AIFS?
Yes. I don’t think I’ll study abroad again, but if I were to, my first choice would be AIFS. The study abroad experience is not simply about studying in a foreign country; a lot more goes into it. Personally, I needed a lot of reassurance to go abroad and stay the duration. I really felt that AIFS had my best interest in mind. I also really appreciated the follow up correspondence and the fact that an Admissions Officer called me prior to departure just to check in. All in all, it was the little things that the staff at AIFS did to make sure I was prepared to go to Spain.