Grace - Universidad Pontificia Comillas

B International Studies
Semester 1, 2019

Academic experience

I studied a total of 6 courses on my exchange; 3 in Spanish and 3 in English. The Spanish ones included Español para Alumnos de Intercambio, Literatura Española de la Guerra Civil a la Transición, and Historia Contemporánea de España, and my English subjects were Multimedia Production, Classical Spanish Art and International Political Economy. If you are looking to improve your language, I would highly recommend doing some, if not all, of your classes in Spanish, as I found that was where I improved most in my writing, reading, and listening. Also, I recommend doing some of your courses with the normal Spanish cohort, rather than just with international students.

Personal experience

During my exchange, my Spanish improved dramatically, I formed close friendships with people from vastly different cultures, and saw ways of life that were very different to what I was used to. My perspective of the world and how I interact with it has definitely developed, and I view my time abroad as an invaluable experience.


I lived in a shared apartment with three girls close to the city centre, about an hour away from my university. I found the apartment when I got there after a few intense days of trawling the internet for something suitable. I found mine relatively quickly but I know some people had some difficulty finding something suitable. If you have the time and flexibility to find something over there I would definitely recommend looking at your living situation in person rather than just online. Staying with other students was a great experience as I could practice my Spanish with people my age and a lot like what I was used to with share-houses back home.


Spain had similar prices to things back home, if not a little cheaper. I saved up $13000 before going over there, which was enough for food, rent, weekend trips, and 2 months travelling at the end.


The biggest challenge during my exchange was making sure I was using my Spanish consistently. A lot of people were eager to practice their English with me and I also had a lot of classes with International students, who were predominantly English-speaking. Asking my Spanish friends, or Spanish speaking friends, to only speak Spanish with me helped this dramatically, as well as initiating conversations in Spanish and persevering if the conversations got difficult.

Professional Development

Going overseas was the first big change in my life that I had gone into without knowing anyone, especially in an environment that was so different to my norm. Putting myself out there and being confident, even if I didn’t feel like it all the time, was something I feel I could definitely utilise in my professional life, as well as the ability to adapt to the vastly different scenarios I found myself in in my social and academic life, and especially when travelling.


The highlight of my exchange was definitely the experiences I had with people I met along the way. I would definitely suggest saying yes to whatever opportunity someone may present you with, even if you don’t know them that well. Most people on exchange are eager to make friends and memories, and I know the best parts of my time abroad were the most spontaneous.

Top tips

My top tips for exchange are:
•    Use Spanish at any opportunity, even if the conversations are sometimes a bit stunted
•    Say yes to as many opportunities as you can
•    Make sure you explore the city – there are some really cool parts