Anna - Universidad Pontificia Comillas

B. Business Management / Arts
Semester 1, 2017

Academic experience

It was required to study 6 subjects at Universidad Pontificia Comillas. The courses I studied included A1 Spanish, Human Resource Management, Leadership, Negotiations, International Business and Problem of God. These subjects were completed in English with very well English speaking teachers. There is, however, an option to undertake classes in Spanish. 

What I enjoyed most about the different academic system included the classes being more hands-on and less theoretical. Instead of the classes being split with a lecture and a tutorial, there were just two tutorials with the same people in both classes each week. Interaction and participation were weighed highly at end of semester marks.

The biggest academic challenge was that majority of assessment was only at the end of the semester.

Personal experience

Through personal experience, I could not recommend exchange highly enough. Choosing Spain for exchange was ideal due to the incredible culture. I would highly recommend completing a language subject at the University as it helped a lot with communication and I can now say I speak (some) Spanish. Not only did I meet Spaniards, there were many people from different countries in the exchange who will be lifelong friends. Being in Europe was perfect for travel as there are many different countries so close together. I ended up travelling either to different places in Spain or different a different country almost every weekend.

Accommodation

I lived off campus in a share house with seven other students. The best thing about this living arrangement was being able to meet so many incredible people from different parts of the world. I lived with students from Australia, Chile, Mexico, Italy and USA. 

As for advice on living arrangements, I would advise finding accommodation before going to Spain. It was especially hard trying to find accommodation with a friend. We were advised to find a house once we had arrived in Spain, although had a lot of trouble finding accommodation so had to stay in an Airbnb for the first month. We finally found an apartment through a friend we had made in class; however, when we moved into the apartment it was still under construction. The first few months of the living arrangements were not ideal.

Budget

Snowboarding at Valdesqui, Madrid
Snowboarding at Valdesqui, Madrid

The price of my accommodation was 490 euros per month which I think is a standard price for a share house in Spain. On average my weekly grocery shop was around 40 euros. Madrid has a great metro system which is only 20 euros per month for unlimited use. The metro starts at 6am and ends at 1am. As for travel, this was the biggest expense of my exchange. Depending on how much you are wanting to travel, I would budget approximately $18000 for 6 months which includes the flight over to Spain and back to Australia.

Professional development and employability

I feel that the biggest skill developed during my exchange experience that contributes to my professional development is the new language learnt and time management skills. Knowing another language is ideal for business, especially Spanish. Through travel, time management and organisation are huge skills learnt that will help in my professional development. Learning university in another country forces you to see the world in a different light which I think is a major advantage.

Highlight

The highlight of my experience was definitely the people I met, friends I made and places I travelled. Oh, and of course, the food.

Top tips

  • The advice I would give is definitely be open-minded and willing to try new things or put yourself out there to meet people.
  • I was lucky enough that Universidad Pontificia Comillas had a student organisation for exchange students that organised events every day of the first week of uni. They then organised events pretty much once every week for the rest of the semester.
  • Through these events is where I made the majority of my friends so I would recommend getting involved as much as you can. These friends will most likely become your new travel buddies.
Anna - Universidad Pontificia Comillas