IES Abroad Granada - Study in Granada
97% Rating
(61 Reviews)

IES Abroad Granada - Study in Granada

Our curriculum takes full advantage of Andalusia and all southern Spain has to offer. The program offers two unique program options that are designed to improve your Spanish proficiency: the Intermediate Spanish Program and Advanced Spanish Program.

Students placed in the Intermediate Program take IES Abroad courses in both English and Spanish. The Advanced Program courses are conducted entirely in Spanish, including study at the Universidad de Granada. Both options introduce you to Spain’s Moorish heritage and Jewish past, and its continuing links to North Africa through Islamic and Contemporary North African Studies. Advanced students can also experience Arabic language courses of all levels, at the Universidad de Granada.

Locations
Europe » Spain » Granada
Europe » Spain
Program Type
Provider
Degree Level
Bachelors
Timeframe
Academic Year
Fall
Spring
Accommodation
Host Family
Language
English
Steps
Online Application
Official Transcripts
Age Requirement
Language Requirement
GPA Requirement
Health Requirement
Starting Price
$0.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
Contact IES Abroad or see website for details: www.IESabroad.org/granada
Other Locations
Granada

Questions & Answers

Most people walk to the IES Center from their homestays, and most people's commutes were under 30 minutes. Only a few more around 40 minutes, and a lucky few were less than 10 minutes away. As far as public transit, Granada only has a bus system, and while it can be helpful (especially for getting to the larger bus station or the University of Granada, if you decide to take a class there), a lot o...
There are many ways that you can meet Spanish people without taking classes at the University. IES sets each student up with an "intercambio", a Spanish student that also wants American friends. You can get in touch with each other and hang out as much as you want. You will also meet many Spanish people when you go out to tapas, bars, salsa clubs, etc... I would definitely recommend living with a...

Program Reviews

  • Academics
    81%
  • Support
    97%
  • Fun
    94%
  • Housing
    96%
  • Safety
    95%

Program Reviews (61)

Default avatar
Quinn
Female
21 years old
New York
Wheaton College

The Best Semester

9/10

I cannot think of a better place to study abroad than Granada. It is a beautiful, safe, eccentric city and you get to live right in the center of everything!

I have done two study abroad programs and IES definitely sticks out in my mind for their thoroughness, fun experiences in Granada and various other cities, attentiveness to students, and the way that they foster great relationships among the students throughout the whole semester. From the beginning of the semester, they set up great activities and excursions to meet friends early on. They really gave us the chance to ease into living in Spain. I liked the small to medium size of the program and that I knew a lot of people in my program by name.

A favorite memory of mine was the trip to Morocco. It was a true bonding experience as we spent the few days with the same small group of students and this was most of our first time experiencing a culture so different from that of the United States. IES planned everything so we just got to have fun and did not have to worry about a thing!

Another couple of highlights from my semester abroad were my homestay and the faculty at the center. My host mom was so loving and I loved having the chance to be more immersed in the language. Overall, the professors at the center were great as well. While the classes themselves were not always super interesting, most of the professors were really committed to getting to know the students as individuals. The course load was manageable, obviously the work picked up around midterms and finals but in general I had plenty of time to enjoy my abroad experience.

I cannot recommend studying in Granada through IES Abroad enough, when I look back, I know those months spent in Spain will be regarded as some of the best in my life.

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Marissa
Female
21 years old
Holland, Michigan
Hope College

Granada la Fantástica

10/10

My experience in Granada was everything that I could've hoped it would be. I chose the city for its culture and history, having recently written a research paper on the influences of Arabic on Spain and the Spanish language. In Granada, it was so cool to see these influences play out in real life; the mix of culture that is unique to southern Spain stood out and created a study abroad experience like no other. More than that, though, I enjoyed Granada for the variety of academics courses offered, the program trips they planned for us, the city's culture of siesta and tapas, the Spaniards' love for soccer, and the political science class I got to take at the local university. I took classes on Spanish literature, the local art and architecture of the region, and the history of Andalusia (Southern Spain and North Africa). Although I am fairly competent in speaking Spanish, the required language class that we had to take was extremely helpful in teaching us about Spain and Granada-specific culture, slang, social tendencies, and differing grammar and vocabulary. I could not choose a favorite memory, but if anything, I will always treasure the nights my newfound friends and I went out for dinner, participating in the culture of tapas. Tapas meant that if you bought a drink, then you could choose from a range of appetizers to accompany it for free. So instead of eating large meals for dinner, the lunch meal would be the main course for the day and then we would go out for drinks and appetizers at night. I would say that my favorite memories came from those nights, when we forced ourselves to practice Spanish with one another and to try new foods and new restaurants. The friends I made, both American and Spanish, will stick with me for a long time, and the memories of a fantastic study abroad experience will last forever.

How can this program be improved?

By encouraging more students to study there! The program itself needs no improvement.

Default avatar
Liza
Female
21 years old
United States
University of Vermont

The best place for a student

10/10

Granada is the ideal city for anyone looking for a study abroad experience in which they can immerse themselves as much as possible in Spanish culture. Granada is known to be one of the safest cities in Spain and even Europe, and I definitely felt even safer there than I do in many cities in the U.S.
I chose the host family option for housing, and was placed with a single 64 year-old woman who was so loving and welcoming to me. I had a roommate but we each had our own room. My host mom was an amazing chef (some of the best food I had in Granada was made by her!), very clean, and extremely caring. I had bronchitis during the semester, and she insisted on coming to the doctors and pharmacy with me, and took special care of me while I was healing.
The program staff struck the perfect balance of helping us when we needed and providing activities and trips, while also letting us be independent and make our experiences our own.

How can this program be improved?

I personally felt that there might have been too much homework, but it also depended on the classes you chose. At the same time, the work was manageable.

Kati
Female

Best Semester Yet!

10/10

IES Granada was a phenomenal experience. The city of Granada is so culturally diverse and has such a rich history that I was never bored and happened on a new experience almost every single day. I enjoyed immersing myself in the culture through a homestay, and eating out with friends in the evenings. The IES program provided a wealth of opportunities for travel and learning, which I was happy to take advantage of! I recommend this program to anyone looking to study in an incredible city with amazing people.

How can this program be improved?

Honestly I did not find any flaws with this program. My homestay was great and I enjoyed the classes. Love it!

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Savannah
Female
21 years old
Amherst
Amherst College

Granada: full of beautiful sunshine

7/10

It doesn’t take a long time to realize that time slows down when entering Granada, Spain. Everything is adjusted from the constant rush in the US to a nice, mellow pace in Granada. The natives are all about chatting and relaxing, literally meals can last for hours. Food to-go or food “para llevar” is a new idea there and it’s relatively rare to find. So, I hope you make friends or else it’s bocadillas for dinner.
Overall, I had a great time in Granada. The food was delicious and cheap. It was by far the cheapest place I have ever lived. I could get a quality meal with a drink for four euros. Can’t beat that anywhere. My classes at IES were relatively easy, not because there weren’t assignments, but because the grading seemed to be laxer than at my University. I also did a few extracurricular activities that really made my experience. I volunteered at a primary school, sang in a choir and took fitness classes at a gym. From these experiences, my Spanish greatly improved.
I was a little disappointed with my homestay because I had a roommate (not a housemate). I also requested to live with children and I ended up living with an older lady. I think my Spanish would have improved more if I had more people to talk with in Spanish.

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Eli
Female
21 years old
Philadelphia
Bryn Mawr College

Friends, Family, Fun

10/10

The IES abroad study in Granada program was amazing! I ended the semester with incredibly advanced Spanish speaking skills. The courses offered are fun and immersive. The program sponsored organized travel excursions, and local activities almost every weekend. Open mic nights, soccer games, and hikes in the mountains are just a few examples of the many activities offered to the students over the course of the semester. The students and staff really became like a big family. I wish the semester went by more slowly! I recommend this program to everyone!

Lina
Female

Granada will steal a place in your heart

10/10

It's hard to convey just how amazing a place Granada is, and just how supportive the IES program is as well. But for the sake of future students, I'll try to share the best parts and the things you should be aware of.

What I wish I had known about Granada before leaving: That Granada has so many different wonderful neighborhoods to explore, and plazas and surprises to discover around every bend. Also, that there is an extensive network of trails behind the Alhambra, so nature is never that far away.

Academics: The workload is significantly lighter. As an English major, instead of reading the usual novels, for class we only read poems and short plays. The amount of homework in general is very, very manageable. But in Spain you will find you spend a lot more time “living” – walking from place to place, eating long lunches at home, taking siesta, and going out for hours for tapas. You have to be strategic about using the in-between times to get your homework out of the way. But many of my classes were built around class excursions and trips, and this was incredible. You get to know about the city around you in ways you never could by yourself, and to understand more about Spanish people and modern culture. Of course, not all my classes were as intellectually challenging as my home college, nor were all my professors the best or most memorable I’ve had. Sometimes the work assigned feels more like busy work. I had one class that certainly was amazing, with a professor I won’t soon forget. But overall I feel like I got what I was looking for academically in my time abroad: less work, but classes that were different, some outside my comfort zone, and that opened my eyes to new things.

Social Interaction: It’s in no way difficult to adjust to the Spanish lifestyle, but making Spanish friends is definitely harder. The most interaction I definitely had was with my host mother, Juana. I was able to learn a lot about Spanish culture, sayings, etc. from her, and I really enjoyed spending time with her during lunch, or watching a television series with her. I also enjoyed meeting with my intercambio (language buddy) arranged by the program. We would speak in both Spanish and English, and I was able to learn a lot more about youth culture that way (he was a university student). We usually met in cafes. I'm so grateful that IES arranged intercambios for us -- it was a really special experience. The program also had local university student "orient adores," who would hang out around the IES center and lead day-trips and outings around the city. Go on the trips led by the orientadores! I regret not going on more. Also, I know students who joined outside activities, like pick-up soccer, were able to meet a lot more local students. Spend time with your host family, and make a concerted effort to join them in the activities they enjoy. Also, don’t hesitate to meet the intercambios of your friends in the program!

Life in Spain: Nothing can beat the Spanish way of life. It feels so healthy – all the walking, the long, extended lunches when no one is expected to work and everything shuts down for a few hours. The siestas are a great time to relax, catch up on things, and nap if you need it (the days are long). In the evenings, everyone goes out to meet with friends and grab a drink and tapas. The drinking culture for the most part is healthy as well – people don’t drink to get drunk, which was a perspective-altering change for me coming from campus culture. I always felt so connected to my friends when out for tapas – you get to explore new places together, while having such great conversation. We would hardly check our phones for hours – there was no place we’d rather be, and no one we’d rather be with. Visiting the clubs on the occasional weekend was a new experience for me, but wasn’t intimidating like I thought it would be. Going all out and having fun like the Spaniards do was a blast, and nothing is better to dance to than Latin music. Lazy Sundays are also nice, too – all the stores, except for restaurants, close, and families stroll the city together.

Language Immersion: All my classes were in Spanish, and I always spoke with my host mom in Spanish. I usually spoke with my roommate and fellow American students in English, though. With my intercambio, I spoke both. You will stand out as an American, of course. People in stores or restaurants might speak to you in English, even if you talk to them in Spanish (not all them time, of course). Be stubborn and keep on with your Spanish! I was essentially fluent before I arrived, but my time abroad helped me gain so much more confidence in my abilities, and improved my vocabulary as well! Simply put, speaking Spanish with others is much, much easier in a Spanish-speaking country. You will learn a lot from your host family as well – make the effort to have conversations with them outside of just meal times. And truly take advantage of having intercambios to speak with as well! Again, don’t hesitate to meet the intercambios of your program friends, as well. We were not instructed in the vosotros form, though, so brush up on that before you arrive.

Living Arrangements: I stayed with a host family in the city. Like many students, I had just a host mom (Juana). I also had a roommate, which was also normal for the program. However, my roommate and I shared a room, while most others had separate rooms. The space was large and adequate, though. Juana provided us with breakfast (fruit, coffee/tea, pastries, toast), and a large and delicious lunch each day. Dinner was on our own, though my home college provided a meal allowance for this. Tapas are easy to find and very affordable. (Because they're free... with a drink!) I very much enjoyed spending time with my host mom, Juana. She was very talkative, and I learned a lot from her. I also got a few colds over the semester, and she was very helpful – went to the clinic for the first time with me, and gave me tea and advice. As with most Spanish mothers, she refuses to let you help with the chores. She tidied our rooms, and also did our laundry each week, which I was always very grateful for. The only drawback I guess was having to share a room, though there was an extra office space we could use for phone calls and homework. I found that living in a homestay was the best of both worlds – I got learn from and interact with a local, had some meals and services provided, and since I had only a host mom, I never felt like I had to modify my behavior at home in respect for an entire family. There were few rules, and no real curfew, though Juana did prefer to know if we were planning on staying out late a certain evening. The walk to campus from our apartment was probably about 20-25 minutes one-way. I didn’t chose to use the city buses to get to campus, though a few students who lived farther out did (round trip, maybe 3 euro?). I know many other students lived closer and had a shorter walk, though. If there was a minor emergency, a taxi would probably only cost 4 to 6 euro. I very much enjoyed my walks to campus though – walking is a big part of life in Spain, and there is so much to see. I got really fit over the course of the semester!

Finances: Granada is the cheapest city in Spain! This felt like a continual gift the whole time I was there. Grabbing tapas or popping into a cafe is particularly cheap (maybe 2-5 euro), so it's easy to go out with friends and not have to worry about spending too much money. I and almost everyone I know simply withdrew euros from the ATM. As always, it’s recommended to withdraw large amounts at once so that the small ATM fee doesn’t end up accumulating with too many withdrawals. I had a debit card while abroad, and I don’t think I was always charged for a withdrawal fee. Though you can usually find a way to pay with debit/credit card at restaurants and larger shops abroad, Spain is extremely cash heavy, and people rarely use their cards. I recommend to always have a lot of cash on you, and to have something that can function as a coin purse as well, as you will accumulate lots of euro coins. It’s certainly an adjustment, but I now miss paying mostly in cash and coins! It’s also a lot easier to keep track of what you’re spending (if you really need to) when you’re using cash. I spent a lot less on supplies than I normally would in a semester. As far as program expenses go, all IES-led trips are included in the price of the program, except for a 4 day trip to Morocco for about $400. I went, and I can safely say that it was a priceless experience!

Safety: In general, Granada is an exceedingly safe place. The streets feel safe at night, though do your best to walk with friends and stick to main streets where people are still out. This is something I really miss about Granada -- there's nowhere where I've ever felt safer while out at night. As for crime, there was just the one student I knew who had her phone stolen by a pickpocket in one of the most touristy place in Granada, the Mirador de San Nicolas. In general I wouldn’t say that pickpockets are a big worry, but if you are in an extremely crowded and touristy area of the city (like the Alhambra), keep your belongings close to you. The people of Granada exercise their right to protest/demonstrate on a regular basis, and sometimes streets will be blocked for pedestrian traffic only. They are never unruly or violent, however. Most demonstrations are smaller. IES has an online location tracker for you to fill out with details whenever you travel outside of Granada -- in case anything were to happen, they want to know where you are and if you are safe. There is also a text alert and phone call system in place.

Impact on my life post-program: My goals when going abroad were to really improve my Spanish fluency and confidence. This is something I definitely accomplished, even if I wasn’t speaking Spanish with my program friends. I also wanted to learn more about the Spanish people and culture. There’s no doubt that I was able to learn a lot, but what I didn’t anticipate was the way it would profoundly affect me. I was just learning about the culture, I was living it; I wasn’t simply learning about the Spanish people, I was talking with them and becoming friends with them. Though I wasn’t always surrounded by just Spaniards, the extent to which I felt that I was settled and that I had adapted to the Spanish way of life took me completely by surprise. Before leaving, I had yearned for something different that the never-ending amounts of school work that didn’t make me feel satisfied with my life. Abroad, I found a way of life that to me seemed to focus so much more on just “living”: on living the good life, and truly having the time to connect with those most dear to you. Besides that, I soon came to find the challenges of living and traveling abroad, of having new experiences, of meeting new people, and of speaking a foreign language to be truly satisfying for me. In these ways, I came back with so much more than I set out to accomplish. Cheesy as it sounds, the new perspectives and insights I’ve gained are incredibly precious to me, and I strive to draw on them going forward. My experience abroad deeply and personally affected me, and going forward I strive to continue to shape my life with what I have gained from my experience.

My favorite memory: Probably no one favorite exists! But there were certainly special moments, like watching sunrise over the Alhambra, or viewing it by night by the light of the moon and to the tune of Spanish guitars. Most of my favorite memories are probably while going out with friends for tapas, eating great food, drinking tinto de verano or sangria, and just generally talking and laughing with friends without too much of a care about time or homework.

Program Summary: I'd say the strengths in the program are: Improvement in Spanish level, staff support, resources, program trips and activities, GRANADA, creative classes with many class excursions, the amazing friends you’ll make. The IES staff members are easy to talk with, and easy to get in contact with as well -- I was able to text with the program director even over Spring Break! Javier, the director, is such an amazing person: enthusiastic, well-educated, and a people person. He's spent a lot of time in the U.S. as well, so he really understands student perspectives and problems. I’d say the only downside to this location is that Granada does not have a major airport, and you’ll often have to take a bus to Malaga for international travel. A student who would thrive on this program is likely curious to explore, enthusiastic about speaking Spanish, prefers smaller cities, and is looking to really get to know the host city intimately. Those looking to make many friends, to spend lots of time out and about with them. A student who loves to go out will also enjoy the club scene, though it is by no means something necessary to enjoy the semester. If international travel is the main objective of your study abroad experience, you might find that it will be easier to do from a larger host city/a capital city.

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Eve
Female
22 years old
Walla Walla WA
Whitman College

Granada my new second home

10/10

Looking back as I sit in my spanish seminar class there at Whitman College, I am constantly reminded of the incredible semester I just had. IES abroad Granada was an incredible experience that I will cherish forever. I had an unforgettable 4 months, met fascinating people from Spain and on my program, really enhanced my spanish through my homestay family, orientadores on the program and taking classes in only spanish. The IES Granada program was very organized, with incredible teachers, student leaders and director. I was able to explore Europe on the weekends if I wanted to, but I loved staying in Granada and exploring what the city has to offer. The program offered trips (Sevilla, Córdoba, Rhonda, even Morocco). I was so fortunate to go on all of the program trips, and will remember them always. I still have flashbacks to specific moments I had abroad, and am already to go back to my beautiful new second home.

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Nick
Male
21 years old
Oxford, Ohio
Miami University

IES Abroad Granada

9/10

I had a fantastic time during my study abroad trip to Granada with IES Abroad. I am very happy with my overall experience and there is not much that I would change about it. My Spanish wildly improved after living there for an entire semester and I made great friends who I was heartbroken to leave. I had many great experiences both traveling around Spain and in Granada, and I wouldn't trade them for anything. My classes were interesting and informative and I was able to greatly refine the focus of my major during my time studying there. I would definitely recommend IES Abroad, with its great teachers and directors, to anyone looking to have a great experience abroad.

How can this program be improved?

I don't have much to improve. It was a great experience.

Taylor
Female
22 years old
Burlington, VT
Hope College

Experiencing Granada

9/10

My absolute favorite aspect about Granada is that it is both an active city and a personal, manageable community. As a small-town girl, I wanted a place steeped in culture but not too overwhelming. Granada was perfect. Secondly, the cultural fusion of Granada is so unique and unparalleled. The Moroccan influence that mingles with Spanish architecture, art, and cuisine makes Granada a fascinating place. The most rewarding aspect of my studies abroad was joining a local choir. Here I met local Spaniards ranging in age 24 to 74! They welcomed me with open arms, helped me maintain my musical abilities, and drastically improve my Spanish! I now have a wonderful group of friends abroad, and a home whenever I can find my way back again. To anyone who is nervous about conquering a large city, I highly recommend considering Granada. I fell in love.

How can this program be improved?

The only aspect about which I can think could use improvement is a sort of standard across the board for housing. Some students had luxurious private rooms and bathrooms very near the center while others had small, "rougher" rooms to share with a roommate very far from the center. A sort of general equality would be nice so as to prepare students and to not create false expectations.

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Summer
Female
21 years old
Seattle, WA
University of Washington- Seattle

The Granada Touch

10/10

Where can I begin? The other reviewers have said it many times over: I had one of the greatest experiences of my life in Granada, Spain. It's a city that will surely touch your heart in some way or another, while showing you a great time everyday and night of the week. Four months in this place incredibly, and quickly, began to feel like only a few short minutes. The people, the accent, the history, the sunsets, the food (oh, and free tapas); I loved it all. We had opportunities to travel all around Andalusia with our program during this time, and amazing as they were, I always found myself itching at this feeling that I needed to be back in Granada - nuestra hogar, mi hogar. There is simply nowhere that compares.
The IES Abroad Granada Program Director, Javier, was without a doubt, is exactly the right guy for this job (and frankly, any other job in the world because well, he's amazing). He and the other IES staff will welcome you in with open, Spanish arms and help guide you along your adventure in Granada like a good friend might do. I can name multiple occasions where i've endured some of the most ab-wrenching, tear-inducing laughs ever with Javier. Being in this position for so many years, he not only knows what he's doing, but he also has some flat out hilarious stories to recount about past programs and mishaps.
Some more note-worthy cositas about Granada and the program:
- FREE Tapas (did I already say that? Yeah, free. tapas.); with purchase of a drink in any Grandadino spot.
- Hiking the Sierra Nevadas; hop on a bus from the city center and be at a trailhead in under 1 hour.
- Skiing the Sierra Nevadas; again, just hop on a bus.
- Veg Options in Abundance; if you're a vegetarian or vegan (which I am), you will be happy to find out that there are multiple restaurants and shops in Granada that are entirely vegan... and delicious. I lived one block away from an adorable vegan cafe/restaurant where I became a loyal regular.
- Young People; with about 80,000 students at the University of Granada, there are young Spaniards, expats, and exchange students all over the city.
- Wide Course and Activity Options; since the IES Abroad Center in Granada is partnered with the University of Granada, you have the option to participate in classes and activities there as well.

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Margaret
Female
23 years old
Mountainside, NJ
Colorado College

Gracias Granada

10/10

I'll never forget my last night in Granada… I bid a bittersweet farewell to some of the Spanish friends I had made during the semester. I knew that our kiss goodbye, left cheek then right, was more of an, “hasta la vista,” than an, “adios.” I slipped out of the cafe trying to hide the tears filling the corners of my eyes, but one splashed onto the black and white tiles of the sidewalk, drenched in the warm afternoon sun. Passing through the streets, scents of exotic spices and teas scented the fresh mountain air. I needed to collect as many sights, sounds, and moments as I could to last me the indefinite future.

Flamenco fans and whole legs of jamón ibérico dangled from shop windows as I passed through the city center. Pictures of celebrities, American presidents, and other famous clients smiled at me from the walls of the famous “Los Italianos,” tempting me to grab one last scoop of gelato on my way. I resisted, but barely. My favorite activity was to count how many pomegranates I could find along my walks. Granada means pomegranate in Spanish and they’re everywhere: on door knockers, bollards, flower pots, and street signs, just waiting to be discovered.

I met up with my American friends in Plaza Nueva, just outside the IES Granada center, and we started up the hillside. We wove our way through the narrow, winding streets of the Albayzín, the old medieval quarter of town. No matter how many times I got lost in the maze of white walls and red rooves, I always managed to come around a corner and find ten new paths to be explored. We hiked up and up, passing through and out of the city. The sudden transition between Granada and the surrounding forests, hills and mountains never failed to take me by surprise.

We were now on a dirt path ascending Sacromonte, “the holy mountain.” Our final destination was in our sights: the ancient muralla. This old wall was part of the fortifications built hundreds of years ago to protect the city. Despite its age, it still stands strong, though cracks betray it every few meters. By the time I caught up, two of the boys had already used these cracks to scale the side and were busy helping the rest of us up. We walked up its length, pretending it was just a wide balance beam. Finally, we settled on a good section, pulled out the bottle of red wine we had brought, and sat down to watch the sun set.

As the sun disappeared over the mountains, it lit up the city. Granada sat like a glittering jewel before us. It wasn’t hard to imagine why the Catholic rulers Isabel and Ferdinand coveted it so much during the Inquisition. The Alhambra glowed warmly. You could almost see the Moorish kings looking out of their throne rooms over their kingdom. It baffled me when I first arrived that 2.4 million people visit every year just to see this UNESCO World Heritage Site. After many class field trips to the palace, I could not believe it wasn’t more! An Ernest Hemingway quote came to my mind: “How lazily the sun goes down in Granada, it hides beneath the water, it conceals in the Alhambra.”

As dusk became twilight, we swung our legs over the other side other wall and watched the full moon appear over the Sierra Nevadas. Despite it being late May, snow still clung to the sides of the highest peaks on the Iberian Peninsula, giving weight to their etymology (in Spanish, literally “snowy saw”). The big, yellow disc rose higher and higher in the sky, signaling it was time leave.
We climbed down the backside in the moonlight and wove our way down the valley, passing by wood smoke wafting out of the chimneys of the cave houses. We finally stopped in one of these caves owned by an old gypsy man. These original inhabitants of the caves pioneered the art form of flamenco, filling their music and dance with their souls. He brought us “Alhambra” brand beers from the bar and we watched tourists spill into caves while the sound of tapping shoes and guitars spilled out.

My boyfriend walked me home. We were back in the center of town now. The last month workers had been setting up for the city’s fería, or festival. Every Spanish town has one. For Granada, think less of Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls and more dancing in the streets in traditional flamenco dresses. I had forgotten our last night was the first day of the festival. My boyfriend was catching a 3AM bus to the airport so we walked around the streets to pass the time until his departure (3AM is not that late at night on Spanish time…). We were walking through Plaza Bib Rambla when it struck midnight and suddenly all the festival lights that were strung throughout the city turned on. The opening ceremony played on a TV in a restaurant and the sound of Granada’s anthem filled the air.

It was a magical moment and one that made the reality of leaving hit me suddenly. I walked into my apartment and cried on my host mother’s shoulder, telling her how much I was going to miss it all: my friends, my family, my amazing professors and the IES staff, the food, the history, the place I had grown to call home. I left the next morning for a five-week tour around Europe. I couldn’t complain, but at the same time, I knew I had left a little pomegranate shaped piece of my heart in Granada.

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Ashley
Female
21 years old
Washington, D.C.
Brandeis University

IES Abroad Granada: A Life-changer

10/10

Studying abroad in Granada, Spain has been by far one of the best things I've done in my entire life. I was originally frightened of going abroad but I'm so glad I remained focused and pushed myself to new heights. The staff and members of Granada were all very helpful and attentive to students needs, wishes, and desires. They each contributed to achieving academic, intellectual, and artistic goals while constantly scheduling entertaining and culturally stimulating events throughout the semester. Classes tied cultures with Spain with those crossed over into Africa and allowed students to truly understand the history behind the architecture in Granada that spread to many other countries and cultures.
There are many extracurricular activities available for students to involve themselves in and to allow them to integrate themselves into the culture of the city and the community. The overall environment was extremely safe and another one of my favorite parts of being in Spain was being given an intercambio whom I'm close with to this day and view as an integral part of the intercultural exchange I experienced.

Kweku
Male
22 years old
Cape Coast, Ghana

A Phenomenal Semester in Granada

10/10

Before I started my semester in Granada, I had no idea what to expect. Nevertheless, I could tell by the the excitement of the staff I had met so far that I was going to have a great experience. On the first day in Spain, we underwent a very well thought out orientation program which ensured our basic cultural competency before going into our homestay. The hotel accommodations were ideal and I am still friends with my hotel roommate to this day. During the Spring semester, all students had a week long break during which most decided to travel. We had organized field trips for some of the classes and the staff almost always spoke to us only in Spanish to ensure our engagement in the language from the very first day. Javier Martinez de Velasco, the Director and the staff organized a week long trip to Morocco and a weekend long trip to Cabo de Gata. These two are just examples of the many extracurricular activities we could partake in whether mandatory or optional.
If I could go back into the past and choose a study abroad program all over again, I would IES Abroad Granada in a heartbeat. My only regret is not being to live there longer.

How can this program be improved?

Perhaps providing housing for students closer to the IES Center.

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Preston
Male
23 years old
Denver
Bowdoin College

Falling For Granada

8/10

I didn't realize that I would miss Granada, Spain as much as I do. This is one city that I will definitely return to one day soon. There is something about this little city in Andalucia (Andalusia), the southern region of Spain, that evokes a strong sense of nostalgia. It has been almost three months since I departed from Granada, yet I constantly think about my short time there. I felt a degree of liberty, safety, comfort, and ease on my daily walks up and down Calle Recogidas, one of Granada's central and busiest streets, that not every city can provide. This city like so many others has a culture of its own that in certain ways cannot be matched by any other. Its history can be seen in its architecture and its spirit can be seen in its people.

Over the past few months I have realized that I have fallen for Granada. I continue to be fascinated by its history (it is a city that has seen the rise and fall of Islamic empires, and a Spanish dictator) and amused by its intricacies ( random holidays that call for spending long hours in the streets drinking cerveza with friends or watching processions for saints). IES Granada is in part responsible for my falling for Granada. IES staff pushed me to get out, see, and explore Granada in depth. My anthropology class allowed me to personally investigate gentrification in the Albaicyn, a section of the city that has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and my art history course extended my appreciation and admiration of La Alhambra ( one of the most beautiful and fully intact castles in all of Andalusia).

Granada is a city that is loved and has been loved by so many. There's something that must be said for a city that has taken the hearts of many for more than 400 years. Granada is special, and if you take the time to truly to get know it, which means talking to people in the city and learning about why things are the way they are, you may just fall in love. But then again, if your not the type looking for love...Granada is also the perfect place for a one-semester stand ;) ...

How can this program be improved?

More integration with local students. The majority of IES students and all IES classes are only with other US students. This can be limiting. However everyone does have the option to take university courses. I just wish that their was more integration between IES and the University; some programs are arranged to offer this. Also I would be nice if IES Granada would give a stipend for dinners or at least to travel during semana santa since we are not allowed to stay in our home stays during that week! Some other programs offer this.

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Ana
Other
21 years old
Rhode Island

Granada

10/10

Overall, my four months in Granada were amazing, and now that I'm back in the US I really miss the city. Granada is a city that's full of complex history, amazing architecture, life in the streets, and its easily navigable by walking. IES abroad staff was good at orienting us to the new abroad life and was eager to make sure we engaged with our host families, university professors, and any other extracurriculars. The program "field trips," especially the one to Morocco, were definitely highlights of my time abroad. Also, the flamenco class and water color class were definitely favorites in the program. IES staff really makes an effort to connect with students and create an awesome, chill, inviting environment. Students came from lots of different schools and majors and we all just came together to enjoy Granada for four months. Basically Granada IES, 10/10 would recommend.

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Maya
Male
22 years old
Newton, MA
Barnard College

Hidden Gem

10/10

My experience in Granada exceeded my expectations tenfold. I didn't know much about the city before the semester, but even after my first week I knew I had stumbled upon a special place. Granada is a relatively small city (~250,000 people) but there is a ton to do. It has all the benefits of city life (clubs, bars, restaurants, cultural attractions) but it's only a walk or bus ride away from some incredible hiking trails, beaches, and other natural wonders. The IES program is exceptionally organized and well run thanks to their wealth of experience working with the typical problems that occur during an abroad program. I felt safe and well supported throughout the semester. If you are looking for a bit of everything during study abroad then Granada is a good place for you.

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Sarah
Male
22 years old
Cleveland, OH
Macalester College

Una ciudad espectacular

9/10

My time abroad gave me a great opportunity to really think about culture, the impact the US really has on so much of the world, how much privilege we have living here, and of course language. Through the experience, my Spanish improved a great deal, especially my confidence when speaking. I always knew I wanted to study abroad in Spain, and I decided to study in Granada because it's a smaller city. It was nice to be in this size of a city because I could truly get a feel for it and all of its different neighborhoods in the short time there, there was less influence of the English language so I was forced to speak in Spanish all the time, but it was still sizable enough to have a lot of life and excitement at any time of day (and I mean any time--the discotecas don't usually get busy until 2:30 AM).
The IES program and staff were great and very helpful as I tried to navigate my way through my time abroad. Most of the staff members in this program were enthusiastic, helpful, and really seemed to love what they do and interact with their students.
Granada is a beautiful, exciting city and I loved being there for four months. The city itself is one of my favorites that I visited in Spain, as it has a unique vibrancy, incredibly interesting architecture, upbeat and beautiful city streets and plazas, and of course an amazing tapas culture. One of my favorite parts of the city was that it's in a very mountainous area, making it incredibly picturesque in every part of the city. Every day as I walked home to my homestay I would look up at the end of the street and see snow covered mountains in the distance. This kind of terrain also provides for some of the most incredible views I have ever seen. I really felt like the city was my home for my visit and I felt comfortable traversing and exploring it independently.
All in all, my stay in Granada was incredibly positive. I grew a lot as a global citizen, a Spanish speaker, a traveler, and a person. I would highly recommend this program to other students looking for a Spanish study abroad experience!

Hanna
Female
22 years old

Granada: un sueño verdadero

10/10

I always imagined studying abroad in a Spanish-speaking country, but Granada exceeded my wildest dreams for a study-abroad experience! Granada is the ideal city for study-abroad: it’s small enough to feel intimate, yet large enough to have a bevy of concerts, bars, and cultural activities. It’s a youthful college town, yet has centuries of rich cultural history –from the Islamic empire to “Los Reyes Catolicos.” That being said, Granada makes for the perfect hands-on classroom –with IES, I took a class on Islamic Art and Architecture where class consisted of weekly visits to the Alhambra. Also, Granada is surprisingly affordable! 2 Euro wine with a free tapa of paella have forever spoiled me for American prices.
IES does a great job coordinating all aspects of the program and catering it to your specific needs/goals. My goal was to fully immerse myself in Spanish. Not only did IES offer courses entirely in Spanish, but they also helped me register in classes at the University of Granada. The Program Director, Javier, is incredibly dynamic and genuinely cares about each student –by the second day of the program, he already knew everyone by name! The IES staff helps immensely with cultural immersion: they connected me with a local hiking club as well as sending out weekly agendas with local cultural activities. The program also included free trips to major sites like Sevilla, Ronda, Cordoba, and Cabo de Gata, which were great bonding experiences and enabled me to get a better sense of Spain as a whole.
One of the most memorable and immersive parts of the experience was my homestay. My host mother was an incredible woman –always cooking delicious Andalusian dishes, asking us about our lives, and trying to find solutions to any challenges that came up. She called me her “niña” and insisted on celebrating my birthday as if I were her own daughter. We still keep in touch over email and Skype, and she sends me photo updates of her adorable new grandson.
After spending a semester in Granada, I can honestly say that it was one of the most positive and powerful experiences of my life. Immersing myself in another culture gave me new perspective on my own culture and daily life. I learned to slow down from the fast-paced American lifestyle, appreciate all the wonderful people in my life, and when something doesn’t go according to plan, just shrug it off with a “no pasa nada” (the Granadino catchphrase). I have definitely become more open-minded, flexible, and independent because of this experience!

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Kensey
Female
22 years old
Arnold, MD
University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill

Granada 2016

9/10

During my time in Granada, I fell in love with the city. The atmosphere is great because there are so many young people, and while there is always a lot of activity, the people are very relaxed. People say the Spanish live in the calle, and it’s true. The streets are always bustling with Spaniards having a chat, walking to work, or meeting friends for a café con leche. There are always hippies playing music or blowing bubbles. People are spontaneous and will drop everything to meet a friend for a beer and a (free) tapa. Especially in Andalusia, people are very expressive and get excited over the smallest things. Living with a host family was definitely the most important part of my experience. Since this program is with American students, it’s great to live with a Spanish family to learn more about the culture, eat home-cooked Spanish food, and speak more Spanish. My family really treated me like a fourth daughter and constantly tried to give me the best experience in Granada possible. I also had an intercambio who I became good friends with, so I definitely recommend the intercambio program. Another way I interacted with locals was by playing on Granada’s ultimate Frisbee team. I ended up going to three different tournaments with the team to different parts of Spain. The IES staff does a great job organizing activities around Granada, and they will do their best to help you out with whatever problem you have. My Spanish class was probably my favorite because we always talked about different kinds of Spanish food or slang and lots of our assignments required us to try the food or talk about the slang with our host families. With IES we took lots of trips to other places in Andalusia and one trip to Morocco, which was my favorite. We stayed with host families, talked with Moroccan students our age, and even visited a family living in the countryside for lunch. I felt like with IES, I learned as much as I could in 5 days about Morocco. Overall, this is a fantastic program in a beautiful city.

How can this program be improved?

We had a lot of "busy work," which wasn't very useful and took a lot of time. I would have had more time to explore the city and be spontaneous if the classes had been structured more like the Spanish system than the American education system. That's to say I'd have liked the classes to have been more about independent study than constantly turning in assignments that inevitably became low quality work.

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Julia
Female
22 years old
Los Angeles
Kenyon College

Te Amo, Granada

9/10

Before setting eyes on Granada, I was definitely nervous about studying abroad. I'd heard wonderful things about IES Abroad Granada from my friends who had studied there before, but I didn't know if I would have a similarly wonderful experience. I was eager to experience a new culture, try new foods, and meet interesting people, but I didn't know if all my expectations would be met. Turns out they were — and actually exceeded. Granada is an absolutely amazing city with an exciting culture, beautiful architecture, and tons of street life. It's not too big but not too small, which was comforting and allowed me to explore new areas without getting lost or feeling overwhelmed. From hiking up in the mountains, to climbing up to the Alhambra, to dancing flamenco, to going to outdoor markets, to taking part in street fairs and processions, to helping cook new foods, my time in Granada was a blast. IES Abroad was spectacular in helping me to acclimate to the environment and feel at home away from home. The classes at the IES Center are challenging and stimulating and exciting, all at the same time. The professors are great at helping you to improve your Spanish and develop new skills on an individual level, and you get small classes and personalized attention, which I very much appreciated. My Spanish when I entered the program was not amazing, but with my professors' help, I was able to improve so much. Moreover, IES organizes hikes, excursions, and other fun outdoor activities to get to know the area. Through these activities, I was able to better see the countryside and surrounding sites, as well as make better friends with my program mates and additional Spanish locals who would accompany us. IES also helped pair us with students from the University of Granada so we could practice our Spanish and meet more Granadinos. Through this "intercambio" program, I was able to meet some wonderful Spanish friends my age who could show me their favorite spots in the city. And I also got to see Granada from a new perspective, which increased my appreciation for the city. Overall, I really appreciated the time and effort that the program put into helping us acclimate to the environment, and I couldn't recommend Granada as a place of study enough. It's personal, it's lively, it's exciting, and it'll be one of the best decisions you've ever made. Just make sure to keep an open mind and try at least one new thing every day, and you'll have a wonderful time.

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Emmet
Male
22 years old
New Haven, CT
Yale University

Granada: Five transformative months

10/10

The five months that I spent in Granada had a profound impact on my sense of self; since returning, I am more confident, comfortable, and excited about my future. I recommend the program without hesitation! There are three main reasons - along with a whole bunch of secondary ones - that I say recommend it so enthusiastically.

The first is the IES Granada program. The staff at IES Granada is engaged, compassionate, and experienced - they do a tremendous job with integration into the city. Javier, the director, does everything in his power to provide you with whatever opportunity you're interested in, and the rest of the staff make it happen. What is more, every time I walked into the IES building, it felt a little bit more like home.

The second reason that I unequivocally recommend the IES Granada program is the city itself. You'll fall in love with the Granada on day one! Because it's a young city of students, it's incredibly cheap. The University of Granada plays a big role in its character, which makes the night life fantastic as well. The people are the best part, though. Andalucians in general are nicer than their northern counterparts, and life is slow-paced. People take the siesta; no one seems to be in a hurry. No pasa nada. During my time in Spain, I visited all the big cities, and I have to say, Granada is definitely the most beautiful! People from from Barcelona and Madrid will tell you the same.

The final reason that I give the IES Granada program ten stars is the amount of cultural assimilation that the program facilitates. The program works with nice families in good neighborhoods to arrange homestays. For example, I lived in a third floor apartment about twenty minutes from the IES center in a residential part of the city. My host mother was proud to share wonderful spanish food with me, and I was never hungry. My host family was also committed to helping me connect with Andalucian culture; they brought me to concerts, introduced me to their extended family, and taught me a great deal of colloquial spanish. I will never forget Manoli, Marcelo, and Andrea.

Because I had such a fantastic and formative time in Granada, time seemed elastic. Five months passed in what seemed like five days. Reflecting on the experience now, I realize that I wouldn't have had it any other way. If you're thinking about studying with IES Abroad in Granada, do it!

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Ana
Female
22 years old
Claremont, California
Scripps College

Exploring Granada

9/10

My semester abroad in Granada was an unforgettable experience. It gave me an opportunity to learn more about the language, culture, and the importance of a siesta. I met amazing people and saw beautiful sites. It was the perfect city for me. It was small, easy to navigate, beautiful and full of culture. I was able to improve my Spanish and study flamenco and had the opportunity to learn about Spanish architecture by visiting the Alhambra, walking in the Albayzín, and other historic sites throughout the city. I enjoyed the challenge of having to rely on a new language. It was great exploring the city and the surrounding area, studying in cafés, eating free tapas every night, and seeing the Alhambra daily from the roof of the IES center. The program staff were also extremely supportive and always around to help you with any problems. Being in Granada was one of the most enriching experiences I have ever had.

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Megan
Female
22 years old
West Bloomfield, MI
Hope College

No Pasa Nada

10/10

IES Abroad Granada truly is the perfect study abroad program. Initially, when I chose Granada, I only thought of it as a small city in Southern Spain. I didn’t know anything about the local culture, the rich history that every inch of the city holds, or the Alhambra. I had never used the words “siesta”, “tapa”, “tinto de verano” or “no pasa nada” (all of which a local uses at least 5 times a day). The laid back, easy-going way of life makes it very easy to fall in love with the city.
One of my favorite memories was celebrating my host mom's 54th birthday. Her birthday fell on our last Saturday in Granada, so she wanted to celebrate with us. In the morning, my roommate and I had our final performance flamenco show (from our flamenco class) that our host mom and host sister attended. When we got home, we found that our host mom had prepared a huge feast with traditional seafood paella, tons of bread and olive oil and tossed salad. Her daughter bought mini cakes at a local bakery for us to eat once we were stuffed from lunch! My roommate and I bought our mom a "birthday crown" and had her wear it throughout the meal. We sang happy birthday to her, watched her blow out her candles and gave her a present (a dark H&M scarf that she had been admiring). The best part of this lunch celebration was talking with our family. In total, the meal took 4 hours because we just sat and talked (in Spanish, of course:) about life. This was an extremely special experience for me.
Each day was a new learning adventure while I was there: whether it was learning a new Spanish word with my host mom at lunch, finding a new tapas restaurant with friends, exploring a portion of the Alhambra, watching flamenco performances on the street or wandering aimlessly around the city. My study abroad experience in Granada provided me with countless life lessons that I could not have possibly learned in a classroom. My 4 months in Granada gave me some time to step back, relax and reflect on my life. I would strongly encourage anyone to look into this program, because it truly changed my life. Granada no longer is a small city in Southern Spain, Granada is home.

How can this program be improved?

I would love it if the program could be 6 months instead of 4. I would have loved to spend more time in Granada, everything went by too fast!!

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Casey
Female
22 years old
Seattle, Washington
University of Rochester

Granada, te echo de menos

10/10

In just four short months, I fell in love with Granada. Granada made me feel free and reintroduced me to myself all while speaking another language and living in a new culture. I was pushed happily out of my comfort zone, lived the Granadina no pa’ na’ vida, and I am now waiting for the day to go back and visit. Granada was the perfect size for me: small enough to feel well acquainted with, yet big enough to still be exploring something new every weekend, including hiking in the surrounding mountains. Days were full of wandering the streets of the city, bonding with my host family during our daily (and delicious) lunches, and of course hanging out at my favorite and very frequented tapas bars with probably the coolest and most interesting people I have ever met. The academics of IES also helped push me out of my comfort zone. As a science student I was nervous at first about talking classes such as watercolor and art history, but it turned out to be the greatest decision I could have made. I was introduced to a whole new way of thinking and looking at the world all thanks to the wonderful professors at IES.

How can this program be improved?

If I had to change one thing about this program it would be the required seminar course that went along with doing an internship. I absolutely loved my internship (it was in occupational therapy at a local senior residence home), but I found the seminar to be not quite the right use of my time. While it was helpful in understanding the work environment in Granada, it did not pertain specifically to my internship.

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Ben
Male
22 years old
Mequon, Wisconsin
Grinnell College

Granada, Enamorada

10/10

The epitome of my time in Granada was the night that a group of about 25 students from the program hiked up into the hills surrounding the city and made a bonfire as the sun set on our time in Granada. It was such a special memory and really encompasses everything that made Granada so special, with the Alhambra in sight, marshmallows roasting over the fire, and friends all around. Granada really is a special place, and it is hard to really capture its essence in a few words. The staff at IES Granada gave us every opportunity to take advantage of everything the city had to offer, from sports, music, and food to theatre, movies and hiking. If we had an interest in volunteering or getting involved in any activity, our student life coordinators immediately helped us out and always delivered, getting us the necessary information and assisting us in whatever we needed. The program director, Javier, is hands down one of the nicest and most genuinely interesting and amazing people you will ever have the privilege of meeting. The IES center is perfectly located, with a rooftop terrace with a view of the Alhambra. I can't put into words how much the 4 months I spent in Granada mean to me, and I think my future will reveal just how much they impacted me.

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Scott
Male
22 years old
Boston, MA
Wheaton College

An Exceptional Experience

10/10

I am so glad that I chose to study in Granada with IES. This program helped me become immersed in Spanish culture and experience it authentically. Granada is a wonderful place to study abroad, since most destinations are within walking distance. Granada has so many unique charms, so don't be deceived by its smaller size. The program staff is incredibly welcoming and sincere, and they help make your transition into Spanish culture easier. Granada will always have a special place in my heart, and I will never forget my experience in Granada. I'm thankful IES helped to make it truly exceptional!

How can this program be improved?

I would have liked to see more integration with the IES Granada program into the university.

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Anna
Female
Denver, Colorado
Colorado College

Querida Granada

10/10

My four months in Granada were some of the best months of my life and not for all the reasons you would expect. Of course Granada made it rather easy for me to become part of a new culture, not merely understand it, learn a new language, not solely speak it but love it, make new friends but also keep the bonds that bound. I loved coming home everyday at 2:30 to eat lunch with my host family. Yes, you do eat things like paella and salads always with corn and tuna but I also simply loved watching the different way my host mom cut an orange or picking out the words I didn't know in a long stream of her Spanish. I loved silly things like using Whatsapp and my long walk to school, trying a different way everyday. I loved getting lost in the mountains behind the old Arabic quarter of the city but never feeling lonely because of the Alhambra watching me. The IES Granada program gave me the tools to explore on my own, speak a beautiful new language in order to ask for directions when I got too lost and then even understand the history of the streets I was discovering. One of the best surprises of studying in Granada was not solely the free tapa with a drink but the way it facilitates conversations and mistakes in language and then correction, it facilitates the Spanish culture and a passion to share. The IES school is located in a mesmerizing part of the city, you will never leave the terrace once the sun is out but you will never want to leave the city once you study with IES Granada.

How can this program be improved?

I would change the rigor of the academics. Some of my classes were amazing and I got the opportunity to understand a new language as well as a new culture and history. However, one or two of my classes were not well organized which made it hard for me to fully comprehend the course material. BUT the majority of the classes were very good.

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N.
Female
Pennsylvania
Other

Granada, te amo.

10/10

I feel so lucky to have been able to study abroad in Granada. Aside from it being absolutely beautiful and vibrant, it was the greatest learning experience I have ever had. Being thrown into an entirely new culture with a distinct language and customs helped me learn to take risks and jump into things headfirst. I was able to improve my language skills, live with a wonderful Spanish family, meet new friends and soak up all of the music, culture and tapas that Spain had to offer. I cannot recommend IES, Granada and Spain enough. It was truly the best decision I could have made and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

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Chloe
Female
24 years old
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Whitman College

Ya un amor sincero

10/10

This was my first time abroad, so I was very nervous going into the program. But I immediately fell in love with Granada and am so grateful to have been able to spend four months getting to know the city and its people. Life in Granada is lived in the streets, and there is always something to do and someone excited to do it. And Granada is the perfect place for anyone who wants to become more self-confident and independent. It's easy to navigate, it's completely safe and people are happy to help you out. IES was with us the entire way—any time I had a question or needed advice or a pep talk, the IES Granada staff had my back. And my host mom is one of the most generous people I've ever met. I am still in contact with her and her family. As clichéd as it sounds, studying in Granada was truly a life-changing experience.

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IES Abroad offers 140 programs worldwide for college students. We are a highly charged force of study abroad enthusiasts. Every day we have the privilege of witnessing how study abroad changes our students’ lives. We also believe that every student should have the opportunity to

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