IES Abroad Granada - Study in Granada

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About

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.

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...
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...

Reviews

96%
based on 73 reviews
  • Academics 8.2
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.5
  • Housing 9.5
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 31 - 45 of 73
Hanna
10/10

Granada: un sueño verdadero

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!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Kensey
9/10

Granada 2016

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Julia
9/10

Te Amo, Granada

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Emmet
10/10

Granada: Five transformative months

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!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Ana
9/10

Exploring Granada

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Megan
10/10

No Pasa Nada

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!!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Casey
10/10

Granada, te echo de menos

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Ben
10/10

Granada, Enamorada

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Scott
10/10

An Exceptional Experience

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Anna
10/10

Querida Granada

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
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N.
10/10

Granada, te amo.

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Chloe
10/10

Ya un amor sincero

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Emma
10/10

How I became "Granadina"

I know that it is very common to hear "best time of my life" associated with one's travels, and although these are often exaggerated statements that result from the excitement and novelty of what one has just experienced, I would be lying if I said otherwise. My 4 months in Granada with IES abroad were truly the best four months of my life, in every sense of the word. The friends that I made in my program became some of my closest friends, and I still keep in touch with them daily.
I was able to live with a host family, with two young and very nice parents, a 9 year old boy and a 3-month old girl whom I loved as I love my real brother at home. I would always look forward to going home for lunch where I could enjoy a few hours of delicious and plentiful meals and the company of my 'family'. On the weekends that I didn't travel around Europe, I would play games with my 'brother'... It is so unbelievably lucky to be able to live with a family for four months and be able to call it your own.
My classes in Granada were great as well. 4 out of 5 of them were in Spanish, which not only allowed me to have a completely different educational experience, but also to greatly improve my language skills. The classes at IES were small and many were discussion-based, making it a fun and interesting environment to learn in. I also took a class at the University of Granada, where I was exposed to many Spanish and Erasmus students, and got to try out the 'Spanish' education system... although it is extremely different than what I am used to in the US (less structure to the class) I loved going twice a week and drinking my coffee outside overlooking Granada with my friends, before going to class.
IES was extremely helpful in all situations and I could not imagine having had a better time on another program. Indeed, IES staff was always there to lend a helping hand, whether you were sick or looking for something to do in the city. The staff and 'orientadores' planned many activities every week, that included everything from shows, dance classes, and hikes to wine and olive oil tasting. The 'orientadores' are Spanish university students who work for IES -- their presence in my life was incredible, I did many things with them every week, and some of them became my best friends in Granada. The program also had some of the best and most mind-blowing trips, including a weekend to Cabo de Gata -- a 'deserty' beach region, and 5 days in Morocco, in which we had the insane opportunity to live with Moroccan families.
Every day, I would go to my language class, then go out with my friends for 'tostadas (bread, tomato, olive oil and salt), cafe con leche, and fresh zumo de naranja. I would then go to my next class before going home for lunch, the biggest meal of the day. The food in my homestay was always delicious, and the quantities unbelievable ... but I was always able to finish my plate(s). This would be followed by a necessary siesta, which is the common thing to do in Spain before going to my evening class that ended at 8 (which didn't feel late at all, given that lunch was eaten around 3pm). After class, I would often go exploring the small streets of Granada, go shopping, and we would often end up at one of the miradors (viewing points), staring out to the Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada mountains that extended out behind it, while sipping on some tinto de verano. When the sun would set, we would go get tapas, where we could sit for hours just eating, drinking wine, talking, and enjoying life. Overall, Granada was incredible: the city was so beautiful, from the modern avenues lined with shops, the Arabic neighborhood that made you feel like you had been transported to a different continent, or the Jewish neighborhood where I lived that was covered in beautiful painted graffiti, to the flamenco and gypsy-filled hills of the Sacromonte. Everyone was so nice, so laid-back and so much fun to be around ... I couldn't have asked for a better semester.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Peter
8/10

A wonderful semester

Studying abroad through IES Granada allowed me to receive the quintessential Spanish student experience. They managed to pull some amazing professors from the local universities which permitted a great exchange of perspective. Most of the classes were taught in Spanish which enhanced my language capacity. In addition, they provided many excursions within and outside of Granada. Their willing and helpful staff are available 24/7, and they are constantly organizing events to get you engaged. You have the opportunity to take classes at the local university (La Universidad de Granada) and many students took advantage of that opportunity. Overall, I am very happy with my abroad experience, and would do anything to do it again.

How can this program be improved?
Integrating the classes with other programs (other programs use a joint building which increases socialization)
Yes, I recommend this program
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G.
10/10

Granadina

The previous four months while studying abroad in Granada, Spain, I was lucky enough to experience one of the best semesters of my life. Not only did I get to live in a new country, but I found myself easily immersing myself into the new culture and absorbing all I could each and every day. With an incredibly supportive host family, I personally found the adjustment phase the first few weeks simple. While my Spanish may have lacked in fluency and confidence in the beginning, my understanding family in addition to the reassuring IES teachers, staff, and classmates made transitioning painless and I never once felt overwhelmed or fearful of this new place I would be living in for almost half a year. Once I became completely comfortable and no longer unsure of my surroundings in this new city, I was able to realize the amazing opportunity I had. With every walk to class, each new tapas adventure, and the interesting spontaneous conversations with welcoming Spaniards, I recognized I wouldn’t be in this incredible situation without the help of IES and I came to love this new city I now am lucky enough to call home. It will always be a special place holding some of my fondest memories and I will forever be a Granadina en mi corazón!

Yes, I recommend this program

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