Overall, I had a wonderful experience and I would recommend this to anyone who wants to live and study in a Spanish-speaking country. The program staff were warm, extremely helpful, and very available for all questions, concerns, and suggestions. There is a wide variety of classes (but only in the humanities), and you can choose to take classes in English or in Spanish (although each student is required to take a Spanish class, the level of which is determined toward the beginning of the program with an oral evaluation and a written evaluation. I took classes only in Spanish and the content, teaching style, and the professors themselves were all amazing--my academic experience was awesome. I took Islamic Civilization with Indalecio Lozano, The Poetry of Federico García Lorca with Conch Badía, Memory and Identity of Sephardic Jews with Alicia Ramos, Islamic Art and Architecture with Yolanda Guasch, and Spanish 352 with Rosana Piñero. I loved all of my classes and all of my professors, but if I had to pick a favorite it would probably be Islamic Civilization. The material was fascinating, and Indalecio is a wonderful and passionate teacher. The IES Granada building is in the very heart of the city, right next to the Alhambra, so the location is great. The building itself is nice and well-maintained. There are several classrooms, a library, and an area upstairs just for the students that includes mailboxes, computers, a printer/scanner, and tables, chairs, and couches. There is wifi in the building and it works well. There is also a terrace which is a nice place to hang out or do work. The program organizes lots of fun events and trips for the students, several of which are free of extra charge, excluding the 5-day trip to Morocco which costs extra but was totally worth it and totally amazing. The program hires college-age "orientadores" who also organize fun hang-out events where you can meet lots of young Spanish people and practice your Spanish. IES Granada also mathces each IES student (who wants to participate) with an "intercambio" from the University of Granada so that each pair can practice speaking in English and Spanish, and so that the IES student is facilitated in making young Spanish friends. Even so, it can be a challenge to make Spanish friends. It's easier when you don't just talk and hang out, but when you do an activity together like play sports or music together. I asked Patricia Molina, one of the IES Abroad activities directors, to help me find a band or Wind Ensemble I could join. She found one in a little pueblo called Armilla, just a short bus ride out of Granada. Playing in the band was super fun--I met a lot of cool Spanish people, got to practice Spanish, and got to play in several different parades and concerts. Through IES Granada, you can choose to live with a host family, in the "Residencia de estudiantes," or you can find your own housing (which I wouldn't recommend if you aren't confident in your Spanish). Personally, I decided to live with a host family. I had a big host family, which was great. I had a mom and a dad, a thirty-year-old brother who lived at home (which is common in Spain because of the ongoing economic crisis and unemployment), and one of my other host brothers who was in his forties had a wife, a two-year-old and a five-year-old. His family came over a lot, so it was all very lively in the house. I also had an IES Granada roommate. Some students had American roommates and others didn't. From the host family, we received breakfast and lunch, but were on our own for dinner. It was fun to have to figure out our own dinner because we figured out which places had the best but cheapest food, so we really got to know Granada very well. I had a wonderful experience with my host family--they were warm, welcoming, and interested in our lives and how we were doing. Another plus is that our host mom did our laundry once a week, which was really nice. Our house was about a 20-minute walk from the IES center. Granada is a walking city--you will rarely need to take a bus or taxi anywhere (unless it's late at night and you have to walk home alone, then it might be a good idea to get a taxi, although Granada is a pretty safe city). Our house had wifi which was great. I would definitely recommend bringing a laptop to Granada because the IES facility has limited hours, which means limited access to its computers and library. (The library is open Monday through Friday from like 8am to probably 9pm, except on Friday when it closes at 3pm.) IES Granada will require that you have a cell phone as a security precaution. You can either unlock and bring your current phone and use a Spanish SIM card, or buy a phone when you get to Spain. I bought a cheap Spanish phone which worked really well. I also brought my iPhone but had it on airplane mode the whole time so I could use the wifi to use apps like Snapchat and Whatsapp to communicate with people back in the states. (Side note: nearly all the Spaniards I met use whatsapp, so if you can figure out a way to use it in Spain, you should.) I also used Skype, email, and facebook to communicate with people back home. In terms of money, look up which Spanish banks are affiliated with your US bank. For example, Wells Fargo works really well with Santander in Spain, so I just used the Santander ATM to withdraw euros. Also, make sure to tell your bank you will be abroad and all the places you will possibly go so they don't cancel your card when they see the first transaction you try to make in Europe. Also, it might be a good idea to get a credit card with a Eurochip. A lot of places in Granada accept cards without Eurochips, though, probably because lots of tourists go to Granada. Before you leave, exchange a few hundred dollars to euros so that you're set for at least a little but in terms of money. Also, don't bring too much to Spain, because you will bring back lots of souvenirs and gifts. Overall, I had a great experience in Spain. The IES Granada program director, Javier Martínez de Velasco, does a great job, along with Natalia García Caballos and Patricia Molina. I definitely recommend this program!!