IES Abroad Granada – Study in Granada

Video and Photos

View of the city at sunset
View of the city at sunset
Alhambra's Palacio
Alhambra's Palacio
My friends and I during the field trip to Morocco!
My friends and I during the field trip to Morocco!
Studying practical applications of the local art and architecture.
Studying practical applications of the local art and architecture.
We visited a mini-theater performance.
We visited a mini-theater performance.
One of our professors took us out for ice cream.
One of our professors took us out for ice cream.
A group of us went on a hike in the foothills of Sierra Nevada.
A group of us went on a hike in the foothills of Sierra Nevada.
A beautiful view of the Alhambra in the spring.
A beautiful view of the Alhambra in the spring.

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.

Scholarships

IES Abroad Scholarships
IES Abroad Scholarships and Financial Aid

As far as we're concerned, financial limitations shouldn't prevent you from studying abroad with us. That's why we offer more than $5 million in scholarships and aid.

Value
$500 - $5,000

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 78 reviews
  • Academics 8.2
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.5
  • Housing 9.6
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 46 - 60 of 78
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N.
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

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Chloe
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

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Emma
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

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Peter
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
Integrating the classes with other programs (other programs use a joint building which increases socialization)
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G.
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

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Katie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Granada, la ciudad de no pasa nada

The IES Granada program is very tailored to the American student. It provides many ways to immerse yourself in the city of Granada. You can attend a wine tasting and olive oil tasting, go hiking, bike-riding, or skiing in the Sierra Morena Mountains. The nightlife in Granada is lively with young people from Spain and all over Europe. The IES program is one of many study abroad programs in Granada. They have their own "school" located in a building in one of the main plazas. I was not particularly fond of the academics. The classes were 1.5 hours Monday-Thursday. Most did not require much homework but all classes had a midterm, a final paper or project and a final exam. Most classes are in Spanish and are taught by professors from the University of Granada. You can choose to take a class at the University or do an internship, which I recommend. I met many of my Spanish friends through my class at the university and found it interesting to see how the Spanish university system works. The IES program also plans many weekend trips to see other cities of Andalusia and a trip to Morocco. The trips were very well planned with lots of things to do and free time as well. The IES Granada faculty are so helpful and understanding and they make your comfort and security their top priority. It is a very much "hand-holding" program in which they help and arrange things for you in any way they can. I loved Granada and I was very happy with my experience!

What would you improve about this program?
Provide the option to live in an apartment. The homestays are nice but I very quickly realized I missed having the freedom to have friends and guests over and cook my own food. It would be nice to live in a homestay for the 1st month and then transfer to an apartment once you are familiar with the people in your program and the city.
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RM
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Go to Granada!

When I reflect back on my time in Granada I am nostalgic for the free tapas, the laid-back people, the beautiful mountains and the stunning Alhambra. My routine in Granada was so different from the fast paced life of college in the States. The long lunches with my host mom and roommate in the middle of the day followed by some downtime during siesta allowed me to appreciate each day and relax before continuing classes or heading out for tapas with a friend. IES Granada is a great program. The staff and professors are all very friendly and very eager to help you get to know Granada and the Spanish people. One of my favorite things about the IES Granada program was the trip to Morocco which was lead seamlessly by Moroccan guides and IES staff. Morocco was truly a special experience, as was Granada. Thank you IES for a great semester!

What would you improve about this program?
I would encourage the students to speak more Spanish rather than English with each other. Also, allowing Spanish students to take classes at the center would be a great way to increase cultural exchange.
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Carley
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Time of my Life

I had the privilege of studying in Granada, Spain las semester and it was incredible! I would recommend this IES program to any student looking to study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country. I would argue that Granada is one of the most ideal places to study abroad. Fore me, the size of the city is ideal as it is not as large as a place like Madrid, but big enough for you never to get bored. The people there are all so friendly and welcoming as well and there is also a large population of students. And don't forget the free tapas! This provided for a unique and fun social culture, and allows you to stay on a college student's budget. Without a doubt, I fell in love with the city and it will always have a special place in my heart. I can definitely say it was the time of my life. The IES staff were a crucial factor in making my experience what ti was as well. They fostered an environment that allowed me to grow and learn in and outside of the classroom. There are a variety of classes to choose from and many allowed me to gain a thorough understanding of the culture and history of Granada. They also plan a lot of exciting field trips both in and around Spain, which were all so memorable. I will be forever grateful for IES, as I don't think I would have had the experience I did without them.

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Callie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The best semester of my life

I had the time of my life in Granada. From the super friend IES staff to my wonderful host family to the lifelong friends I made, I would recommend IES Abroad Granada to everyone interesting in studying abroad.

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Jimmy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Ya te extraño, Granada.

I would wholeheartedly recommend IES Granada to anyone even remotely considering studying abroad. The program is very focused on meeting its students' requests and providing the best experience possible. To outline a few instances....
•As I had signed up to stay with a host family, I was paired with a host mother and host sister that live in an apartment ten minutes away from the IES building.
•I didn't do very well on the written portion of my Spanish language entry exam, but the staff was very responsive in making sure I was placed in a class that reflected my true level of Spanish speaking/writing/listening.
•One night I returned home around midnight after having had a tiny hiking accident. Once my mom noticed my scratched face and crippled gait, she called the program staff member on duty that night and asked her to escort me to the hospital. Within fifteen minutes, she was at our doorstep to help me down the stairs into the taxi. She waited with me for about an hour until the doctors were finished with my MRI, then she brought me home. It was so nice to have her with me--I'm so glad I didn't have to deal with that hospital visit on my own.

One of the more annoying parts about returning to school has been that some people want me to condense my entire experience abroad to a thirty second conversation. I simply can't do that. I treat those people to some friendly chatter, smile a bit, then wrap it up by saying something like, "Yeah, definitely a pretty cool experience!" But then there are others that want to hear more. I've found some people who've travelled, or studied abroad themselves, or are considering studying abroad in the future, that earnestly want to hear about my Argentine host mother who devoted nearly all of our two hour sobremesas to converting me to Catholicism.....and how I took an Islamic Art and Architecture course that offered four guided visits to the Alhambra and one to the Great Mosque of Cordoba, both of which (I remain steadfast) stand as two of the most beautiful pieces of architectural mastery one can ever hope to see.....and that I got hitched with a group of musicians from my program, and that we jammed with locals in the Andalusian courtyards as the sounds and heat of Granada's nightlife pulsed around us....and how we became buddies with the owner of an adorable hole-in-the-wall crepe shop called La Creperie, and how his rotund, cheery face and bulgy French belly always welcomed us with free crepes and delicious imported beer. I've talked to some friends that have even given me enough time to explain that I missed the morning bus for our trip to Morocco and, with the periodic help of the IES staff, managed to find my way to Tangier alone.
Now that I'm "home," I can't help but tear up as I think about my host mom, tapas, Javier (the IES program director), La Qarmita (a friendly cafe in town with a very personal waiting staff), the view of La Alhambra from El Mirador de San Nicolas, hiking in Las Alpujarras, and my friends and how we spent three and a half beautiful months actually living a dream.

What would you improve about this program?
I would've liked to've been able to meet more Spaniards my age earlier in my stay in Granada. Instead of pairing each IES student with a student from the University of Granada, I think a mixer with IES students and volunteers from the University might work better. The relationship I formed with my exchange student didn't seem very genuine, whereas the relationships I made with people I met on my own accord (on the streets, in cafes, at tapas bars) did and continue to, as we're still in contact!
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Maya
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Granada, te amo!

"Dale limosna, mujer, que no hay en la vida nada como la pena de ser ciego en Granada." -Francisco de Icaza

The quote above is not only very telling of the city of Granada, but also of my own personal experience there. Granada was an incredible environment for studying abroad; it offers the best of so many worlds. The Andalusians and other Spaniards I met in Granada were kind and open people, the popularity of UGR brought international students from all around the world to the city, the night culture is very lively while also very safe, the city center plus the surrounding neighborhoods offer a diverse urban environment not only in terms of people but also in terms of places and things to do, IES home-stay mothers/families are chose selectively, very accommodating and a huge part of your cultural immersion, IES provides a wide range of courses and work hard to help create the right schedule for you, IES also organizes numerous field trips within Granada but also to other cities in Spain, and the list goes on and on! The best part of the experience, hand down, was the people I met and built lasting relationships with, this not only include the faculty and staff at IES and the amazing group of American students this particular program attracted, but also the Spaniards, Europeans and other foreigners the city brought together in one place. I can't exactly put my finger on it but Granada has this special energy that, like I said before, fosters a very stimulating study abroad experience. I can genuinely say that I had the time of my life studying abroad in Granada with IES. The city has become a home away from home; I fell in love with the history, the people, the lifestyle, the culture and so much more. I have and will continue to recommend this program to anyone and everyone I talk to about studying abroad.

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Kate
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Ready to go back now...

My experience in Granada was much more transformative than I had ever expected. I grew more, learned more spanish, made more mistakes, and made many, many more lifelong, remarkable relationships and experiences than I had ever expected. Going to Spain, I knew that living in a completely new country would change me in some way, but I never could have imagined to what extent. I became a much more independent and adventurous person, and Granada was the perfect place to develop these characteristics. I grew attached to the city, and by the end it was really hard for me and the rest of my program to leave. The hilly, close-knit barrios, incredible views of the 13th century Alhambra fortress, historic buildings, and snowy Sierra Nevada mountains on the horizon make up an amazing setting in which to live, study, and explore. The endless tapas restaurants, quaint cafes, hiking trails, sports fields, schools, museums, and theaters provide a multitude of activities to constantly entertain oneself. However, I believe that it was the people that truly made my abroad experience in Granada so wonderful. I was surrounded by a friendly, open community who were willing to help me with anything, but also willing to push me out of my comfort zone. Granada was the perfect place for me to spend the semester abroad, and I would recommend it to any student looking for a unique, adventurous, fascinating abroad experience.

What would you improve about this program?
It would be great if the program was a little longer! I could have stayed and explored for at least another month.
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Jenna
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

IES Granada (Fall 2014)

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!!

What would you improve about this program?
I felt that I was placed into the wrong level of Spanish class. I would like them to improve how they evaluate and choose individuals' levels of Spanish class. Also, the caretaker of the building was usually polite, but sometimes he could get pretty nosy and rude.
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S.mack
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Lots of pomegranates

Granada was the perfect place to study abroad. The city is just big enough that there is always something to do, and yet I was never overwhelmed by its size. There are not very many people in the city who speak English, and so along with my Spanish classes of course, I felt that simply living in the city significantly increased my level of Spanish. The IES program staff and professors were all truly wonderful, and they placed me with a family that I know I will stay in touch with for many years to come. Some of my favorite moments from the semester were the afternoon teas that I shared with my "mama española". Every afternoon during the daily siesta time we would chat or simply spend quiet time together doing our own thing. When I wasn't drinking tea, or spending time in our beautiful IES building, I was exploring the city. There are a million tiny cafeterias and coffe shops to be found, some good and some not so good, but all worth trying. I wholeheartedly recommend this program to any and everyone!

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing I can think of is that I wish it would have been a little bit longer! 3.5 months didn't seem like quite enough time.
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Catherine
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My new favorite city: Granada

I studied in Granada, Spain in the Fall. In an average day I ate lunch with my host family, went to class, explored Granada, and had tapas with my friends. The hardest part was the language barrier though my favorite part was how much my Spanish improved.

What would you improve about this program?
I would have liked to had more opportunities to meet native Spanish students. I only really got to get to know my fellow IES American classmates and spoke English more than I should have.