IES Abroad Granada - Study in Granada

Video and Photos

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 67 reviews
  • Academics 8.1
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.4
  • Housing 9.6
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 46 - 60 of 67
Default avatar
Kate
10/10

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.

How can this program be improved?
It would be great if the program was a little longer! I could have stayed and explored for at least another month.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Jenna
9/10

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!!

How can this program be improved?
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.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
S.mack
10/10

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!

How can this program be improved?
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.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Catherine
10/10

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.

How can this program be improved?
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.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Justice
10/10

Living in Granada Spain

An amazing experience. The teachers at IES were incredible people and always supportive. We learned Spanish that was used in everyday life in Granada and lived with host families. I loved my host mother who cooked gluten free food for me and I felt safe and comfortable in this beautiful walking city. There's a stunning view of La Alhambra from the windows of IES. I had fascinating classes and also had an internship with a local flamenco dance studio. We learned how to work in a Spanish work environment and write resumes in Spanish. I learned so much and am so grateful, I highly recommend this!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Hannah
10/10

Best Semester of My Life

IES Abroad Granada is a pretty incredible program! A daily routine consists of walking to school (there is very little public transportation in Granada, but the city is very walkable. In addition, it's beautiful and full of history, so every walk is a new adventure!) You will attend class almost every day with the IES professors, who are all amazing, and many are professors at the Universidad de Granada. You'll go home for lunch with your host family who will have cooked a fairly large meal (lunch in Spain is like dinner in the US). You will likely take a nap and then maybe head back to the IES center. Afterwards, you might run errands or do schoolwork. At night, you will go out to dinner with your friends (8 at the earliest, but usually around 9 or 10) for tapas! You'll order drinks (sangria!) and they'll bring you small plates of food with your drinks!

How can this program be improved?
The schoolwork for the program is really backloaded, which is hard because you get used to having tons of time to yourself to travel and explore the city, and then at the end of the program you have something like 40 pages of writing due (in Spanish) and 5 finals. It's difficult and it kind of sours the end of the program, but I think that's due to how education is generally set up in Spain.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Julia
10/10

Four Unbelievable Months

My time in Granada was nothing short of extraordinary, all thanks to the amazing IES staff and professors, my incredible welcoming and loving host family, the wonderful new friends I was able to meet along the way, and the enchanting city I can now call my second home. IES Granada is organized, energetic, fun, and passionately dedicated to creating the best possible cultural experiences for their students. They did a fantastic job all-around, from matching me with the best host family and "Intercambio" student from the University of Granada, to helping me choose the right classes and activities, to setting up excursions and informal outings to introduce us to the beautiful city and its unique culture.

I especially loved my Lorca Literature class, in which we learned all about the revered poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca who grew up not far from Granada, and my Islamic Art and Architecture class. We got to explore the city's most historic buildings, including the breathtaking Alhambra, which casually sits on a hill overlooking the entire city. I loved cafe con leche and huge family lunches, singing karaoke with my host brother, listening to and admiring my host mom's stories, getting (free) tapas with my new Spanish friends, and even getting to perform in a local band. IES made it all possible... I highly, HIGHLY, recommend this sensational program.

How can this program be improved?
I would have liked to be paired with a student from the University of Granada a lot sooner. I didn't get matched with my "intercambio" until about halfway through the semester, because I was in the highest level language class and the lower level classes got matched first. I think a lottery system for being matched in the Intercambio program would be more fair.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Meghan
10/10

Part of My Heart is in Granada

Studying abroad in Granada, Spain with IES was a phenomenal, life changing, eye opening, opportunity providing experience that causes you to grow into a better, independent, more aware, and educated citizen of this world we live in. This is what my life reflects now that I have returned home. My time in Granada provided me with a variety of experiences - learning how to make travel plans, communicating solely in Spanish, using public transportation, meeting people from all over the world, and more - that enriched my life.

Granada is home to La Alhambra, el Sacromonte, el Albaizin, amazing Spanish people, beautiful vistas, extraordinary food, marvelous music, and vivacious life. IES Granada supported my interests in the Spanish language, had weekend trips all over southern Spain, provided an amazing host family, and the staff was there for me throughout my entire experience. The staff truly cares about each individual on the program and is there to be a resource and support you in any way necessary.

The program is also tailored to the group of individuals who come and their interests. There were many hiking trips organized during my program because that was something my group was passionate about. The hiking was phenomenal! There were also different workshops available for students including a cooking workshop and a leather workshop. They were both very fun and didn't cost any extra money!

My experience in Granada was phenomenal and I strongly recommend studying abroad with IES.

How can this program be improved?
If I could change one thing I would make sure every student was individually placed in a host family. When there are roommates from the U.S. it is very easy to fall back into speaking English. However, some people feel more comfortable having a roommate and it is hard to find enough families for each student to be individually placed.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Annie
10/10

Really think about what you want from your city

Granada is a wonderful city to study abroad in, because it is a university city. This means that there are a bunch of other young students, from all over the world. It is still small enough however, that you won't get swallowed up as in the large metropolises.
Granada has an incredible history: it was the last Muslim stronghold in Spain. IES classes do a really good job of incorporating the history in our classes through direct field trips around the city.
Granada is a city that is overflowing with art. There are so many different types of art (but especially music and performances) and so many opportunities to become a part Granada's art.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Nina
10/10

A Semester in Granada: Learning - Loving - Thriving!

My semester abroad in Granada is something I will remember forever. My courses encouraged deep knowledge and love of the city and my professors were incredibly passionate about their subjects. Walking to the IES center every day was not always the best fun (especially in the rain when I forgot to pack rainboots!), but with every foot the city became more like home. A definite highlight was the trip to Morocco, where I was pushed far out of my comfort zone and from that was able to gain understanding of other ways of life. My biggest difficulty was trying to befriend local students in Granada, which was hard to do even with the help of the Intercambio program. However overall, I could not have chosen a better way to spend my time abroad! Granada is a magical city that will inspire you to say "No pasa nada!" and teach you to truly embrace life in all its little moments.

How can this program be improved?
Another way to better integrate IES students with the students at UGR. Though the intercambio program was helpful, it only allowed for a limited entrance into the local student culture/life.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Jamila
9/10

Go to Granada, it's a must!

Studying abroad in this beautiful, multi-influential city was the best decision I ever made in my college career. Granada is a small city, but the people, the culture, and events made up for it and made it feel bigger. The city is vastly influenced on Islamic culture, but had influences of Jewish, and Christianity. Take advantage of the free tapas that come along with your drinks! The food is amazing there, my recommendation is get cafe con leche and napolitana from bakeries. You must try a shwarma at least once there. Since there's a university in the city, there's a lot of international students. Even though it was a small city, I walked around everyday with my friends, finding new places.

Program provided excellent classes that require active participation, along with class trips where we see what we are learning. I had multiple trips to the majestic Alhambra and other places around the city and saw a lot theater shows. The field trips of the program was the best part, my favorite was going to Sevilla, Morocco, Cabo de Gata (beach trip). Morocco is optional but I recommend it, it was great experience of meeting and really getting to know students the same age as us and families and getting a better understanding of their views in an Islamic Country.

IES Staff were very helpful and supportive, they always posted events such as festivals, concerts and shows that was happening in town. They help you with anything to the best of their abilities, for example, going to the pharmacy to help get your medicine and so much more. The staff is very supportive and I'm very thankful for that. They also create events to get more involved in the city and also with spanish students.

I lived a 30 minute walk away from the center, which was annoying because I lived far away from everything. However, my host mom was amazing. Took me a while to get comfortable but her hospitality, sense of humor and how helpful she was with my spanish and how supportive she was made things better. In general, the locals were nice and helpful, especially when you are lost. I recommend, speaking as much spanish as possible!

How can this program be improved?
Better organization of the sections, such as it was hard to fit certain classes because the sections were close to each other. More involvement with Spanish students
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Emily
10/10

An Amazing Program and Place

To be completely honest, before leaving for Granada I wasn't sure how I felt about studying abroad. I had heard great things about the program, but I was terrified to leave the comforts of my home college go to a place I'd never been to before. It turned out that parts of studying abroad were scary, like when I got lost in the city walking back from class, or frustrating, when I couldn't think of the right Spanish words to communicate with my host family. But overall studying abroad was an extremely rewarding experience. I was worried before about living and fitting in with my host family, but the people in my host family were some of the nicest and most laid-back people I had ever met.They answered all of my questions and cooked some of the best food I've ever eaten. The teachers at IES were smart, enthusiastic, and fun to talk to about any topic. I felt my Spanish getting better all the time. I loved being able to buy pastries filled with chocolate on the way home from class, or going out to tapas bars and getting wine and food for two euros. I've been back in the United States for about five months, but I still think about and miss Granada all of the time. I hope I can go back some day soon.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Tess
10/10

Amazing program

I absolutely loved my experience with IES Abroad Granada. My homestay was fantastic--my host mother was kind, welcoming, and made me feel instantly at home. I lived a 20 minute walk from my abroad center, which while at first seemed daunting, became one of my favorite parts of my day as I got to know all the vendors and people on the way to school that I would say hi to in the morning and chat with on the way home. The people in Granada were incredibly kind and helpful and very helpful and patient with my spanish.

Going out to dinner every night was also incredible. I love the "free tapas" culture of Granada -- it made eating out every night very affordable and also forced me to try new foods almost every day, which was fun. I also loved the open and relaxed atmosphere of dinner every night because it meant meeting tons of people all the time.

My only complaint (which I partially resolved) was that I quickly grew bored with the clubbing scene. Granada isn't an enormous town, and so nightlight can get a little stale. I tried to get around this by going to different tapas places and not going to clubs very often, but if you're looking for a wild and constantly changing partying scene, a bigger city might better suit your tastes.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Jesscat
10/10

El que no ha visto Granada no ha visto nada

I walked to school every morning from my home stay to the IES center through the busy streets of Granada. I got to see the majestic and beauty that is the Alhambra multiple times and explored the streets in the Albayzín, embracing the Islamic influences and culture. I ate amazing food with my host mom, enjoyed tapas throughout the city, made lasting friendships and learned so much. I could not have pictured a more incredible experience.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Lucas
10/10

Can't Beat the Beauty In Granada

My time in Granada was simply amazing. Everything in my environment was brand new, the sights, sounds, and even the smells. It was overwhelming at first, however, refreshing and invigorating too. I stayed with a host family and though speaking only in Spanish was rough off the bat, as the weeks passed I quickly improved. I took a diverse group of classes in Spanish that allowed me to gain understanding of the local culture: Islamic Art, Flamenco, a literature class, and a Spanish language class. In the art class we visited various important sites such as the Great Mosque in Cordoba and a three-part specialized tour through the Alhambra. The program's trip to Morocco stands out as one of the experiences I'm most appreciative of. I spent four days in the country and stayed with a local family. The memories I made there are so vivid because I had never been anywhere remotely like it before. My time in Morocco was just a cherry on top of an amazing semester filled with beauty, wonder, and encounters with the other.

I'm still in awe of all that happened during my time abraod that even now it's hard to process it all. I got to visit five different countries, spend time in sixteen different cities, and meet hundreds of new people. I played futbol with Spaniards and shared some great nights at the discotecas with my intercambio. I'm really glad I did the IES program in Granada.

How can this program be improved?
More time there.
Yes, I recommend

Interviews

About IES Abroad

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...