Our Reviews

Participant Reviews

Valuable experience with many academic opportunities

The program at M-CMRS is well organized to help students adapt and thrive in a new environment. During my semester at CMRS I found the challenge of the tutorial system to be fulfilling and exciting as I learned new skills in research methods, literary analysis, and in-depth note taking. The fast-paced format of the classes pushed my limits and helped me develop and become more comfortable with my writing process. The staff members at CMRS are very helpful and are dedicated to the success of each student. Their interest surpassed academic advisement and they were deeply aware of each student’s mental and physical wellness. The CMRS program is perfectly structured to enable students to experience all parts of Oxford student life. The location is right in the heart of Oxford and makes interaction with the greater population quite easy. Social events were frequent both within CMRS and at Keble and the other Oxford schools. I would recommend the CMRS program to anyone interested who is passionate about Medieval and literature studies as well as anyone interested in experiencing the Oxford system. Overall a very valuable experience.
Overall rating 
8
Experience
8
Program Administration
10
Living Conditions
8
Cultural Immersion
6
Social Life
6
Health and Safety
10

Simply put, if you want to learn French, this is the program for you

Best study abroad program in Paris, bar none, if you go intending to learn French. Though the honor code may seem like a pain in the ass, it's actually incredibly helpful in maintaining your French. Having met plenty of students from other programs, I feel pretty confident in saying that Midd's program is definitely the best of them all. They do a great job facilitating with the Parisian universities and I felt comfortable going to them with any of my possible needs. Was also able to do a great internship while I was abroad, which was an invaluable experience.
Overall rating 
8.7
Experience
10
Program Administration
8
Living Conditions
8
Cultural Immersion
10
Social Life
8
Health and Safety
8

Living in Spanish

GENERAL Middlebury's Language Pledge combined with studying at a Spanish University is optimal if your goal is to live, learn and connect in Spanish. You take a pledge to only speak Spanish during the duration of your study abroad experience. You take three classes at UC3M (the abbreviated name for Carlos III), and one intensive language course at "la sede" (Sede Prim - the Middlebury school in Madrid). I lived near Atocha station, the largest train station in Madrid that connects you to all lines of the Cercanias, the AVE, and a number of metro stops. My apartment was a 30-minute walk to the Middlebury School and a 5- to 10-minute walk to the train station that would take me to Getafe 3-4 days a week. I loved getting to know Spanish students in my classes. I took one first year course on 20th century history of Spain and two third year courses in sociology. The students in the first-year course were younger than me (18-19), and the age difference made it a bit difficult to connect, but many of them expressed to me that it was exciting to meet an American who could speak Spanish. I really connected with the students in my third year sociology courses. Many of them took both courses with me - one on family and gender in Spain and the other on society and the environment. We often did group projects together, and they really helped me improve my Spanish - from talking in person to chatting via What'sApp or speaking on the phone. We spent time together outside of class around the small town of Getafe and got together every so often in Madrid. The only downfall of this program was the commute. I didn't really enjoy having to split my time between Madrid and Getafe. Taking the train was a good way to get some reading in or finish up an assignment on the way to class, and there is a train that takes you to Getafe directly outside of the Middlebury School (extremely convenient!). I just had to get used to the train schedule. Having a 3- to 4-hour break between two classes on Tuesday or Thursday meant that I stayed on the campus and did homework (great for getting homework done), but sometimes I felt confined. There is a great gym on the UC3M campus, and many students paid for a membership so that they could work-out during a break before, after or between classes. I had one closer to my apartment that was cheaper though. I liked the fact that we had to take a language course at the Middlebury School. It is in the Chueca neighborhood, near many quaint cafés and great restaurants. It's just north of the center of the city, la Puerta del Sol, which is a great place for tourism. The language course helped me maintain my connection with the Middlebury headquarters, the other students at the Middlebury program, and all the resources and help offered by the amazing staff there. Patricia (the director) was extremely helpful in helping me select my coursework. Lena helped me with all things related to technology and my visa paperwork. Teruca (Teresa) was awesome with helping me navigate interesting social dynamics and helping me secure an internship for the spring. Marta was amazing in connecting me with all the different cultural activities and travel opportunities in the area (and really helped me improve my Spanish). Laura helped with housing and setting up the different Middlebury events for the program. I lived with four Spaniards - a guy from Valencia, a girl from the Basque Country, a guy from Italy (who spoke Spanish fluently and was doing his master's in Sports Journalism at UC3M), and a guy from Galicia. We called ourselves "la familia de la Charidad", a play on words (caridad = charity, and our landlady's name was Charo). The name speaks to the kindness and warmth that our landlady showed towards us, and the affection we had for the group living there. I was extremely lucky to live with these people. Laura had this apartment on her list from previous years. After seeing the apartment and meeting the tenants, 4 of us drew straws to see who got to live there, and I won. I highly encourage other students not to settle for an apartment without Spanish housemates. Ideally, if you want to learn Spanish, you will be living with people who only speak Spanish. My housemates were all older than me (26-32), and it was the perfect age range. We all really got along. It was vital for my connection to Spanish culture. I learned how to cook Spanish food and would cook meals and invite friends over often. My favorite resource through the Middlebury HQ was the language exchange (intercambio) program. I met up with a guy from Getafe once a week (we usually alternated between meeting in Getafe and Madrid), a girl who lived right down the street from me, and a girl from Majadahonda, a suburb of Madrid. I became really close with all three of them and still Skype with them every month or two. Having class with Spanish students at a Spanish university, participating in the language exchange program, and living with Spaniards were the most important factors that contributed to my linguistic growth in the Spanish language, but more than that, those were the lasting connections that made my experience unforgettable (and really hard to say goodbye). IMPROVEMENTS: The housing hunt was difficult because we were all staying in hotels or hostels until we found an apartment, and there weren't many apartments that were ideal. It is hard to find housing in Madrid, especially when it is really hot and you're navigating your way around a city you don't know yet with a group of Americans who are also somewhat lost. They had Spanish assistants that knew the area and helped us find the apartments, but it'd be great if the program could find a way to make a larger, more organized list of the housing options available a few days before all the students arrived. It was stressful because housing is such a crucial part of the experience and everyone wants the best place. A home-stay option is worth looking into. The Middlebury staff offers that option and has a list of people they have done home-shares with in the past. I'd say that idealista.com is your best friend, but never, ever sign a contract until you've seen the apartment in person!!
Overall rating 
10
Experience
10
Program Administration
10
Living Conditions
10
Cultural Immersion
10
Social Life
10
Health and Safety
10
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