Alicante: My home away from home Past Review

By (Spanish Language, Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville) - abroad from 09/12/2011 to 12/24/2012 with

CEA: Alicante, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
First, I became nearly fluent in Spanish, which was very beneficial to my Spanish degree. I also just grew as a person in general. Studying abroad helped me gain independence, problem solving skills, cultural knowledge, and a new network of people.

Review Photos

CEA Global Education: Alicante, Spain Photo CEA Global Education: Alicante, Spain Photo CEA Global Education: Alicante, Spain Photo CEA Global Education: Alicante, Spain Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I was in the Spanish Language and Literature Program at the University of Alicante. I absolutely loved the classes and teachers. I was on campus with all of the Spanish students, but took classes with other international students. I loved feeling like you were part of the Spanish culture while still getting the intimate setting of learning the language as a foreigner. My intensive grammar course was three hours long Monday through Friday, and then my conversation class was an hour long right after the grammar class. The teachers were excellent at going at a doable pace and giving one on one help. My writing, reading, and speaking skills all improved ten fold. I liked that the teachers not only taught grammar, but incorporated it into a practical, everyday use so that we were all experiencing on a daily basis outside of the classroom. It was a very integrated experience.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

CEA was helpful every step of the way. Our site director, Alvaro, was available every second of the day, even if it was a simple question. They did a really good job of getting us acquainted with the city and its people. Alvaro was really knowledgeable about the area and gave great advice about anything and everything. He helped us set up a few travel opportunities and really let us into his own personal life. I have nothing but great things to say about the program.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in an apartment with one other American. It was way nicer than what I expected. We were about a five minute walk from the beach. It was a very secure and safe area, and I loved having my own room.

* Food:

jamón iberca was EVERYWHERE. I loved the idea of fresh food and going to the grocery store on a daily basis. I love the traditional Spanish dishes and all of the fresh fish, and especially the café con leche. The Spanish cuisine is probably what I miss the most after coming back.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Alicante was such a quaint, homey city. It really became my home away from home. The people are very friendly and willing to help and make you feel like you are one of them.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Healthcare is cheap and accessible in Europe. I went to the health facility on campus and they gave me everything I needed. It was definitely a different system from the US in that the doctors don't take forever to get to you.

* Safety:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

I traveled nearly every weekend, so budgeting wasn't the easiest thing. However, if i had stayed in Alicante, my trip would have been very affordable. In Alicante, the cost of living is really low in compared to other cities in Europe.

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? No


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

I was told not to speak English at all. It really forced me to learn the language.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Spanish 301
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Immerse yourself. Make native friends. Don't resort to your native language.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Location
  • University
  • Food
* What could be improved?
  • Truly, nothing
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Pack half of what you think you should. You will buy a lot there.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.