An Experience of a Lifetime Past Review

By (Spanish Language, Literature, University of Southern Indiana) - abroad from 08/27/2015 to 11/21/2015 with

CEA: Alicante, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I wouldn't give up my study abroad experience in Alicante for anything in the world. Despite the horrendous preparation, paperwork, and stress both before and after, my semester abroad was well worth the tedious tasks that accompany it. Not only did I improve my language skills, but I was able to experience and immerse myself in a culture halfway across the world. I now have a home away from home with my family in Spain. I have become more independent and willing to try new things. And of course, I have made friends that will last a lifetime.

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.

The educational experience offered by the University of Alicante was truly amazing. The classes that I took were organized into four week courses based on Spanish ability. Once you completed one level, you simply moved up to the next level in the next four week course. The professors that gave each class were very hands on and willing to help . They explained each topic as thoroughly as necessary and made conversation a priority in the classroom. At times the material was challenging, especially material I had never been exposed to before. However, the professors took sufficient time to go back and review topics that might aid in the understanding of the new topic and did not move on to the next until they felt the class had a good grasp on the new material. Obviously, while in the classroom I learned. The professors, however, had a way of conducting class which made the three hours each day fun, rather than something I dreaded.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The on-site administration in Alicante, Spain was more than I ever could have expected. Alvaro, our on-site advisor while in Alicante, was very good about providing all the information necessary so that we may be able to be independent and live comfortably during our time in Alicante. By the end, we all felt more like a family than as a group of students with an advisor.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I chose to live in a "homestay" while abroad. Although initially my experience with a family was not what I originally had expected. I would not have it any other way. I believe it was my best source of learning the language while abroad.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

During my time in Alicante, I had to visit the doctor. There was one located right on campus, and it was free to all students. Although if it hadn't been, CEA provides an insurance plan during the program dates. I was able to see the doctor without wait, and he prescribed me a medication which I easily picked up in one of the local pharmacies.

* Safety:

When in Alicante, there was not a time when I felt unsafe. Although, in the same regard, I tried to put myself in situations which would not foster an disagreeable situation. Even when I had to walk home alone at night, safety was never an issue. I will say, however, that pickpockets were something that needed to be looked out for. I never heard of any cases involving violence, but keeping your things close and paying attention to those around you was definitely a necessity.

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 lived with a host family, so all of my meals were included. However, life out in the street is something very prevalent in Spain. Entire families are out and about until late even during the week. To be honest, the amount of money one spends depends on the person. Eating out and going out in Alicante can be very inexpensive if you watch what you're spending and how often you spend money. There are usually specials during the week at different restaurants and bars as well.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $150


* 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

Because the program invited students of all language levels, it was not a necessity to speak in Spanish due to the medley of abilities in our group. Our program director spoke in both Spanish and English during group events but encouraged us all to speak in Spanish regardless our ability.

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? Advanced Spanish I
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? I would definitely advise that students read articles or books as well as watch a TV series or movies in Spanish. Doing this definitely helped me expand my vocabulary and learn colloquial phrases.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • 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?
  • The administration
  • The included excursions and activities/reduced prices for ones with the university
  • Weekly, Alvaro sent us updates on different activities we could participate in
* What could be improved?
  • Stronger requirement to speak Spanish
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish that I would have known beforehand that I would not be able to get a student visa, because the program lasted less than 90 days. Because of this, I was not able to travel after my program end date as I had expected.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!