Summer Getaway: Alcala de Henares, Spain Past Review

By (Spanish, Anthropology, Indiana University - Bloomington) for

CIEE: Alcala - Summer Language & Culture

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes, overall it was a good experience. Although I was not completely satisfied with the living situation or the interaction with local students, I still learned a lot and improved my Spanish.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

There was a lot of reading each night. So, that paired with my location on the outside of the city made it hard for me to do anything during the week (such as eat tapas on a Wednesday.) The workload was not too much to handle, but it was more than I had anticipated.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The CIEE staff were very organized and knowledgeable.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The housing situation was awkward for me. The couple I stayed with was very nice. They were both quiet and conservative. I never felt truly comfortable in their house. I liked that it gave me a time to practice my Spanish, but I did not like feeling like a guest in their home for a month.

* Food:

The food was decent. I like to cook, so I did not love that the Spanish mother cooked for me every night, without consulting me first. It would have been nice to be asked before she just put something in front of me. But I did not have any dietary problems.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

CIEE took us on a weekend trip to Valencia, which was great.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

It seemed like CIEE knew what to do in an emergency type situation. We did not have anything like that happen in our group.

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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I occasionally practiced with other Americans in the program. I also practiced with my host family and any other Spaniards I came across.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • weekend & day trips
* What could be improved?
  • living arrangments/ communcation between student and family of the home stay
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Make sure you are ready to be very flexible. Also, try to get to know some locals. It is easy to get sucked into just hanging out with the other American students, but practicing your Spanish with kids your age is the best way to learn.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Cervantes y su obra

Course Department:
Instruction Language:
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