Alicante: A Life-Changing Experience with New Friendships Abroad and a New Country to Call Home Past Review

By (Biochemistry, University of Washington) for

CIEE: Alicante - Summer Language and Culture

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Absolutely. I look at Spain like it is my other home. I cannot wait to return and visit my host family. The Spanish culture is fascinating and I miss it daily.

Review Photos

CIEE: Alicante - Summer Language and Culture Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The workload was fair; an even amount of studying and an even amount of play. Most of the work load was concentrated during the four hours of class every day so we were able to enjoy the rest of the day and night at the beach and out with friends. The grading system was a little bit more difficult, but just make sure you keep up. The interaction between professor and student is usually more formal in Spain, but after the first week or so, the professor and student relationship was a bit more comfortable.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The entire staff at CIEE Alicante was amazing. They knew everything you could possibly want to know about the city and they were very welcoming and helpful. It was a young staff, so they were easy to relate to. My expectations were met and exceeded. I loved every aspect of this program.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Everything was provided that you could need. My family was perfect; everything I had imagined in a host family.

* Food:

I am pescatarian and they provided all of the things I like and can eat.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We arrived a week before a big week-long festival which we did not have school for a few days due to the extent of this festival--that was maybe one of my greatest memories from abroad and for life. Most weeks we had optional trips to surrounding areas or activities to do in the city. We took a day trip to two cities on the outskirts of Alicante--a beach town and a town in the mountains; we did wine tasting; we were able to take a cooking class and a dance class; we also took a weekend trip to Granada. Many activities offered through the program and the university itself; always things to do.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Healthcare was provided and easily accessible through the staff and university; I personally did not have any health issues while there, but there is definitely accessible facilities. Safety was stressed greatly by the program; it was pretty standard though--walk in pairs especially after midnight and keep your belongings close to you to avoid theft.

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?

We practiced language with the professor and the other students in class, with our host families, with locals, and with student helpers who were local and also attended the Universidad de Alicante. You absolutely had to use the host country language in everyday interactions to communicate and immerse yourself in the culture. Most people did not speak English.

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?
  • Host family
  • New friends back in the US
  • Culture
* What could be improved?
  • Nothing.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? A student open to new experiences is best fit. Living with a host family can be intimidating, but it was one of the best experiences I have ever had. Be open to new people, to new ways of life, and try things you would never do in the US.