Learn, Plan, Go With The Flow. Past Review

By (Indiana University - Bloomington) - abroad from 01/11/2016 to 05/06/2016 with

CIEE: Seville - Business + Society

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained everything from this study abroad. I learned who I was, what I wanted out of life, and to take advantage of my time.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The academic rigor was intense as the courses were administrated in Spanish- therefore, the high rating is deserving for non-native Spanish speakers. However, the actual material covered is average; I had seen all material previously in my University classes. Side note: for American students that are not used to the Spanish grading system, the apparent academic intensity seems further exacerbated due to the odd grade scale. it can be especially frustrating to receive only a 'B+' or an 'A-' and not ever see an 'A+' even though your effort level remains the same.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host mom was accommodating; but, she seemed cold and distant in comparison to my other study abroad experiences. As a single mother whose boys were both 24 and 29, it was clear that she was only hosting me as a supplemental income and not for the joy of teaching a foreign student a new way of life, a different language, and an exciting culture.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

As a American-Latina, I felt right at home. I easily made Spanish friends and felt comfortable in Sevilla from day one.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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

The Sevilla program is unique and absolutely special. It allows students to practice their Spanish skills in a historic, beautiful city that makes Spanish feel homey and welcoming. Though I considered the Barcelona program, I'm 100% happy that I selected the Sevilla program; I felt that the people were kind wherever I went, I could engage with locals with a little less caution, and the city wasn't so international that I gave myself an out to only speak in English. I was forced to use my Spanish. I learned and grew because of it!


* 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)

(Rating: 3) For the experiences I was searching for-- traveling to different countries and experiencing the local culture-- I was extremely frugal compared to my friends during my time abroad. Though I did indulge here or there, I ensured that I stuck to a minimal budget. My score was a 3 as I gave myself a budget of $3,500 for my January to May, semester-long program. This included traveling to 11 different countries, paying for hostels, and paying to go out to discotecs 1 of 2 a month. Disclaimer, as I lived with a host mom and took advantage of her cooking me lunch/dinner and eating fruit for breakfast, if I did pay for food it was only dinner and that was only 1 or 2 a week.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $3,500 / 17 weeks = $200 a week.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Yes. Buy your plane tickets early. Eat dinner with your host parents when they offer. Don't go clubbing every week. Pack snacks any where you go.


* 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

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 4th semester Spanish at my University
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? Listen to Spanish music with the lyrics in front of you. Remembering and advancing your vocabulary is so much easier with a song to attach things too. If you don't know the lyrics in the song-- look it up! This will get your ear accustomed to hearing a different language, differentiating new sounds and accents as well as give you a conversation topic to discuss with your new acquaintances.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
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 quaint city
  • The inexpensive food options
  • The quality CIEE staff who made you feel like they cared
* What could be improved?
  • The host family selection; please find people who are excited to host students
  • The course rigor
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I'm happy with what I knew before entering the program. I did my due diligence and a little bit of research prior to going.

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.