An eye opening and unforgettable experience Past Review

By (The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 01/08/2014 to 05/23/2014 with

CIEE: Seville - International Business & Culture

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained more independence through my travel experience. I gained confidence in my Spanish speaking abilities. I also learned so much about not only the Spanish culture, but also about the cultures of other places that I visited throughout my semester (Italy, Portugal, France, Scotland, England, Morocco, etc.). It was the most worthwhile experience I have had thus far and I thoroughly intent on returning to Europe to not only revisit Sevilla, but to also explore new cities I didn't get the chance to see.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

While the Spanish classes at University of Pablo Olavide weren't exactly the most challenging, the regular classes (history for me) were very challenging and taught me a lot about the country I was spending so much time in. The intense Spanish class that CIEE starts students with was also exceptionally helpful! I learned so much Spanish in just those two weeks.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved my host family so much. They were pros at having exchange students living with them and always made me feel at home.

* Food:

Spanish food is amazing! I definitely put on a few pounds in Spain, but it was worth it.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The nice thing about Sevilla is you can't really ignore the culture aspects of it. You are constantly around people who don't really speak English and you have to assimilate to their "siesta" way of life in the middle of the afternoon. And while it's a little frustrating that you can't shop on Sundays, the experience was really eye opening and makes you appreciate their relaxed way of life. People are never in a rush! You also get exposed to their traditions and cultures through the two festivals they have in the spring.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

N/A for me, but my other friends had a little bit of trouble just because of the language barrier.

* Safety:

I never felt at risk while I was in Sevilla. The whole city stays up so late because of their culture so you can walk back to your house at three in the morning and there are still people on the streets. You never feel like you are alone. The whistling and cat calling from the men was hard to get used to at first, but they are harmless. I realized I felt more scared when I got back home in the states then I ever did in Sevilla.

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)

There were ups and downs throughout my semester there. At times it felt like I didn't spend anything at all because all my meals were provided for me by my host family, but when I started traveling it became harder to stay on budget, especially when I went to the United Kingdom. But, it's fairly easy to stay on budget while in Sevilla because things aren't too expensive.


* 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

Since you are in a city where the majority of the people don't speak English, it is on you to learn Spanish in order to communicate.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Spanish 4
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? A lot of people downloaded apps on their phone to practice their Spanish. I would also seriously consider investing in Rosetta stone before you go. It will help you so much.

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 Spanish Element
  • The Trips Included
  • The Culture Immersion
* What could be improved?
  • Host Institution's Spanish Classes
  • Intercambio Program
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? To not be so scared to try new things because conquering that fear can lead to some of the best adventures and times of your life.

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!