How 42 Days in Sevilla Transformed Me Culturally and Mentally Past Review

By (International Studies and Spanish, University of Iowa) for

CIEE: Seville - Summer Language and Culture

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My experience abroad was life changing. I recommend it to anyone who wants to gain international experience or even someone who wants to learn more about yourself. I understand more about what I can handle, how to make independent decisions, and how to interact successfully with people from another culture. It was eye-opening and humbling to see how other people view Americans. I hope I can someday change that stereotype.

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.

The workload was not overwhelming, and all the professors I had were wonderful. However, some of the leaders of CIEE seemed interested in the students, yet sometimes I felt as if I was treated like a child. I understand that there is a wide variety of students that participate in study abroad programs, and some of them did need babysitting, but not all of us were that way.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Classrooms were small, there was a relaxed teacher-student relationship which was nice, yet some students took this as a way to disrespect their teachers. Honestly, I knew nothing of Spain before embarking, but after returning home, I felt like I was exposed to the language, people, and culture, in the best possible way. The staff of CIEE was for the most part great, especially the student tour-guides. They wanted to get to know us and introduce us to Spain the way they knew it.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family consisted of a single mother and 2 sisters who were international students. At first, my family was not what i expected. My mother was an avid smoker, smoked at least 2 packs of cigarettes a day, and also smoked marijuana at night. I didn't know of this until my 2nd to last night there. (The house was full of smoke all the time). I developed a bit of a cough towards the end of my program, which I think was probably from being exposed to that much smoke daily. However, the location of my house was perfect. My mother gave me full independence and taught me valuable language skills. Although the environment was somewhat uncomfortable, I do think it was interesting to experience something completely different. I do think the marijuana issue was problematic.

* Food:

My host mother was the best cook! Go to tapas places! You must experience the Spanish cuisine.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Lagos, Portugal was one of the most memorable trips I have ever taken. I loved traveling around southern Spain to better understand the culture and the people I was living with. Malaga, Granada, Jerez, Cadiz, were all interesting and historical cities to travel to. Keep these!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I felt very safe in my neighborhood. I heard of people in poorer neighborhoods who felt unsafe, but I was lucky enough to never have any scary interactions. Healthcare was easily accessible, I just walked into a farmacía and asked for what I needed.

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 practiced with friends (local people from Sevilla), my host family, host sisters, and friends from America. Most of my friends from America spoke English in everyday interactions. I needed to use Spanish for most everything besides talking to my American friends.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • My student guides
* What could be improved?
  • The interactions between staff and students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Sevilla is a beautiful city full of history, architecture, and warm people. Be prepared for the party scene! People really do stay out until 6 am. You will fall in love with Sevilla if you want an environment that is relaxed, full of loving people, and are concerned if you are having a good time. The perfect individual to go to Sevilla, would be open-minded, full of energy, and ready to sweat! It is SO hot in the summer!