Spain: An Experience in Personal Evolution Past Review

By (Elementary Education, Pennsylvania State University - University Park) for

CIEE: Seville - Summer Language and Culture

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I created a music video of my experiences in Sevilla, Spain using clips from my flip camera. Check it out to get a taste of what you might see! I can not wait to travel abroad again and will use my experience in Spain as a wonderful springboard for my next journey.

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 very manageable, especially in Intermediate Spanish. I think the grading system was fair as well. Classes did a great job of getting students more acquainted with the culture. In my experience, the teachers were challenging but fair, and they usually kept class interesting with humor.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They were friendly and willing to listen.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My living situation included a mother and a 2 year old boy. The mother was friendly albeit slightly distant. Her friends and family would come over at different times, and it was always fun to observe the social dynamics while they met in her apartment. I would generally spend at least 30 minutes a day playing with the boy who was enamored by the color blue and Mickey Mouse videos!

* Food:

My senora was great about providing food. One tip that I learned was that I should always know the difference between a meal that she cooked and a meal that was prepackaged or frozen. Once or twice I complimented her on her cooking when it was actually a meal that was heated in the microwave; she was offended! The food of Spain is very starchy though, so remember that it could be a long day if you eat a huge lunch of potatoes and bread!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The trips were interesting and we got to see some extremely cool sites! I can remember my night at a Spanish Carnival in Cadoba and the ridiculous amount of fun we had dancing there. We got to see a number of interesting sites and I think every student in the program enjoyed themselves during the trips.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The people in the city were extremely friendly and always provided solid directions. They also were generally willing to participate in conversations, and even with my basic level of understanding they enjoyed speaking to me in Spanish. This was just my experience; I do know of a friend who had her camera stolen from her hands in broad daylight.

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 think the best way to get better in class was to find a tutor. The school provides tutors to anyone who needs them, so it is an easy lay-up if you're looking for help! When it comes to language skills, I think it is absolutely essential to find other students who are passionate about the language. There will be plenty in the cohort who traveled abroad more or less to go out and experience the night life. These people are fine for an occasional party, but if you are serious about learning the language, you need to put yourself in situations where you are forced to speak Spanish. Yes, the process may be difficult and awkward at times, but that makes the reward of getting a stronger grasp on the language that much more rich. So far it has been one of the most rewarding journeys of my life. The program provides an opportunity, and it is up to the student to pursue it as fully as possible.

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?
  • The people of Sevilla.
  • My Intermediate Spanish teacher had a great sense of humor and taught me a lot about the language.
  • The trips to different parts of Spain on the weekends were awesome.
* What could be improved?
  • Many students did not arrive with a strong intention of getting signicantly stronger in Spanish.
  • I wish I could have met other host families.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Be willing to put yourself in new and awkward situations knowing that you will ultimately benefit from the experience. Talk to as many people as possible, listen intently, and don't let yourself get discouraged by an strange conversation or two. Maintain Spanish as often as you can and speak it wherever you can. There will certainly be some awesome sights and sounds.