CIEE High School Summer Abroad in Alicante, Spain – Spanish Language Intensive

This program has been paused and is currently not being offered. View more programs from CIEE Global Navigator.

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Set in lovely Alicante, this program offers a challenging alternative to our most motivated Spanish learners: open exclusively to students with two years of High School Spanish and above, this program requires that participants speak Spanish at all times. So get ready for a full immersion!

Spend four weeks improving your Spanish while exploring caves and medieval villages, visiting beaches and white-washed fishing villages, and learning to make ceramics or traditional Spanish meals. Build a lasting relationship with your local host family, while deepening your understanding of Spanish family structure. Get to know your Spanish peers through hiking, beach volleyball, or karaoke. Feast on paella, prawns, pomegranate ice cream, or churros with chocolate.

College credit option is available for this program; see our site for details.

Questions & Answers


9.8 Rating
based on 5 reviews
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  • Growth 8.8
  • Support 9
  • Fun 9.6
  • Housing 9
  • Safety 8.8
Showing 1 - 5 of 5
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Yes, I recommend this program

4 weeks in Alicante, Spain!

I had an incredible time in Alicante over the summer. I grew a lot in both personally, in my own independence, and in my Spanish-speaking skills. Alicante is incredible. The school where we attended classes was a 5-minute walk to the beach. Every afternoon there was some activity planned, like doing a city bike tour or beach volleyball, and every day it was different. On the weekends there would be bigger outings planned, such as spending a day visiting castles and waterfalls.
Alicante isn't a really well-known city, which was initially unappealing to me, but I think it was a better choice than a big city would've been. We had a weekend trip to Madrid, and I realized that being in a bigger city had a lot of potential for things to go wrong... a lot more theft and crime occurs in more prevalent cities.
The classes were intriguing and my professor was really fun and made class actually appealing. I liked that we not only learned about the language but also about the culture of the place we were staying in. Often, our afternoon activities would be catered to what we were learning about in class, which made my learning experience so fascinating. I'd taken 3 years of Spanish prior to the trip, (the requirement is at least 2) which I thought would suffice, but it really wasn't enough. A lot of the 40 kids on the program were nearly fluent, having spoken it from childhood. And instead of there being 4 different levels of class intensities as advertised, there were 3 classes: 2 for advanced kids and 1 for not-advanced, like me:). So for that reason I'd recommend 3+ years of Spanish unless you regularly speak it. Without a roommate with me in my host home, I would've had an extremely difficult time trying to communicate with my host mom. Having someone who also spoke English kept me sane when I didn't understand anything.
After class each day, you'd go home for lunch with your host family and take a siesta, which would be a couple hours of downtime, where you could really do whatever you wanted: do your homework, take a nap, watch Netflix, go to the beach, go shopping, etc. The siestas were some of my favorite times on the program because it gave me time to just chill out, especially when we had busy days, or do something with my friends. But I was really impressed with CIEE for the level of planning and preparedness they orchestrated for our afternoon activities and weekend outings. There would always be a perfect balance between downtime/free time and planned activities.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
1) Request a roommate. I'm a bit more introverted, and I didn't think I would want a roommate, but having one made the trip SO much better. I always had someone to walk back to the house with after classes, and it made communication with Spanish speakers a lot easier when we could tag-team something we didn't understand. If you're super confident in your language skills, then you can go solo.
2) ALSO, don't book flights with FlightFox. CIEE will recommend it if you choose a group flight, but it is NOT WORTH IT. I was on an individual flight to JFK and then on a group flight to Madrid and then Alicante, but because of weather issues we were rerouted to Atlanta halfway to JFK, and I missed both my connections. I had to rebook the flights for full price, and wait 24 hours in JFK. I had even used the insurance that CIEE recommended (iNext), which says it covers that, but now it's November and we're still disputing the claims. So, moral of the story, don't use FlightFox. Book on your own. Unless you're really on a budget, because FlightFox will literally get the worst airlines ever. AirEuropa, what they booked me on, landed me not being passed by customs coming back to the US because they had put my name in wrong and said I was 19, not 16. Just... so bad. Another airline we went on refused to let a girl on our program board because the flight was full, yet she had bought a ticket... so she had to wait 16 hours for the next flight. Don't use FlightFox!! Save yourself the pain.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Best Summer Ever!!

I went abroad for my first time ever with CIEE in Alicante. I absolutely loved the city and the opportunities that are available to see it both with the host family placement and throughout the program's activities. The staff, group leaders, and teachers were great and very helpful and supportive. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking to improve their Spanish skills in a real-world setting.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Embracing the unknown

Thanks to CIEE and my wonderful host family, I spent a month fully immersing myself in a language and a culture completely foreign to myself. It was refreshing to be surrounded by like-minded students who also shared the same passion for language learning and were willing to succeed and fail with me. Through the moments that made me laugh and cry, I came away a far more open-minded, independent, and adventurous student than when I left.

What would you improve about this program?
My program struggled with enforcing the rules with a few of the students. It was a bit relaxed in letting kids do whatever they want in a foreign city where they don't know any better.
Response from CIEE Global Navigator

Hi Emily, thank you for your review. We’re so glad that you enjoyed your summer program with us! Your feedback is very important and helps us improve our students’ experiences abroad. We want to make our programs as safe and enjoyable as possible. Every program orientation includes time in which CIEE staff reviews program rules with the students. Our staff makes every effort to enforce these rules throughout the program. We will reinforce this again this summer!

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Yes, I recommend this program

Karla Estrada Perez

This program was amazing! We went on weekend excursions and night activities which were the best part. I distinctly remember the time we went paddle surfing. You will have to step out of your comfort zone but it is worth it! You will absolutely love every second of it. Studying abroad in another country is very eye opening and probably one of the best experiences that you will ever have. Amazing teachers from all over the world that have made an impact on me as a person. Not to mention the fact that my family host was amazing. If you have the opportunity to participate in this program then you should.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Alicante CIEE

Incredible professors who really care about the students and their learning process, catered to each students level individually. Great staff, sometimes can seem a little tedious but that's just due to liability issues (they really don't care what you do). Only one student in my program had an issue with their host family, everyone loved their home stays including me. Also, such a great eclectic group of students, I will never forget them or my experience in Alicante :) and don't forget to TRAVEL!!!