When I was 16, I wanted to do something new and exciting, and a semester abroad sounded like the way to do it. I found CIEE online and compared it's prices, services, and opportunities to other programs I found, and CIEE definitely had me captivated from the beginning. I chose to go abroad to Spain, and in preparation to leave I had many questions, and I was quite exceedingly nervous. The staff at CIEE was consistently quick to respond to my emails and were always willing to Skype call with me to ease any fear and answer any question I had. At orientation in Boston, we learned through hands on activities what kinds of challenges we might face while abroad, and learned what made the difference between a successful and unsuccessful experience. Upon our arrival in Spain, we were seamlessly transitioned from CIEE to the Spanish exchange partner, InterHispania. When meeting my host family for the first time and experiencing the rollercoaster of emotions that are associated with homesickness and culture shock, I always had resources to help me cope, and I was not blindsided by how hard the transition would be because of the efficiency and thoroughness of the orientation. My time abroad was the best experience I could have had at my age, and has lead me to come back to Spain three years later. As I write this, I live here in Madrid permanently, and am still very much in touch with the host family I was so lucky to have been paired with three years ago. In fact, I consider them my family, second to my own, and still visit them every other weekend. CIEE provided me with a once in a life time opportunity that shaped my goals for the future. I know I would not be where I am today if it had not been for this program.