CIEE High School Study Abroad Program in Spain

Video and Photos


Eating churros and drinking hot chocolate at a local café after school. Visiting old historic cities and observing the architecture. Learning to make paella with your host family. Attending classes (in Spanish) at a public instituto or private colegio with local peers. Making friendships that last a lifetime. What kind of memories will you make?

Questions & Answers


9.5 Rating
based on 4 reviews
  • Growth 9
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9.5
  • Housing 8.5
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 1 - 4 of 4
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Yes, I recommend this program

In love with Sevilla

My experience studying abroad in Sevilla was extraordinary. I had the most amazing year of my entire life. The relationships I created were incredible, and I know I will hold onto them forever. The American and Spanish friends I made on this program are who I call my best friends. Going to a Spanish school was such a gift in my opinion because you are exposed to a new culture and language while going to school which I think is crazy awesome! I thought my host family was amazing and while I was abroad I was fortune to do traveling with them around Europe which was super cool. I feel like CIEE was a great support system throughout my entire time abroad and I always felt safe and that I had someone to talk to when I needed it. Sevilla is a gorgeous city and I feel so lucky to have call it my second home. The cultural experience you will get is awesome. I experienced events such as Feria, Semana Santa, and Carnival which I never would have experienced in the US. There was never a dull moment through my study abroad experience and I feel like I really immersed myself into the culture. My spanish level increased tremendously and I grew to absolutely adore the language. There is not one day that goes by where I do not think about Sevilla. I have become so much more confident, globally aware, independent, and sure of myself because of this program! Know there will be hard parts and you will miss home but think about how great of an oppurtunity it is that you are there, and that each day it gets better and better. Enjoy it while it lasts! I HIGHLY recommend.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Me encanta Sevilla

My experience in Seville has been absolutely amazing! Everything that I have done has helped me grow closer and closer to my goals. Obviously I couldn't have enjoyed everything otherwise everyone would want to come on this trip, but I feel that every new thing on this trip had a purpose and I probably learned more from the activities than I think I did. I will always be grateful for every opportunity that I am provided with and I think that this is probably the best one so far. This trip has taught me things that you can't teach in a classroom and has brought me closer to people I never would have even met. Thank you CIEE for the past month and for everything that taught me.

What would you improve about this program?
Some of the host families were not the best. There were some instances where the host families were not fit for their kids and some kids even had to move because of other issues. I think that there should be higher expectations when selecting host families to prevent bad things from happening to the students.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

100% Worth It

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.

What would you improve about this program?
One local coordinator in particular in Madrid was definitely not a favorite. He could often be condescending, but otherwise my time in Spain was challenging in its own right but worth everything.
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Yes, I recommend this program

One of the best times of my life!

Upon my return, my American family and friends kept asking me what was my favorite part. They assumed it was the weekend trips that the CIEE took us on to different parts of Spain (the country I was studying in). And while both weekend trips were fun, I wouldn't call them my favorite parts, because I really can't pick out one thing that beats the rest. Everything I did was a new experience, some difficult, some fun, but I learned and grew and benefitted from all.

What would you improve about this program?
The two biggest struggles for me were my school and the price. The teachers and director at my school I felt did not like me, and weren't very welcoming or helpful. I felt that they didn't like me because of the lack of Spanish that I had. I felt that they didn't understand that a huge aspect of my going to Spain was to learn their language. However, my Spanish friends were incredible and helped compensate for the unfriendly teachers. Next, the program costed a lot of money which is difficult for my family to afford but we thought this was a really great opportunity for me so we made it happen.
Response from CIEE Global Navigator

Thank you very much for commenting on your positive experience with CIEE. We value our participant feedback and are always looking to understand what the student experience looks like in an effort to create even better programming. CIEE holds a very thorough placement process when it comes to selecting both schools and host families. In the case of school recruitment, CIEE visits with school teachers and administrators in order to ensure staff understand what it means to host an exchange student to communicate the motivators on the behalf of an exchange student – primarily to develop both language and intercultural skills. It’s critical that teachers and administrators understand the challenges associated with being an exchange student and we ask pointed questions around how the support structure will work for that individual within the school and we make very clear students come with a wide range of language levels.

As an exchange student operating in a second language in a country where cultural norms and academic environments can be very different than in the United States, there are often misunderstandings and misinterpretations. As is customary, CIEE reaches out to our school contact upon a student completing the High School Abroad program to capture feedback on the experience. In your case, the school was very pleased with your effort and performance and enjoyed hosting you. Therefore, it could be that the feelings you experienced were a result of language and cultural differences in communication style – a very common experience for exchange students.

If you would like to discuss your experience further, of course please reach out to our Portland office. We are always happy to speak with participants, whether past or present!

All the best,
Your CIEE Global Navigator Team