I took part in an 8-week intern abroad program through CEA in London during summer '17 session, and, for the most part, the program has been good. Not great, but good.
Unfortunately, my experience is bitter sweet. More bitter towards the end than sweet. I had alerted CEA that I would be needing to leave two weeks early for my brother's wedding, before I even applied to the program. After I applied, I was sure to alert every CEA official of my intentions to leave early.
I was extremely busy toward the end of my spring semester. Between my RA job on campus, my internship with Baker Tilly in my hometown, travelling back and forth between home and college, and taking two upper level college courses in my accounting major, I was already pretty busy. Throw in countless hours of paperwork for CEA and this pathetic program, and I forgot to bring up the fact that we would like to get a discount for the two weeks I wasn't going to be there.
I brought this up about 3-4 weeks into my shortened 6 week program (originally 8 weeks). I went to the finance department at CEA, and didn't get anywhere. All they told me was that I had signed the terms and conditions and was responsible for 100% of the cost. I went to the director, and pleaded my case. They wouldn't so much as give me half of what I was asking for.
This program and CEA HQ are money hungry and profit driven. They could care less about the average (poor) college student that is giving an arm and a leg to pay for their program, which, by the way, doesn't even cover the cost of your airfare, meals, transportation, or excursions. Oh, and also, if you plan on interning, you'll need a visa. CEA doesn't cover the cost of the visa, either. I didn't get my placement until 2-3 weeks before my flight was supposed to leave, which then meant I had to expedite my visa to have it in time before I left. All in all, my visa ended up costing me an additional $400-500 in order to get it on time. Essentially, I paid $8,000 (for six weeks) for an apartment that isn't air conditioned, and an internship that is unpaid. Also, note this $8,000 is before the flights and everything else I mentioned that isn't included.
If I were to do this over again, I wouldn't choose CEA. The experience I've had on my own time, and the friends and relationships I've developed on my own, have been great. We've traveled all over the UK, and plan on traveling to Rome my last weekend here. That part of it has been wonderful.
If you're a perspective student looking to sign up with this program, I would caution you. You'll be working 30+ hours a week, with a very strict attendance policy. You'll also have a 4 hour class on the other day you aren't working. You'll be limited to the weekends for travel, which is almost useless, as you'll be spending anywhere between 100GBP and 300GBP for two to three nights. I would highly recommend traveling on your own as you can see more and experience more without all of the restrictions that CEA places on you. And you'll also save $8,000 and be able to put it towards actual travel expenses, instead of flushing it down the toilet to a CEA program that will refuse to do anything for you.
I hope this helps! Feel free to contact me with any specific questions about the program if you have any.