Since the reviews online were a significant factor in making my decision, I'll give you guys a thorough summary of my experience :)
When I decided I wanted to do an internship abroad, I started to research and research. Most study abroad companies were too expensive for my budget, so I was trying to find an internship on my own and arrange everything myself. However, I had very limited dates available and most "free" internships had very strict start-end dates and lasted anywhere from 3 months to 2 years! I finally decided to search for scholarships and other financial help, which I got from my university, and after a lot of research, I decided to try it out with CISabroad. I chatted a lot with CISabroad staff, who happily answered my questions, and I read reviews on every website. I found that CISabroad was the better-reviewed program. The only negative reviews I found, I shared with the CISabroad staff and asked them to clarify them for me, and they were happy to do so. They finally convinced me to apply, giving me step-by-step instructions. My only complaint would be that, sometimes, they would take their time to answer my questions, but to be fair, they never ignored any of my concerns. When your applying to a study abroad or intern abroad program, you must understand that there will be times where you will just have to be patient. CISabroad has hundreds and maybe thousands of students applying to programs all over the world, which is really cool, but also takes a lot of time from the staff.
HOMESTAY + Getting there
Thankfully, I got accepted into the Intern in Barcelona program and received a discount for applying early :) The day finally came and I was officially on my way to Barcelona to have what would become one of the best experiences in my life. However, I had some flight delays/cancellations, which affected my schedule, but the CISabroad onsite staff worked around that, which I appreciated so much. I got to my homestay, which I absolutely recommend, and had a nice lady waiting for me. I stayed in a really nice neighborhood in Barcelona really close to my internship placement. I had my own set of keys to the apartment, 2 yummy homemade meals a day, and an amazing host family (for real, you guys, EXCELLENT!)
Throughout the process, I was really anxious to know what my internship placement would be. I asked the CISabroad staff about it, and they told me they had to wait because they couldn't know until they had all my information since the internships they provide are customized to the student preferences. In order to get to know me, they called me a few times and we also had a Skype interview. I had to wait some time for them to tell what my placement would be, but at least they told me a week before getting to Barcelona, so I had an idea about what I would be doing. My 2 interests were management and international business, which are my two majors, but I also have a minor in Strategic Communications, which allowed them to place me in a communications agency focused on the health industry. At first, I was a little bit confused because my internship didn't have much to do with international business, and I wasn't very excited about the health industry either. However, I quickly adapted and loved everything about my internship because my coworkers gave me a lot of responsibility and allowed me to do significant work, which was the most important factor to me. Plus, they sent me to two different business events in Barcelona, including an amazing advertising festival. In fact, this internship made me realize that I want to pursue corporate communications after I graduate college.
CULTURAL IMMERSION + TRAVELING:
CISabroad holds many meetings that help students understand the local culture. They go from classroom orientations to neighborhood tours and sharing a meal afterwards, and even cooking lessons! The amount of activities CISabroad has for students and interns lets you get to know other foreign people, but the onsite -local- staff are so kind that they become your friends, too. In order to get to know more locals, you must really participate in the process. My co-workers, host family, church or other encounters, and other students were gateways to doing this. In addition, my internship schedule was Monday to Thursday from 9-2 pm., which allowed me to explore the city afterwards. I fell in love with Barcelona and its unique culture. There is so much to do, a great transportation system, constant opportunities to meet new people, amazing food, and... the beach: all I need to be happy hehe. Also, since I had long weekends (sometimes used for CISabroad activities, like going to a nearby town), I had the opportunity to travel to other European cities, including cities in Spain, France, Italy, and England. To read my adventures go to: https://theanecdotalistdeb.wordpress.com/
Last advice: research and go for it! CISabroad makes your dream possible :) Good luck!