Alumni Spotlight: Danielle Porter


Danielle is a Senior Psychology and Spanish major at the University of Memphis, graduating in May 2018. She studied abroad in Seville during Spring 2017 and had the time of her life.

Why did you choose this program?

I choose CEA because it made the most sense. They had all of the classes that I needed. They had options for scholarships and funding outside of my home institution. Also, they were the most helpful and interested in showing me the options I was looking for in a program.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

CEA helped me make sure I had all my important papers needed for my student visa, passport, and specific background checks for volunteering with children abroad. Anything that I needed to do on my own, they were still there to answer any specific questions or lead me to the person who could answer.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

First, congrats because you're about to have an amazing time. Second, whatever you do while you’re there be sure and make friends with the locals! That could mean participating in the language exchange that CEA has for you, or being friendly in the streets and at the local coffee shops.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

I had classes split between CEA and a local university, so each day was not the same. Some days I would go to class in the morning, come back home and have lunch with my host mom and then go back to classes. Later my friends and I would go lay by the river, chat with locals, and take plenty of pictures.

I lived with a host family and usually we would we have all our meals together during the week then on the weekends, we would travel around Europe or see the local sights in Seville.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was the language barrier. Prior to arriving in Seville, I had taken a Composition and Conversation class. I overcame my fear by learning to speak freely even if I messed up. Most everyone knew I was from the United States and they were happy that I was trying to speak the language. They would try to help me find the right word and/or they would figure out what I was trying to say. By the end of my stay, my language and comprehension skills improved immensely.

Do you have any travel tips for future participants?

A general tip before you head out on the plane.

I highly recommend getting a scale and space saver bags. I managed to pack all my belongings into one suitcase but was very sad when I went to lift it up. I could barely get it off the ground. If you’re a light packer great! However, if you like your stuff like me, I would recommend two suitcases or leaving some stuff behind. You will for sure find something you like wherever you go to replace what you left at home.