Alumni Spotlight: Alexander Larsen

Alexander is a junior at The City College of New York studying Marketing Communications and Spanish. He studied abroad with CCIS at The International College of Seville, Spain in the spring of 2018.

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Why did you choose this program?

I actually chose this program in a really bizarre way. I have always known that I wanted to study abroad, and was pretty sure I wanted to study in Spain since my mom did when she was in school, but I never took much time to research my options. When it came time for me to apply for a program, it was a little late and there weren't that many options left. My advisor told me that she had just heard of a program that extended their deadline in Seville, Spain (somewhere I had never heard of before). Little did I know that it would be the best chance of luck ever.

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

Since the program was not offered through my school, I actually had to go through another CUNY university (The College of Staten Island) in order to apply. Although my school did not provide much support throughout the application process, CCIS/ICS did a great job of keeping me updated with what I needed to have completed and what to expect!

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

I think the best thing you can do for yourself in order to have the best time possible is to go into your program with a completely open mind. Things are guaranteed to be different from what you are used to, but often times they are better than what you would expect as long as you let yourself see it that way. Also, be fearless while studying abroad and do things you wouldn't normally do, NOW is your chance to live your best life!!

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

One thing I learned while abroad is that you can never expect what will come next and that there is no "typical" day during your program. One week you might have a few projects, then on the weekend you're in the Sahara Desert riding camels with people from all over the world, and then on Monday, you're right back in the classroom. That is one of my favorite things about being abroad - the unexpected.

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 before going abroad was that I wouldn't make any friends and that I would have to do everything on my own. That was definitely not the case at all! As soon as I arrived in Seville I formed a really great connection with my host family which made such a difference. It was also great that my program at ICS offered a lot of welcome week activities that really helped me bond with the other students and teachers, making friends of a lifetime.

Why would you recommend others to your program?

I would 100% recommend everyone to study abroad at The International College because even though it is a small school, the sponsoring group CCIS is a large program that offers many resources. Also, all of the staff at ICS are incredibly friendly and work hard to give you the best time possible. Another wonderful aspect is the number of extracurricular opportunities they offer including taking advanced courses at the local university as well as volunteering/internships!