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CIEE High School Grads Abroad

Why choose CIEE High School Grads Abroad?

With CIEE's First Year Abroad and Gap Year Abroad programs, you can make your first year of college an unforgettable adventure. Take courses with CIEE local instructors and enjoy amazing cultural excursions. Best-in-class student safety, secure and high-quality housing, and hands-on onsite support all ensure that your first year of college is the most incredible experience abroad. Earn 12-13 college credits from our academic home and school of record, Dean College. Then, use your international experience to impress the admissions team at the dream school of your choice.

For more than 75 years, CIEE has demonstrated a proven track record for helping high school and college students explore new cultures, learn new skills, and achieve their academic goals within a diverse portfolio of high-quality programs. It's why we have a network of 300+ college and university partners.

You put your international education first. We put you first.


Upcoming Events

  1. Wed 17 July
    First Year Abroad Webinar

    Join us to learn how you can complete your first year of college abroad and make your international education your first priority! Hear from CIEE's FYA team about program locations, courses, housing, student support and much more. All registrants will receive a link to the webinar recording after...


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Yes, I recommend this program

My experience

I had an amazing time here in Barcelona. I traveled a lot, made many amazing people, learned in my class, and overall had a great time. My dorm room was very spacious and comfortable with easy access to all utilities. Everyone on staff was very helpful when need be. The connections I made were perhaps the most valuable part of my experience. I met amazing people from all over the world, each bringing their unique perspectives. Late-night conversations over tapas and impromptu gatherings in our residence fostered friendships that I'm sure will last a lifetime. I picked up phrases in Catalan and Spanish, my linguistic skills growing alongside my circle of friends.
The locals I met welcomed me warmly into their city. From shopkeepers to tour guides, everyone seemed eager to share hidden gems and local traditions. I discovered hole-in-the-wall restaurants serving the most authentic paella and embraced the laid-back Mediterranean lifestyle, even mastering the art of the siesta.
My classes were equally enriching. The professors were engaging and knowledgeable, often incorporating the city itself into our lessons. Field trips to local businesses, museums, and historical sites brought our studies to life, allowing me to see the practical applications of our coursework in a real-world context.
My dorm room became my sanctuary amidst the excitement of city life. It was spacious and comfortable, with large windows that let in plenty of natural light and offered views of the bustling streets below. The room was well-equipped with modern amenities, including high-speed internet, which made it easy to stay connected with family and friends back home and work on assignments.
The convenience of my accommodation enhanced my overall experience. Laundry facilities, a fully-equipped kitchen, and study areas were all easily accessible. This allowed me to maintain a balanced lifestyle, cooking meals with friends, staying on top of my studies, and keeping up with daily chores without hassle.
The staff at my residence were incredibly helpful. From the friendly receptionists who always greeted me with a smile to the maintenance team who promptly addressed any issues, I felt supported throughout my stay. They were a valuable resource for navigating life in Barcelona, offering advice on everything from the best local markets to using public transportation.
As my time in Barcelona came to an end, I realized how much I had grown. I became more independent, culturally aware, and confident in my abilities. The memories I made – whether watching the sunset from the Bunkers del Carmel, cheering at an FC Barcelona match at Camp Nou, or simply sharing laughs with new friends over a glass of sangria, will stay with me forever.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I went to costa brava the second weekend with 9 other students I had just met. We all stayed in a airbnb and had an amazing time together. Roses was more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.
  • Living situation
  • People
  • Easy travel access
  • Air conditioning
  • $$
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Yes, I recommend this program

Best Semester of my Life!!!!

I absolutely loved my time here in Legon, Ghana. I have met so many amazing, generous, and kind people who I will stay in contact with for a long time. I already want to come back and I haven’t even left yet! I have recommended CIEE to many of my friends and I encourage everyone to take a gap year/semester abroad. I feel like I have grown so much as a person, and my independence/confidence has improved more than it ever would in the states. I can’t stress this enough!!!! It has been the best 3 1/2 months of my whole life. I volunteered at a school here in Teshie, and the kids are wonderful and so sweet & they love volunteers! The food is actually pretty good (besides the fish) and I’m going to miss my bofrout & fanice! I have gotten so accustomed to the life here, my host family feels like my family and this place feels like my home. If you are considering coming to Ghana, I would 100% come through CIEE. They are the best!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice to future travelers on this program-and any program really-is to never let your guard down. It’s easy to get used to a place and feel secure, but it’s so important to stay aware of your surroundings and be smart so that nothing bad happens! Also, just keep a good attitude with everything and stay positive and it’ll make your experience 10x greater. :)
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Yes, I recommend this program

CIEE Gap Program Seville

I’m really glad I went on my CIEE program. Although it wasn’t without challenge, I look back on it as a positive experience. My first host family and I were not compatible and I ended up asking to switch host families. CIEE made the process really easy and alleviated a lot of my stress about switching. My advice is that if you have an inkling that you are not compatible with your family then you should tell the program as soon as possible. Even if you don’t switch or want to switch they can put your feelings into context (maybe it’s a matter of culture clash rather than a particular family) and help you decide what to do next. Once I switched host families my experience drastically improved. I loved my host family, made a lot of really close friends and had a ton of fun. I feel that because I faced certain challenges abroad, away from my family, in a different language and culture, those same challenges seem much less daunting now that I’m back in the US.

What would you improve about this program?
Make clear to students from the get go that switching families is an option and is really easy to do.
Response from CIEE Global Navigator

Hi Margaret, thank you for your review. We’re so glad that you felt comfortable reaching out to CIEE staff to help you with your host family and that you ultimately had a great experience. Host families and cultural differences are a part of the immersive experience that CIEE offers, but we are always available to help find a solution should our students have any concerns!

Yes, I recommend this program

Auxiliare de Conversacion

I moved to Spain after finishing up four years of college on the East Coast. I had lived, worked, and traveled through Europe a few times before but there was still a fair amount of nervous energy in me pre-departure. Upon my arrival to Madrid, jet-lagged and in a little bit of shock, I was immediately greeted by some of the most enthusiastic leaders I have ever met. It was honestly so reassuring to see the excitement that they had for our experience and made me feel comfortable knowing that they enjoyed their experience to such a degree that it prompted them to stay for another year. As I approach the end of my first year I couldn't be more excited to be spending another year in Spain and in Europe as an overall whole. Going abroad after graduating, or really before any major life decision has drastically changed my approach on life and the plans that I had laid out for my future self. Putting yourself in a completely new environment culturally, linguistically, and geographically has allowed me to grow and develop in so many ways that I don't believe would have been available to me had I chosen to stay in the US. I have met people from all over the world, traded stories and drinks with some characters straight out of a novel, and have seen some of the most amazing places and monuments that I could only dream of as a child. The road is not always easy and there are honestly times where the pull of returning home is strong and there would be nothing more comforting than returning to everything that is familiar. But with the help of friends and colleagues that you meet in your adventures you can see just how many reasons there are to stay and further develop yourself. Plus it doesn't hurt that I can travel across Europe for half the price of a ticket from Boston to California.

What would you improve about this program?
I think that the thing that I would most love to see moving forward is a greater connection with the returning participants and the new ones. I recall that when I started my University there was the option for Freshman to meet with Seniors for coffee or lunch and just talk. About the transition, about suggestions for classes or places to live, or just fun things to do. Although part of the fun of moving to a new city is discovering things on your own it would be helpful to have the option to pick the brains of people that were very recently in the same position as yourself.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Business Abroad

I had the wonderful opportunity to have a 6 credit academic internship with an international hotel asset management company as one of my classes in Palma. This not only helped increase my professional Spanish skills, but it also helped strengthen my intercultural communication. My CIEE program allowed complete immersion into another country’s culture which is extremely valuable for one’s personal growth. The program was well organized, all the small details were taken care of. The only complaint I had about the program was my first homestay. I had some issues because the homestay mother was going through a hard time herself so they changed me into a different homestay with a single mother who I swear must be an angel. I had a very tough time abroad medically and mentally and was able to receive the help I needed to make my experience worthwhile.

What would you improve about this program?
The only suggestions for improvement would be more activities for integration within the Host university. I didn’t really feel a part of the university since all of my classes were program specific to CIEE.


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Abigail Waters

Abby has participated in many travel abroad programs through various companies and her home university. She studies Spanish language and global communication at the University of San Diego.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose to participate in the CIEE GAP Seville, Spain program because I knew I wanted an experience that was separate from both High School and University. It was the perfect balance between academics and cultural immersion.

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

I was in close contact with the program director throughout the application process, but I did most of the application and planning process on my own. It was beneficial for my organizational skills.

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

A piece of advice I would give to someone going on this program would be to embrace the host culture. Seville has some of the most wonderful people, food, and culture.

As tempting as it is to leave every weekend and travel, definitely make some time to get to know the city.

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

On average, Seville GAP students attend an intensive 4-hour Spanish course in the mornings, and spend the afternoons free. Each student has the opportunity to eat three meals a day with their host family, which provides a perfect opportunity to learn and practice Spanish.

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

I was afraid of not doing everything that I wanted to. However, just living in the moment and "doing what Spaniards do" taught me that truly living in a culture and being "local" is what contributes to an authentic experience abroad. So, take that siesta if you wish!

Describe the different feelings you experienced upon arrival and upon departure?

I was incredibly excited, but also nervous and anxious about meeting my host family and getting adjusted.

The other students on my program were from all different walks of life, which made the approach to our experiences unique in their own way. This common experience made us bond quickly.

When I left, I remember crying uncontrollably with my host mom, and this was when I knew that this experience had changed my life.

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