I picked this because I'm a comm major w/interest in journalism, and because of the urban setting and CIEE's varied extracurricular activities.
Staff and faculty are smart, caring people. Any help I needed could be found on the top floor of study center. They are open about safety, resources, etc. and they hold students to a high standard of using common sense. The response to COVID was calm, informed, and measured.
Students cared about their Spanish skills and immersion. The day trips are great, but the more frequent tours and activities throughout the week are awesome ways to meet more faculty, a super easy way to get to know the city and the social calendar as well as other students from CIEE's many programs. About half of my classes were fairly easy, the other half were more serious/high level work. All the classes had less reading required than at my home university. Magazine class focused on storytelling and Profe Oscar Ceballos cares passionately about the craft. My Cursos Concertados flamenco class was fantastic. The classes available to you are in the study center for the CNMJ, Nervion for business, Triana for a few more, like my dance class. The classes do not necessarily help you get out into the community in an interactive and deep way, that is more up to you to figure out how to build connections with vendors or citizens when you visit the market or the women's march with class. I expected it to push me more/harder to do that. Regardless, the opportunities are there!
Homestays are great, and for the CNMJ program their location is in La Alameda or La Macarena, home to a lively artist community and close to the river and Calle Feria, and closer to the study center than the other neighborhoods, so it is arguably the best homestay neighborhood CIEE has in Seville.
I loved walking everywhere, smelling the orange blossoms, and riding a bike, as well as weekend independent travel. I had a little trouble connecting with my homestay (only 8 weeks though cuz COVID) but we got along well. I was with another student and she interacted very little with me. CIEE's weekly activities and their first month-ish social helped add variety and meet new people.
What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Add variety to your schedule: join a club; sign up for excursions - the ones that are just a few hours are easy, comfortable, and show you great places to hang out in the city, and are free/included in tuition; take a class outside your focus (I took "History of Flamenco through Dance" and "Business Ethics," both classes for international students. almost, but not all, of students in these courses were from the USA and in Seville with CIEE). Look for a language exchange at a local restaurant or bar. CIEE's has mostly English speakers, and if you join a non-CIEE one you will meet people who have found things in the city you don't know about. CIEE's program is a great jumping off point, but not the end goal.
Another piece of advice for anyone abroad, in any program, is: Trust that you will find your place socially and that you are worthy of inclusion and appreciation. It can take effort, time, and chance to find security in your peers. This program is small though CIEE Seville is big and you might feel like the odd one out among 11 others at first, but it will work out. You're