CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange

CIEE

About

A nonprofit, non-governmental organization, CIEE is the world leader in international study and exchange programs. For 65 years, CIEE has helped thousands of students, professionals, and educators gain the knowledge and skills necessary to live and work in a globally interdependent and culturally diverse world by offering the most comprehensive, relevant, and valuable exchange programs available.

Website
www.ciee.org
Founded
1947
Headquarters

300 Fore St.
Portland, ME 04101
United States

Reviews

Default avatar
Margaret
9/10

Prior to attending CIEE Taipei, I had never been abroad before-not counting Vancouver, Canada, because it’s only an hour from the border. I was terrified but also determined to come here, because I had been studying Chinese for so long and was also interested in Taiwanese history.

But coming with CIEEE I definitely felt like I was part of a family. Program staff are incredibly supportive and helpful. They will make sure you can do whatever you put your mind to and watch your back to make sure everything works out. Even when I told staff about the few mishaps that did occur during the program, even though both happened in the middle of the night, they immediately said, “Here’s my card, if that ever happens again, ask someone at a 7-Eleven to help you dial this number and I will help you figure things out.” If I ever had questions about travel plans, the staff are very knowledgeable about places all over Taiwan and even in nearby countries.

Not to mention, the Taiwanese students who volunteer for the program come from all over and you can always ask them to help you or even ask to go with them.

Academics are what you make of them—you take a language placement test, but for the first week you can try different levels and the teachers place you in different levels based on your performance in class.

But what I feel makes CIEE special is the support network of staff and Taiwanese students. Exchange students don’t have many avenues to get to know Taiwanese students, and end up mostly interacting with each other. What I really loved about CIEE was getting to know Taiwan and having friends who could help me navigate much more efficiently, who could actually show me what Taiwan was like to the Taiwanese and not just what it’s like to foreigners.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Abigail
10/10

I have just returned home from studying abroad in Sevilla on CIEE's Liberal Arts program, and I already miss everything about it! I could talk forever about my experience, but here are the highlights:

1. My host family. Of course this all depends on the person, but in my case, CIEE matched me perfectly with what I said was important to me on my housing evaluation. My host family couldn't have been more generous and kind. My host dad liked to cook as a hobby, so every meal I had was both delicious and authentic; plus, my host parents were retired history professors, so they made an effort to give me historical background both on Sevilla and on other countries or cities when I went on trips. Bonus points: they had a dog. Again, obviously everyone would have a different host family, but it seemed like CIEE does a pretty good job of matching students with families that are right for them.

2. The activities and trips sponsored by CIEE! I took two weekend trips with CIEE, one to Granada and one to Málaga with my interest group. Both of these trips were amazing, and Granada ended up being one of my favorite places I visited. CIEE does a good job of combining free time with planned programming, and the planned programming was always fun and informative (for example, in Granada we did a tour of the Alhambra, and if I had gone alone, it would have been very overwhelming and I would have learned a lot less). And when you're given free time, the staff always has recommendations of places to go or things to do. Besides weekend trips, they also offer activities like kayaking on the Guadalquivir river or day trips. If you can, take advantage of these, because it's a great opportunity to do fun stuff in Sevilla and it's included in the program fees.

3. The academics. CIEE offers a wide range of classes, both through CIEE and the Universidad de Sevilla, and I took both. I would definitely say that my CIEE classes were more challenging, informative, and immersive than those I took at the Universidad de Sevilla. Although I learned from all my classes, I felt like the CIEE professors cared much more about the material and in general were more animated/passionate when teaching it.

In general, Sevilla is an INCREDIBLE place to study, and it will always have a place in my heart. And I have to say that CIEE did everything possible to enhance my time in the city and make it the best it could possibly be; I definitely recommend the program!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Leah
10/10

Having done a different study abroad program in the north of Spain and travelling around a lot of Spain, I can confidently say that Seville is by far my favorite city. It is so colorful and vibrant and the people are all extremely nice. I took classes at both the University of Seville and CIEE and surprisingly, the CIEE courses were actually more rigorous. However, with the exception of the 2 week intensive, none of the classes were as difficult as university classes in the states. I had to switch host families half way through the program and experienced a great amount of support from the staff. Take advantage of the CIEE provided excursions and events because you have already payed for them and it's a great way to learn more about the city and surrounding areas. Travel in Europe is also incredible but I would recommend not travelling every weekend because Seville has a lot to explore too. Definitely stay in town for part of Semana Santa and Feria de Abril- both unforgettable experiences.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Charlie
10/10

Having heard stories from many friends who spent a semester abroad, I think you would be hard pressed to find a program and team better than what CIEE has in Warsaw.

Initially, you may think Poland is surely too different culturally to be anything except challenging and intimidating. This couldn't be further from the truth. From Day 1 you can find Warsaw to be a welcoming place for all. Most everyone speaks enough English to get by- especially young people, and even more so in the central areas of Warsaw. Culturally, it is a perfect mix of experiencing something outside your comfort zone and being easy enough to handle without being overwhelmed. Even if you simply learn how to say "hello" "please" and "thank you" most every Pole will warm right up and be happy to help in whatever way they can.

The most special part about this program is the overnight study trips and the program directors themselves. Apart from being a constant resource and guiding figure, the directors really treat you like family as they help you make the most of your experience. They are extremely accessible and will go above and beyond to help you with any problem, from a trivial course registration issue to a lost wallet or whatever issue you may have.
Included trips in this program are an absolute blast. Overnight you visit Gdansk (and the tri-city area) and Krakow for some unforgettable experiences. Day trips are various and can be a full day of activities or a simple cultural experience- touring the Presidential palace, going to the ballet, or perhaps visiting a smaller city or town. And make no mistake - this program TREATS you. Each stay they have they utilize all the connections they have made over the years to give you a truly special experience in each city. Guides who know secrets of the city, dinners at the best restaurants, private museum tours that create an unbeatable experience. I will remember the overnight trips in Poland for the rest of my life.

Academically, if you are a business student, this is an exceptional opportunity. You study at The Warsaw School of Economics, and the education, while not being exceptionally tough (coming from a US background) is a unique glimpse into material from a different source. As an economics student, I loved learning about more specific topics to where I want my career to go from a country in stages of growth and development. I think this is key to broadening one's knowledge base.

For non-business students, there are plenty of other course options that allow you get a look into different facets of Polish society- whether it be cultural, literary, historical, political, or religious. Furthermore, many of these involve Poland on an international scale, meaning plenty of classes where the European Union is explained and discussed in depth. I believe a Poli-Sci major would thrive here in particular. But most importantly, there is something for everyone offered here.

As far as studying the language, the instruction is excellent and can turn someone from a tourist to a resident. How much you want to practice outside of class is up to you, but the tools they provide are excellent. Personally, I can survive in Poland having not known a single word before my flight to Warsaw.

Parents, read here: Warsaw is very safe. Any "unsafe" parts of the city are basically so far out of the way that I have never had the need to be there. Central Warsaw has a calming police presence at all hours, Old Town is as safe as can be, and Mokotow, where we live and go to school (only 10 minutes apart) is a quiet residential neighborhood in the city. Many cities in the US are FAR less safe than Warsaw. If you can handle yourself there, you can handle yourself in Warsaw.
Parents, stop reading here.
To the students: Warsaw nightlife, like any good capital city- has something for everyone. Casual drinks with friends? Check. Clubs open til early morning? Check. Shot bars? You bet. Highlights to consider - makeshift barbecues on the banks of the Vistula with some friends (warm weather only), a classy club in the basement of the Opera, and Czupito (look it up). Even if you don't drink, the nightlife here is so much fun.

Honestly, there isn't enough I could say about Warsaw. If you want to stay within your comfort zone, go to Ireland, go to London, go to one of infinite programs in Rome or Paris. Going into my semester abroad, I knew I'd have to dive into something totally new to really get everything out of the once in a lifetime experience that being abroad is. You can study in those cities, and that's fine. I'm sure it will be unforgettable. Or you can choose Warsaw and just visit those wonderful places on your spring break or for a weekend trip.

If I was to do it all over, I would choose once again to embrace the wonderment, excitement, and nervous uncertainty of going somewhere that most would never consider.

How can this program be improved?
The only downside to this program, in some eyes, is that you must stay in a dorm. Personally I welcomed this as an easier way to make student friends, but I can see where you may want other options. Personally, I do not think there is any way to make this program better.

Do it.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Eimi
8/10

A land of great food, loud music, and dancing bodies, one cannot define Ghanaian culture without mentioning it's richness. With a loving and caring staff such as that of CIEE Legon, it is hard to find yourself in any sort of predicament without someone there willing to guide you. The people of this country are welcoming and generous. Although ladies, keep in mind that sometimes this extroversion can lead to persistence to get romantically involved with you, to exchange numbers, or to be your friend. Especially if you are from an English speaking country. Be ready to gain a bit more self confidence in bustling market places where you must bargain and hold your ground against people who are willing to grab you to gain your attention. It may overwhelm a few at first, but soon you'll be able to stand your ground if you couldn't already do so. This experience may get you slightly uncomfortable if you are weary of dust especially during dry season, but it will allow you to also appreciate a life without A/C at all hours of the day.

How can this program be improved?
There could be more information of race relations for people of color coming to a country where they will call you "white" regardless of your background. This can be upsetting and is frankly rude, but it is the way that they view the rest of the world.
Yes, I recommend

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