I am so beyond grateful that I chose to study abroad with CIEE Arts + Sciences in Hyderabad. Although I had been out of the US for brief trips before, this was the first time that I ever spent a prolonged period of time abroad. I was nervous. I was excited. I didn't know what to expect or what I was getting myself into. Fortunately, I absolutely had the time of my life and if I could relive the entire experience, I undoubtedly would.
The other reviews seem to have already provided a lot of substantive information, so I'll just share a few thoughts/observations/memories:
At first I did not think I wanted to do a homestay. However, I changed my mind upon arrival, and I am happy that I did. I lived with three other students in a home near campus with a wonderful Indian couple. Settling in off campus helped ease me into life outside of the university while introducing me to an amazingly gracious host family.
Classes are more lecture-oriented than I was used to. I took a course in the politics department and listening to the students discuss current events was fascinating. Also, campus is gigantic and learning to navigate it was a fun challenge. Bikes were provided to us and that certainly facilitated exploring.
I really made a point of familiarizing myself with the city's public transportation (bus, rickshaw, the MMTS train system). This made weekend and post-class jaunts around town a lot easier. Also, as was mentioned in other reviews, Hyderabad is centrally located within India and it isn't hard to get to a lot of other great travel destinations quickly (by bus or train). There is so much to do! It should also be noted that CIEE does a great job of helping everyone learn how to use the trains, rickshaws, buses, etc. when they arrive.
Study Abroad Cohort:
This was probably the best part. I made great friends and the shared experience of everything above made for an irreplaceable life-changing semester.