CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange



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.


300 Fore St.
Portland, ME 04101
United States


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This trip completely altered the plans I had for myself. I gained so much knowledge about complex topics through this experience. For me, I had been so accustomed to learning things from one perspective in a classroom environment. But it's so much different to actually visit these sites and see where Nazis had occupied. I was taking the Rise and Fall of Central European Totalitarianism and it was amazing to see the effects that specific government structures has made on the country-- the types of architecture, the outward attitudes of the people of the Czech Republic, etc..
I had been so set on following a plan before going on this trip and that has completely changed. I want to have more diverse opportunities similar to the ones I had in Prague! As for a tip, check out a introductory language resource before arrival. Not as many speak English as I had expected and I wish I had prepared a little more.

Yes, I recommend
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This program offers an intense, rewarding experience in a beautiful country. Your schedule will be full - from field trips to homework to exploring to projects and everything in between - and you are really getting the most out of two months abroad. Although based in Monteverde, the field trips allow you to see all of the different ecosystems and areas Costa Rica has to offer. Throughout the summer you are experiencing the culture, but especially during the homestay. The classes are in depth and are beneficial for the future. Personally, I really appreciated the independent research course because it helped me understand the research process, which will benefit my future career pursuits. The staff were so helpful and were willing to go above and beyond to make sure you have an amazing time. Plus, you will make so many new friends and share so many memories. 10/10 would recommend this program!!

Yes, I recommend
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Barcelona is far and away the best city for an American student to study abroad in at any level of Spanish proficiency. The following are just a few of things that make the city so great for anyone: gorgeous architecture, delicious, diverse, and reasonably priced food, the city is walkable and public transportation is clean and efficient, the city is safe, you have easy access to the beach, mountains and a major international airport, the people are friendly, exciting nightlife, its warm, and the pace of the culture makes every day feel like a vacation. Consequentially, there are thousands of students who study in the city and even more that come to visit with limited command of the native tongues and have a great time. Being a student in CIEE's ALA program is amazing because you surround yourself with students who are looking to and able to get (due to their language ability and commitment to improving it) the most out of the experience by having a true cultural immersion experience in addition to the more tourist like cultural experiences that other programs provide to low level Spanish speakers. With the cultural and communication abilities that ALA helped me improve and gain confidence in, I managed to immerse myself in the culture by joining a neighborhood basketball team, enjoying bocadillos (Tasty Spanish sandwiches) and cañas (lunch time brews) with local and fellow CIEE students (and on one occasion a professor) after class. Further, I was fortunate enough to live with a Catalan family who was deeply involved in the local community both socially and politically. Living with Anna and Kike, whom I grew very close to and now write to regularly, I had opportunities to discuss the politics of Catalan independence and American policies with educated Catalan professionals, attend local Sunday mass, participate in family functions, and even engage in local dogs' rights protests. Inside and outside of class I was learning new things and honing my language abilities. Despite the true cultural immersion, ALA still allows you to have plenty of opportunity to get the more stereotypical study abroad experience with plenty of opportunities to hang out with, party, and travel with other Americans- which which while less enriching is a very fun time. In conclusion, despite going to Vanderbilt, a school consistently ranked at the top as having the happiest students, I have never seen so many kids having the times of their lives of their lives as I did during this semester in Barcelona.

Yes, I recommend

I'm writing this review as my program is winding down and I have one week left. The first seven weeks flew by, and they have been nothing but amazing so far. The first week is somewhat of a drag because you will be adjusting to the time change and I guess that most people will not be used to the heat. The good news is that the international student dorm is beautiful, excellent A/C and Western style bathrooms (don't worry, no squatty potty); however, you will have to get used to the hard beds in China. After going through orientation for a few days you begin class on Wednesday, and there is no hand-holding, you will jump right in. You will spend four hours in a classroom Monday through Thursday, and then a test at the end of each week on Friday. Fear not, you get a ten-minute break every hour and the last hour of class is broken up into focus groups, which are groups of two to three students meeting with a TA who will review what was learned in class that day. After the first week, you will finish adjusting to everything, the class included, and you will see a noticeable difference in your Chinese speaking after about ten days to two weeks. After you've adjusted to the course you will want to go out and explore Shanghai, plainly speaking, the city is massive. You need to try 小笼包 (xiao long bao) as soon as possible, they are a Shanghai classic and known as soup dumplings in the US. There are never-ending sights to see and museums to visit, and each part of the city has its flavor. I recommend going to the Bund at night and look across the river to see the skyline lit up; the view will take your breath away. If you want to go out and night, which I'm sure many college students will want to do, then there are plenty of great bars and clubs throughout Shanghai for you to visit. You will never be bored in this city, I promise you that. Once you feel confident enough in your Chinese, I highly recommend going to visit the fake market in the Shanghai Museum of Science and Technology subway station to try your hand at some bargaining. The market serves as a great place to improve your spoken Chinese and to buy gifts for family and friends. This program has changed my life, as I look back on my seven weeks here I realize how I've become more independent and confident, and my Chinese is as different as night and day from what it was before. If you come to Shanghai, come with CIEE.

Yes, I recommend
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This Summer Korean Studies program CIEE offers a wide variety of experiences for students who are inexperienced with studying abroad or traveling in general! Instead of studying abroad alone without guidance, this program provides students the ability to connect with others as well as planned activities and excursions!

When it comes to cultural activities, the program is able to introduce students to cultural diversity in Korea. Many of the excursions and events that are offered by the program are lead by experienced staff members who know there way around Korea. Excursions that were provided in this current program such as temple visits, city exploration, village tours, etc, provided great opportunities for cultural immersion! Through these excursions, I was able to make a variety of friends with other students and staff members.

What's great about this program is that it offers students opportunities to be independent when it comes to exploration! I specifically remember a memory where the program staff allowed my group of friends and I to explore the city of Seoul at the beginning of the program. We were trying to find Gyeongbokgung Palace, but we ended up in Gangnam at a 'royal palace', which was just a hotel due to a mistake my friend made. It was a hilarious, memorable experience since it was my first time using the Seoul subway system. My group ended up going for tacos at the end of the day in Gangnam, but I enjoyed this delightful misadventure!

I recommend students who participate in this program to go outside of their comfort zone and take advantage of opportunities available in this study abroad experience! I've participated in quite a few fun activities in the program, including cultural activities that can be reimbursed by the program! I also recommend students to do research about South Korea and what is offered in this program! There are many things to do in this wonderful country, and it's best if students can plan in advance what they want to do in South Korea!

I was able to meet amazing friends and experience different cultural events throughout the program! These memories will be unforgettable as time passes, and I hope to enjoy more studying abroad experiences like this one in the future!

How can this program be improved?
It would be great if this program offered students more advice about financing! Specifically, budgeting and banking are two of the things I would emphasize!
Yes, I recommend


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