CIEE Global Navigator

Program Reviews

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Xiu Ti
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Spending my time immersing myself in the Germany culture and language was definitely not my go-to option as to how I wanted to spend my summer. I wanted to go to the more "popular" European countries, the ones that are romanticized like Italy, France, England, or Greece. However, the one month I spent there was one of the best months I've ever spent anywhere. The people I've met through this program from the teachers to my host family to the friends I've made on this trip have been some of the most supportive people I know. I've always been a travel person, wanting to one day travel the world and going to Germany made me want to solidify that goal so much more. I fell in love with the German culture and language and would definitely recommend this program. Whether you just want to immerse yourself in a different culture, find a different setting to clear your mind or gain some experience under your belt, it's worth it.

What would you improve about this program?
Allow participants to answer more questions so the program can best match them to the most suitable host family because host families play such a big role in part of one's experience in the country.
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Saron
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My time abroad in Toulouse was the most life-changing experience. This program allowed me to grow as a person and also helped me better my French language comprehending and communication skills. Besides that, I was able to fully immerse myself in the French culture that I don't get to experience just from a classroom. CIEE does a great job planning activities that help the exchange students immerse themselves in the culture through the "Into the Community", activity is done to help students communicate and ask questions to locals. Although I got a wrong host family placement information until the day before my flight, I am very thankful that I was placed with an amazing family. They were kind and welcoming. They showed me a couple of French medieval cities, which is a great opportunity for me to even learn more about France.

What would you improve about this program?
Making sure CIEE sends the right information such as family placement on time.
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Meredith
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

To be completely honest, I was very scared and nervous going into this trip. I didn't know what to expect at all! My first week transitioning was a little hard because everyone was a little scared of opening up to all of these strangers. By the second week, however, I realized that I had been with the most amazing people who share a common interest with me and I became great friends with all of them to this day. The leaders of the trip were so nice and helpful throughout the entire trip but knew when to be strict with us for our safety. Living in Portugal for three weeks was an experience I will never forget. The culture and history was absolutely amazing (as well as eye opening to all of the differences between two countries) and the beautiful streets, buildings, and nature was the cherry on top. Every day there were activities on the itinerary as well as an hour or so of leisure time where you can roam around anywhere you want with a couple of buddies. That was probably the highlight of the trip since you can truly get firsthand experience with the country. Not to mention I learned so much about aquatic ecosystems and sustainability while on this trip that carried into my following years of education. I will always remember this trip and I will always recommend CIEE to anyone planning on studying abroad!

What would you improve about this program?
I can honestly say I can't think of anything to improve. After going over the trip in my mind, I remember the leaders were very organized and truly cared about our safety. Thank you CIEE for such a memorable summer.
Donessa
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My time in Portugal was truly a dream. The program I participated in lasted three weeks, and during it we traveled throughout Portugal. We explored different water ecosystems including swamps, river, and the Atlantic Ocean. We did this in a variety of fun ways including kayaking, surfing, and even taking a ride on multiple different types of boats. My favorite activity would have to be when we went dolphin watching . However it was the people that made my time in Portugal truly transformative experience. All of the program advisers and my fellow program members were so supportive and I made friends very quickly. We made great memories while traveling together on the bus and well-being in class or completing experiments. We were able to take the subway around the city and explore different locations together during our free time. In addition we had fun learning about Portuguese culture together and learning a bit of Portuguese in the classroom. We tried new food and listened to new music. As a result, we grew together. I would highly recommend this program is anyone who really enjoys water and who is interested in learning about a new culture. Be prepared for lots of swimming and stepping outside of your comfort zone.

What would you improve about this program?
I wish it was longer and I wish we did more nightime activities.
Mindy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This program was probably the best experience I have encountered thus far– the activities were very fun, the lectures were interesting and engaging, and everyone was so friendly. We went around different cities, which was very surprising to me, but I loved it since I got to see the different cultures from each individual city. I learned more about marine life that can be helpful for me in the future, especially since I am considering studying that in college. I also liked the Portuguese language classes, which I did not appreciate that much at the time of the program. I love learning new languages and it was incorporated very well. The activities were very fun, such as kayaking, going to the beach, and taking surfing lessons, but they also had educational aspects to them! I would 100% do the program again if given the opportunity!

What would you improve about this program?
There could be better lunches that accommodated to specific dietary needs.
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Sofia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I’d never been outside of North America, therefore entering China was a 7,144 mile step out of my comfort zone. Through the organisation CIEE, I was able to embark on this eye opening journey across the globe. It had been a feature of my bucket list to volunteer abroad, but it seemed like a goal I’d fulfill when I was past thirty! Fortunately, a poster in front of my classroom convinced me that perhaps it wasn’t that far off. As soon as I noticed the Global Navigators Scholarship, I realized it was possible; it elicited the turmoil of dread and excitement I have experienced far too little in my lifetime. The trip itself was incredible and seemingly impossible to describe, as is with most life changing events. Overall, China is incredible, but it became more so with the support of CIEE staff and my wonderful peers; there’s nothing like traveling with purpose, especially to a country as enriching as China! During this trip, I experienced an epiphany that I still remember to this day: countries that have ancient roots are very similar to each other, no matter their location. As someone who visits family in Mexico City often, my visit to Beijing produced a peculiar sense of familiarity I’d believed to be impossible due to the massive cultural differences. The structure of cities, some customs, the ratio of rural to urban areas, etc. were all reminiscent of a shared past. It was a life changing revelation for me to realize that humans are not as different as one might think. Not to mention the food is great in both places; If you’re attending this trip, please try some tofu! I’m a vegetarian, and the tofu in China is a blessing from the Veggie Gods— you can’t get anything like it in the United States. Food recommendations aside, enjoy your time there, for not many get the opportunity to immerse themselves in a beautiful culture such as China.

What would you improve about this program?
It would have been amazing to stay in more local villiages or with host families. Though the hotels were beautiful and comfortable (thank god for air conditioning), being there made me feel more like a tourist than a globe trotter.
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Tiffany
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Participating in CIEE HS Abroad was my first time ever out of the country, on an airplane, and traveling alone. I put 100% of my trust into a program had I just learned about and I have no regrets or complaints. Everything about the program from applying, to the online course, the unexpected yet expected emails, and to finally the trip itself plus all of the preparation leading up to it. It will always be a trip I will always vividly remember because of the staff, the program itself, and the unforgettable eyeopening and learning experience it gave me. I'll always reminisce the short three weeks and will always be grateful for the experience!

What would you improve about this program?
Possibly interacting with exclusively our groups before the trip.
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Kaitlyn
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This CIEE program impacted me because I had the chance to test the boundaries of my comfort zone. In order to be successful, you have to step outside of your comfort zone. It is all about experiencing things that make you nervous and uncomfortable. These feelings are also felt when you chase your dreams, and in order to chase my dreams, I had to leave my comfort zone.  
Leaving my comfort zone means gaining cultural appreciation and the realization that no two places in the world are the same. Every city, state, or country has something special and unique. Experiencing different cultures and ways of life are blessings because they allow me to live a lifestyle different than the ones I’ve previously experienced. This CIEE program impacted my college experience because it gave me a better sense of appreciation for what the world has to offer and likewise it will open my eyes to the diversity and indescribable beauty of places I’ve never been.  
This CIEE program did not only impact my college experience, but it helped me in my future career plans. After graduating Concordia University of Wisconsin with a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy and a minor in Spanish, I plan on making my mark in the world by using my experiences and knowledge to make a difference in the lives of others. Spanish will be useful since I plan to live abroad in a Spanish-speaking country and practice there. With the knowledge I have of culture minorities, I will be able to successfully practice in a way that doesn’t offend my clients. Helping people is a characteristic that I learned as a child. It gives me a sense of belonging, pride, and accomplishment. It is my obligation to give back, and this is one way that I will be able to share my knowledge with the world and truly make a difference. During this experience, I met so many new people from all around the United States as well as Spain. I’m very fortunate to have been able to take my family back to Spain to show them the city I studied abroad in. It was a beautiful thing for me to have been able to witness. As far as my favorite memory, it would have to be when we took a bus trip to Aracena and ended up jumping off of a bridge into a river while we kayaked and enjoyed the Spanish siesta time. I was terrified to jump, but with my new friends, we all jumped and it was such a fun memory! I haven’t ever had a feeling of adrenaline like that. I absolutely enjoyed every second that I spent in Spain.

What would you improve about this program?
The program was amazing, it was just really hard to travel for our excursions and really to make close friends. There were so many people in my specific program (about 50), so it was very crowded all the time.
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Kathleen
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Summer trip to Berlin was definitely a highlight of my life! It was scary traveling with a large group of strangers, but we all had the interests of entrepreneurship and travel in common, and many of us clicked right away! The combination of a city with intense history and a classroom setting in which we learned about a topic we enjoyed was phenomenal! Personally, I got a lot out of this trip because I got to meet someone within our group with the same sexuality as myself, and I briefly experienced the accepting culture of Berlin at a Pride celebration. Overall, my summer abroad has shaped who I am and who I will be: it made me more confident in myself, and sparked a passion for business endeavors now and in the future.

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Sydney
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Seville was a life changing experience. It was my first time out of the country, and it helped me gain a huge amount of confidence and independence. The most memorable experience was seeing the historic sites in Granada that had influences from Muslim, Jewish, and Christian cultures.In Seville, I kayaked under the same bridge that I would walk across every day to class. I also cooked paella, learned how to dance and met native Spanish people who I am still friends with. overall, it was an amazing experience and I recommend it to anyone who wants to have a better understanding of the Spanish language and culture.

What would you improve about this program?
The tablets we were given to use often malfunctioned