I relied heavily on reviews when making my study abroad decision, so I felt compelled to leave one myself. I spent the Spring 2017 semester in Alicante and as my review title suggests, it was the best decision I ever made.
Alicante is the perfect city to study abroad in, in my opinion. I wasn't looking for a larger city like Madrid or Barcelona because I wanted a more authentic experience with less foreigners and that's what I found in Alicante. Fewer people speak English, so you use and practice your Spanish much more (but you can definitely get by without being fluent- all my Track I friends were fine). Alicante is not a tiny city by any means though: amazing nightlife, busy airport with plenty of nonstop flights to major European cities (London, Dublin, Paris, etc.) and lots of people. It is an incredibly beautiful city and is within an hour of most destinations on the Costa Blanca (the region Alicante is in) like Calpe, Altea, Benidorm, etc. I would really recommend visiting as many of these sites as possible; they are all so breathtakingly beautiful.
The host families and landlords have been with the program for years so they truly are the best of the best. I am still in contact with my host family now that I am home. I really enjoyed my experience in a host family and would highly recommend it, but a lot of my friends also really loved their apartment experience so it all boils down to personal choice.
Coursework was not bad at all in my opinion. Most professors understand that you are abroad and try not to bog you down with work. I still feel like I learned a lot and grew in my Spanish abilities. The professors are also so sweet and care about their students. After turning in all my final exams, all my professors hugged us goodbye and wished us well. Track III and IV do not have Friday classes which was ideal for weekend travel.
The support from the staff was unbelievable. They are not just staff members, but your family for the semester. They will accompany you to the on-campus doctor, helped drive people to their internships, organize weekly activities like soccer, basketball, hiking, etc., and then bigger excursions to explore the Alicante region. They have free printing in the USAC office, so I would go in there to print something out and ended up hanging out with Luis, Sylvain, and Veronica for 30+ minutes just chatting.
I absolutely loved my semester in Alicante and would recommend anyone to do the USAC Alicante program!