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Spanish Studies Program in Alicante, Spain

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Enamorado con Espana

Because I was looking for a shorter program due to a summer job beginning in early May back at my home university, I stumbled upon the Spanish Studies Program with Spanish Studies Abroad in the beautiful city of Alicante, Spain. The city itself is located on the Mediterranean coast and has tons of charming, gorgeous little pueblos just a short train ride away, which allows for not only fulfilling day trips to exotic-looking locations, but also a day trip that fits right into your budget by using your tram pass that takes you to class daily and spending maybe a euro on another train. Your host mom even packs lunch and you can be back in time for dinner! If you don't want to travel, there's a beach just a hop, skip, and a jump from your home stay along with all the shopping you could imagine, bars, and wonderful cafes like my favorite, Canada Cupcake. I did not hear a single complaint about home stays from anyone in my program and I don't have a single one except I wish we lived closer and I could visit now! As for the ladies in the program, my only complaint is the same: that I miss them and wish we could visit! I have grown up in a very creative environment and am a performing arts major, so one difficult adjustment for me was the lack of opportunity to play instruments. These ladies looked high and low for a place where I could express myself musically and when their search came back fruitless, one of the wonderful ladies went so far as to offer her very own guitar to me! I was very impressed with that and though I declined, the sentiment was touching. My professors were equally concerned about our adjustment process and constantly checked in with us to make sure we were well-adjusted and enjoying our time abroad. One professor I had for most of the semester was named Santiago and he was by far the best professor I have ever had. He taught us new vocabulary to express ourselves better, only spoke in Spanish but made sure we understood every single word, and checked in with us one-on-one to discuss our plans for our vacations, weekend trips, and to hear about our adventures. Last but not least, I was lucky enough to have saved enough and lived frugally enough in Spain to be able to visit 14 countries! That included meeting family I had in Paris and Germany. I did most of this by train over our long spring break and backpacking through Europe is an experience I would not trade for anything. However, every weekend I did travel somewhere else as well. I visited the beautiful Barcelona, San Sebastian, Madrid, Mallorca, and Bilbao in Spain (along with the little nearby pueblos I mentioned earlier). My program also had free trips to the castle in Alicante, Granada, and Valencia! This program was truly a blessing to my life, gave me the opportunity to see a large portion of Europe, and gave me the support and confidence to travel (alone at times) to see what I wanted to see. I would highly recommend this program to anyone.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

A Sunny and Fun Culture

Spanish Studies Abroad in Alicante has been a fantastic program! The staff successfully makes us feel at home! We learn the ins and outs of the city and Spanish culture. While taking classes and learning a lot!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Alicante became my home away from home.

It was a summer I will never forget! My host family treated me like a member of the family, my professors pushed me to greatly excel in my language skills, and the culture captivated me with the richness of its food, music, and atmosphere.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Social Life

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Academics

    9

It was a great choice!

It was a great choice! I’m glad I signed up for the 2 semesters!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

The Perfect Immersion Experience

Coming to Alicante during the summer is an amazing immersion experience.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

CC-CS: An Outstanding Program in a Great City

I spent fall term of 2011-12 in Alicante, studying Spanish through CC-CS' Semi-Integrated Program. Basically, I was dual-enrolled in Advanced Spanish Studies (CC-CS) and the University of Alicante. I am SO happy that I picked CC-CS for my study abroad, and I highly recommend it to others.

CITY: Alicante is a small city located in southern Spain. It doesn't have the hustle and bustle of Madrid, Barcelona, or Sevilla, but in some ways that is preferable. Unlike those cities, Alicante is fairly easy to adjust to, so you spend most of your time learning Spanish and less time getting accustomed to the area (You can always visit the big cities on weekends!). It's also less overrun with tourism, although there is still a major international presence through the European ERASMUS study programs and European tourism (especially Germans and Brits in the summer). Alicante is beautiful -- it has two major beaches with soft, white sand. It's warm enough to swim in October, and the winter is relatively mild. The climate here is just great -- if you come to Alicante, ignore the student handbook CC-CS sends and bring shorts. You'll roast otherwise (like me).

ACADEMICS: The academics here are great, but they are also what you make of them. CC-CS has a Spanish-Only policy, but it's very difficult to enforce. If you genuinely want to speak Spanish, you need to take initiative and speak Spanish all the time. Don't speak English, ever. Otherwise you might as well be in Spanish classes at your home university in America. CC-CS has great teachers, as does the University of Alicante. The workload is not difficult -- the emphasis here is on learning rather than grades.

ACCOMMODATION: CC-CS sets you up with a host family. This is one of the best parts of the program -- DO IT! Living with a homestay gives you a unique insight into Spanish day-to-day life. In some ways, I learned a lot more about Spain from my host mother than I did in class. I did not meet anyone with a good attitude who had a problem with their homestay. Treat your host family with respect and courtesy, and you will be treated in the same way.

SOCIAL LIFE: Alicante is known as something of a party city -- there are T-shirts all over town that say, "Soy Alicantino, Borracho y Fino" (I'm From Alicante, and I'm Drunk and Fine). So the social life here is booming -- from the "Barrio" to the old port, you can always find a great bar or club. Night life is a lot more affordable in Alicante than it is in Barcelona or Madrid. That said, make a concerted effort to avoid foreigner bars if you're trying to integrate yourself into Spanish life. Bars like Desden and Mulligan's are packed with English-speaking foreigners -- go where the Spaniards are!

Academics:
The academics are not difficult here -- you'll worry less about grades than about improving your Spanish! The teaching staff with CC-CS and the CSI (Centro Superior de Idiomas) is outstanding. You'll learn a ton, provided you really work at it outside of class.

The first six weeks are called the "Intensive Period" -- you have tons of grammar classes, and you work on the fundamentals before getting to the specifics. After, you have the opportunity to take various electives.

The only thing preventing CC-CS from getting an A or A+ in this section is the fact that some electives are not separated by language ability. For example, if you take an elective class in literature as an advanced student, you could be in the same class as students who barely speak Spanish. It holds back the advanced students, and confuses the beginners. But CC-CS in Alicante is a growing program, so hopefully this will change soon!

Living Situation:
CC-CS sets you up with a host family -- mine was OUTSTANDING. The food was awesome, my room was clean, and my host mother was as hospitable as you can imagine.

Be prepared to sacrifice some of that independence you enjoy back in the States. As a host student, you'll be parachuting into a Spanish family, and you'll be expected to be like part of the family. Keep your "mom" posted on your hours and whereabouts -- they aren't going to control you, but it's just a common courtesy to make their own planning easier.

I HIGHLY recommend living with a host family. You learn a ton that you simply can't learn in class.

Cultural Immersion:
CC-CS makes an earnest effort to integrate students into Spanish life. There are frequent events -- some mandatory, some optional -- for students wishing to immerse themselves.

All students are required to have an "intercambio," or speaking partner. This is a great program, but requires some amount of initiative on your part to make sure that you find time to meet. The CC-CS will help you out -- if you have a problem, just ask!

Program Administration:
Can't say enough good things about the CC-CS staff at Alicante. Pepa is the program director, and as they say in Spain, she is a "maja total." She's a great person -- incredibly warm, hospitable, and inclusive. She goes out of her way to make sure that everyone is squared away academically and socially, and will go the extra mile for you any time you need. Marisa is Pepa's right hand (the director's assistant) and she'll send you lots of emails, but she is full of useful knowledge and always ready to help students.

Health and Safety:
Alicante is very safe -- obviously, exercise discretion. At night there are tons of people walking around, and there are plenty of police officers. So you don't need to really worry about violent crime. There are some barrios you should avoid, but there is no real reason you should be in those barrios anyway late at night (they are nowhere near the campus or the downtown).

Most of the crime you'll encounter is petty crime, especially at El Postiguet, the city beach. Never leave your wallets, purses, watches, etc. unattended by your beach stuff. There is a pretty good chance it'll get swiped.