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Most memorable experience!
Submitted by Andrew Fig - - | September 26, 2017
My name is Andrew and I studied at the CIEE Rome Institute in the fall of 2016. This experience was one that I will truly remember for a lifetime. Dr. Follo and all of the staff at the Global Institute were the most amazing people one could have asked to have as mentors and faculty going abroad. Going abroad I was a little apprehensive since this was the first semester that the Institute was established, but I hopped on a plane and headed over to Italy. From the first day I arrived at orientation to my farewell dinner the experience provided by CIEE was far beyond what I, or my parents, had expected. The housing provided to us was well beyond what a traditional college dorm would have been and far better! With this housing and the peer mentor provided I developed friends for life, as well as a better understanding of the Italian culture. Our peer mentor was a local who really knew the in's and out's of the city and provided us with the best immersion opportunity we could have. The location of not only the housing, but the school as well, was perfect for everything. Centered right in the middle of Rome in a safe and happening area, we were provided the best of both worlds. The learning experience was one of the best I had ever had, from daily field immersion trips to get hands on with the material we were learning to the group trips we took to learn about the history, I can not express enough how amazing this was for my education. The professors were highly knowledgable and experts in their perspective field of study, which really allowed us to thrive and learn far beyond a traditional class. I can not thank Dr. Follo and the staff at the CIEE Rome Campus enough for the experience and memories for life. This is truly an astonishing experience for anyone and I recommend it to all who are thinking about going abroad.
If you're not sure where to study abroad....go down under!
Submitted by Zachary - University of Washington | September 13, 2017
Australia is one of those places that people often hear about, and associate with beaches and a laid back lifestyle. Well it is that, and SO much more! There is so much natural beauty, adventure, and a lot more diversity than I had originally imagined. The food is incredible, and people are absolutely warm and welcoming. CIEE Wollongong had a smooth and easy process prior to departure, upon arrival, and during the duration of stay. The advisers are beyond keen to help in any way they can, and are always trying to make the stay for students the best one possible. More than just advisers, they have become my friends and international connections, of whom I still keep in touch to date. As for the Uni and academic life, classes are run a bit differently than traditional US schools, but not in a bad way. What I loved most about the Wollongong program was the location. There are some of the most beautiful & non-crowded beaches just down the way, and hiking just down the other way on the beautiful mountain range. Everything is easily accessible via free bus or train. Speaking of train, it only takes roughly an hour to get to Sydney! I literally was there every single week, multiple times a week, because there is SO much to see and do. From new food places, to events, to nightlife and more beaches...you'll never have a boring week. I had the time of my life for a term there, that when I got back to the States, I longed to be back in Oz. So much so....that I went back for a second go! Yes, I did the CIEE program twice, and let me just say it was so worth it! I'd honestly do it again if I could. I highly recommend this program to anyone seeking adventure, a new but comforting environment, and independence in such a unique county and culture.
The Things I Lost and Gained in Morocco
Submitted by Hannah Lynch - University of Georgia | August 24, 2017
I remember it like it was yesterday. Boarding my flight from Paris to Rabat, I was excited and full of nervous energy. This being my first journey outside of my home country, I could hardly wait to step foot on Moroccan soil and meet my host family. Of course, some aspects of my eight-week experience worried me. For one, I didn't speak a word of Arabic. The language of sweeping letters and beautiful calligraphy was at once intriguing and daunting. Secondly, it would be the longest period of time I had spent away from my family, and with a family of a different faith than my own, during Ramadan, no less! As I entered my new home away from home, which was situated in the heart of Rabat's medina (the old part of the city) I was greeted with warm smiles and hot mint tea. It seemed we would get along just fine.
Thus began my two months in the magnificent Maghreb. Morocco chewed me up and spit out a completely different person. The at times grueling, but ultimately rewarding 6 hour school days provided me with just the rigor I needed to build a solid foundation in Arabic. I found myself speaking full phrases in mere days, and when I returned to the States, I had advanced to Arabic III. The excursions I took all enlightened me in unique ways. A trip to an Amazigh village in Marrakech taught me about the native people of the region, and gave me a new appreciation for them. The whistling dunes of the Sahara reminded me of just how small I was, and to be humble in all I do. The blinding white and electric blue of Chefchaouen gave me a glimpse into heaven- and a look at how I could coexist with those around me.
I always say this, but it bears repeating: The best part about Morocco is, by far, the people. Coming home to my host family every night and eating their mouth-watering cuisine (usually tajine!) was something I will never forget. This aspect of my trip was heightened during Ramadan, when, in the evening, the whole house seemed to be on the edge of their seat. In the pregnant pauses before the last call to prayer, signaling that the day's fast had ended, I learned an invaluable lesson about patience. The harira and dates we savored were manna to me, and I wasn't even fasting. In those dinners, I was also able to completely bond with the members of my family. After a while, I didn't even refer to them as my host family, only as family. On Eid, I felt a closeness that I had seldom experienced before or since. It was something I will cherish forever. The CIEE staff are incredible as well. They care so much about the students on the program, and bent over backwards for me multiple times. Between our sometimes seven hour conversations and the excursions we took together, I made what are sure to be lifelong friends. Moroccan kindness even extends to complete strangers, but who is really a stranger in Morocco? If you are willing to drink a pot of tea and have a meaningful exchange, you're as good as family.
The night before I departed, I sobbed uncontrollably. My family was right there with me, my host sister embracing me and crying with me. The bonds we forged will never be broken, and we still contact one another frequently. And so I returned, with a gift the new members of my family had given me, a more advanced understanding of the Arabic language, and a light heart. I had gained compassion, kindness, an open mind, and peace. I had lost my proclivity to anger, my preconceived notions of others, and my unnecessary worry and anxiousness.
My study abroad will be something I will keep with me for the rest of my life, and I will take the lessons I learned on it and apply them at home and elsewhere abroad. I could not recommend this program more.
An excellent option for anyone learning Chinese
Submitted by Andrew - University of Texas at Austin | August 18, 2017
The staff have been running this program for years, and their experience allows for a smooth transition into the country no matter what your situation. This is especially important if you don't have a lot of experience abroad, because the change of location can be jarring at first if you don't have a good support network. In addition to the staff, many of the local ambassadors have been participating for multiple semesters because of how much they enjoy the program, so you'll have local guides and friends who can answer many common questions and will help you begin your Taiwan adventure.
The Chinese language classes are held by National Chengchi University's Chinese Language Center, while elective courses are taught by CIEE faculty. My Chinese class was tough (5 days a week, 3 hours a day from 8am!) but I definitely improved during my time there. The elective class I took was Conversational Taiwanese and Taiwanese Culture. The professor was extremely passionate about the subject and made the learning as active as possible. Outside of class we would think of words we wanted to learn and write down things we heard people saying, and would bring them back to class to discuss and translate.
I lucked out with the group of students I had, as we all got along very well. There was always something to do with ambassadors and students, so there were very few dull moments.
If you choose the program, be prepared to do some walking though, the dorms are on the side of the mountain behind campus, and all the best food is down the mountain. My homie, the noodle master, in the basement of Dorm 9 makes great food, but sometimes it's good to switch things up a bit.
Perfect times in Tokyo
Submitted by Jason Belanger - Hofstra University | August 16, 2017
I had such a wonderful experience with CIEE in Tokyo. Honestly, I didn't have a single issue from the start of the process to the finish - while the application process was quite long and at times confusing, I had help and explanations every step of the way, and was never left without my questions answered. Once I was accepted, CIEE had a steady stream of info coming my way, and they laid out everything clearly with an online pre-departure orientation and lots of printed materials.
Once I arrived at the program, I was very impressed with how organized and high-quality everything was. All of our accommodations were top-notch and travel all went very smoothly. We had 2 days of traveling around before arriving in Tokyo (including stops at an onsen resort and Nikko Edo Wonderland) and once we arrived, we had a few days of more orientations and guiding activities before the academic portion started.
Overall, I couldn't have asked for a better trip. The CIEE Tokyo team is filled with such wonderful people, and they were always there to answer my questions and help me out whenever I needed it. I met friend I hope to stay with for life and had an experience like no other in Japan. I can't recommend this program enough!!