Why not teach abroad through CIEE? They offer a wide range of programs throughout the world and help their participants with each step of the process, from the moment you start applying until your certificate of completion arrives in the mail. For me, they came highly recommended from my university. But even then, I did a lot of research and careful consideration before choosing an organization and program. So why did I choose CIEE? Let me break down my reasons for you.
Why I Chose CIEE
- They offered an immersive, short-term program. Having studied abroad in an urban setting with fellow American students in college, I knew that I wanted a homestay in a rural setting this time around. While there are other organizations that offer homestays, they can be hard to find and not all met my criteria. I didn’t feel ready to commit to a year-long program, nor did I want my own apartment on a short-term contract. CIEE’s short-term volunteer in Spain program allowed me to become immersed in Spanish culture by living in a rural setting, but didn’t require me to stay longer than three months. In this way, I got a taste of Spain without making an uncomfortable commitment.
- They offer something for everyone! Having limited experience with children and teaching before going abroad, CIEE’s short-term volunteer program was reassuring to me because I knew that I could get experience teaching English as a Second Language without being the head teacher. In this way, I got to enjoy working with the kids and honing my teaching skills without the stress of formal lesson plans or being the main disciplinarian. Essentially, this program allowed me to be a classroom observant and student teacher without ever having to be an education major. However, CIEE also offers programs for anyone who wants to be a head teacher, or work with older students as well. In all, their many options will help you create the teaching experience you want in the country of your choice!
- They work for you! While I may consider independently job-hunting abroad someday, the idea sounds a bit daunting at present. With CIEE, I didn’t have to worry about finding my own placement or housing, nor things like travel insurance or transportation to my host’s home from the airport. CIEE takes care of all of that for you and helps get you from one step to the next with minimal stress. Their multiple pre-departure checklists, pre-departure on-line course, and in-country orientation, all help make sure you’ve taken care of everything from vaccines and fingerprinting to preparing for your first class. On top of that, they also offer in-country support throughout the duration of your program, so there is always someone there to assist with any issues that might arise.
- They are legitimate! One of my concerns while researching programs was whether I could trust whatever random organization I found on the internet. I didn’t have to worry about legitimacy with CIEE though, because they have developed a reliable and well-known reputation. I knew I could trust them because my university recommended them and several of my peers were also familiar with them, either by having traveled through them already, or being in the midst of applying to travel with them.
- They are affordable. While fronting the program fee and flight costs may take some hard-earned savings, CIEE’s fee is reasonable in relation to the amount of work they do for you. In fact, this particular program is pretty economical because your host family takes care of many necessities for you. A round-trip flight will cost you the same no matter how long you plan to stay abroad and CIEE’s $900 fee spans your three month stay in Spain, as well as the months before your program in which CIEE is offering you pre-departure support. They even provide you with travel insurance that covers your overseas travel for about a year, even if your program duration is shorter than that. This fact means that you are covered for personal travel as well! Other than that, in-country travel can be relatively cheap and how much you spend is largely up to you. Overall, $900 for a three month program is pretty reasonable.
Ultimately, CIEE offered me the kind of experience I was looking for, was reputable, fit my budget, and helped me along the way. Through this organization, I was able to be more immersed in another culture than ever before by living in a small town with a host family and working in the community. Being an assistant teacher allowed me to have fun with the students without the responsibility of being a full teacher and I didn’t even break the bank along the way! Basically, CIEE is an excellent choice if you are in the process of choosing an organization. So what are you waiting for? Start applying today!