Here's what you get when you study abroad with CEA in Alicante:
While CEA highly recommends that you choose one of our Alicante housing options provided, you also have the option to arrange independent housing. If your ideal housing scenario includes living in a particular neighborhood, having specific amenities or living with a specific person as your roommate, then independent housing could be just the ticket for you.
Use the online housing application form to request permission for this option no later than the application closure date. If your request is approved, you will receive a rebate for your housing payment, however CEA will not provide you with any assistance setting up independent housing. Keep in mind, rebates are not granted to students who move out of their CEA housing or choose to pursue independent living arrangements after the application closure date.
During your stay abroad in Alicante, you’ll have the opportunity to complement your academic program by participating in the fieldtrips organized by our Resident staff. These trips are designed to explore and discover the hidden jewels of our province and region while exposing you to our local culture and unique traditions. Whether you hike up the Peñon de Ifach in Calpe, the largest rock in the Mediterranean and the smallest natural park on our Region, or travel to the interior of our province to discover the Algar Fountains, or visit the capital of our Region Valencia and the oceanographic, one of the largest aquariums in Europe. Each visit will keep a balance between organized cultural tours, social activities and free time to explore the sites on your own.
Enjoy the opportunity to venture outside of your host city and explore the surrounding area! Excursions are offered for all semester, year, and summer programs; short-term programs do not include excursions. You’ll receive a calendar of the specific CEA excursions offered for your program during orientation. To give you an idea of the possibilities, we’ve collected some experiences from past.
From the port of Alicante, a 45-minute ferry ride carries you to Tabarca Island, the only inhabited island of the Autonomous Community of Valencia. This natural marine reserve is a prime example of virtually undamaged Mediterranean marine life, with excellent water quality, and incredible biodiversity. During the tour, you’ll learn about the island’s history; once a pirate refuge, the island’s only village was settled by a group of Genoese sailors in 1770 after they were rescued from a shipwreck off the Tunisian coast. After touring the island, you’ll enjoy delicious paella and relax on a tranquil beach.
Calpe y el Peñon de Ifach
No matter which way you approach the community of Calpe, it’s impossible to miss the Peñon de Ifach. Since the days of the Phoenicians, this 1,089-foot-tall rock has protected Calpe Bay from pirates and raiders. Today, this massive monolith is a nature preserve — home to more than 300 species of wildlife and many rare plants — and the largest rock in the Mediterranean. In the morning, watch the fishing boats leave the Calpe harbor in droves. They’ll return at day’s end, followed by flocks of sea birds, and sell their catch at the quayside auction house. So, head to nearby restaurants to feast on the result of a hard day’s work.
One of the Costa Blanca’s most memorable coastal towns, Altea retains its own unique Spanish charm despite its increasing popularity. This picturesque town nestles between a stunning bay and a rugged mountain range and is named for the Moorish term althaya, or “health to all”. Set on a steep hillside above the sea, Altea has long been a popular retreat for artists, sculptors, and writers. In the city center, you’ll find a treasure trove of shops, galleries, cafes, and tiny white-washed buildings adorned with flowers, all nestled in winding and cobbled medieval lanes. At the top, you’ll see the blue-domed of the Virgin de Consuelo church. The walk to the top is well-worth the hike, as the mountain and bay views are nothing less than spectacular – plus, you’ll find a square lined with tapas bars.
Travel to the interior of Alicante province to the small town of Algar, where an abundance of water and a mild climate allow for the cultivation of Mediterranean products such as almonds and vines in traditional terraces. We’ll visit the Algar Fountains and see the springs and waterfalls of the Algar River. Hiking up the river provides the perfect opportunity to photograph the beautiful scenery.
Castel de Guadalest
The ancient village of Guadalest is one of the highest points in Alicante and an iconic image from the Costa Blanca. The elegant, freestanding bell tower is located near a tunnel that provides access to the old center of El Castillo de Guadalest. This town is also known for its local artisans and is a great place to purchase locally made pottery and crafts. The castle of Guadalest has played an important role in the region’s history due to its strategic location.
During our visit to Valencia, we’ll explore the Valencia’s old district, home to the Silk Market and the Mercado Central, a colorful market in a beautiful Modernist building. On our tour, keep your eyes peeled for the many architectural styles represented throughout the city, from Gothic to Baroque and Romanesque. At the Museo de Bellas Artes San Pio V, you can explore one Spain’s outstanding collections of primitive Valencian paintings. Later, we’ll visit the City of Arts and Sciences and the largest aquarium in Europe, El Oceanographic.
Once the capital of Al-Andalus, Granada was the center of the Arab kingdom that ruled much of Spain for eight centuries. CEA’s Granada excursion takes you through the city’s historic district, the Old Arab Market, and the Royal Chapel of the Catholic Monarchs by the Cathedral. Tour the Albaicin, a painter’s paradise where a gorgeous view awaits at every turn. Enjoy free time to take in a Flamenco show or relax in Tea Shops Street. Our excursion concludes with a visit to the Alhambra, Spain’s most visited monument.
As Spain’s capital and largest cosmopolitan city, Madrid is known for its liveliness, friendly locals, and innovative art and culture. Explore the Prado Museum, which houses Spanish and European paintings from the 12th to 18th century; modern art enthusiasts won’t want to miss the acclaimed Reina Sofia National Art Centre. Stroll around Madrid’s most famous arcaded square, the Plaza Mayor, and visit the Royal Palace and El Retiro, Madrid’s largest and most beautiful park. In Spain’s vibrant capital city, cultural diversity and world-famous art museums ensure that there’s something for everyone’s taste.
Toledo is one of Spain’s many luxurious treasures. Since the Middle Ages, Toledo has been a cradle of Western culture and an example of tolerance and coexistence between the historic Jewish, Muslim, and Christian populations in the area. Upon arrival in Toledo, a local guide will lead us through this medieval city, including the cathedral, Santo Tomé Church with el Greco’s famous “El Entierro del Conde de Orgaz,” and the synagogue. The next day, we’ll explore the convents and tour San Roman church. After visiting Toledo, you’ll understand its reputation as the “City of the Three Cultures.”
Explore the unique flavors of Alicante! CEA offers cultural activities to match your interests. Whether you enjoy concerts, clubs, sports, cooking classes, language exchanges, or something entirely different, our cultural activities help you get involved in local culture.
Hike to Santa Barbara Castle
Hike to Santa Barbara Castle, located 545 feet up Mount Benacantil. This strategic fortress has overlooked the bay since the 9th century, when the Iberian Peninsula was under Arabic control. On December 4, 1248—also known as the feast day of Saint Barbara—Prince Alfonso of Castile captured the castle, giving the fortress its name. Over the next few centuries, the Castle was used as a fortress, as a prison, and reconstructed and abandoned many times until opening to the public in 1963.
Visit to MARQ Museum
During our visit to the Archeological Museum of Alicante, you’ll learn about the city and region's past. In the prehistory gallery, explore the Paleolithic to Bronze eras and learn about early hunter-gatherers, the appearance of metals, and the influence of Iberian culture, economy, and religion until the Romans arrived. Roman influence lasted until the 4th century, when the medieval times gallery reflects the influence of the many different cultures that lived together in Alicante: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Last, the modern and contemporary rooms bring the years 1500 to 1931 to life, describing significant events during the industrialization and modernization of Alicante.
Rutas Alicantinas are designed to acquaint you with the city and province of Alicante. On these short, fun tours, you’ll have the opportunity to experience the city’s surroundings, traditions, festivities, and resources first-hand. Rutas may include visits to:
La Villa and el Museo del Chocolate: La Villajoyosa, or “La Villa” as the locals call it, means “Jeweled Town.” This village is famous for its brightly colored houses and its outstanding chocolate. Visit one of Spain’s oldest chocolate factories, long the economic core of the city and exporter of fine chocolates.
El Campello and La Lonja del Pescado: Just four miles down the Costa Blanca lies the fishing village of El Campello. Pass through Paseo
Maritimo and La Lonja: Here you'll find the live fish trade, the watchtower, built in 1554 to protect against invasions, and La Isleta, a small peninsula that houses Iberian and Greek remains.
Elche and El Palmeral: Elche is home to Europe’s largest palm grove—home to more than 11,000 palm trees—and hosts the sacred representation of the “Mystery of Elche,” a liturgical drama that’s been enacted since the Middle Ages. Together, the grove and the drama have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Elche is a must see for those who love history and tradition.
Volunteering abroad is a smart way to engage with your host culture and community, expand your vocabulary, and meet local Alicantinos while helping others. You can volunteer in many ways, such as joining the Alicante Volunteer Association, helping at the animal shelter, using your time and skills to help others, or volunteering on campus. Potential volunteer sites include:
Become an active member of the Volunteering Center in Alicante. You can participate in events like blood drives, toy gathering campaigns, helping minority groups, or assisting at beneficiary concerts, just to name a few.
Missing your furry friends back home? Volunteer at AsoKa El Grande animal shelter, a non-profit organization whose main goal is to denounce the abandonment and mistreatment of animals. This association promotes animals’ wellbeing and manages adoptions, giving about 70 animals a second lease on life each year. You can help through dog walking, feeding, helping maintain installations, and administering medication.
Volunteer on campus! You can help organize events, participate in informative sessions, and assist other students to make the most of the college life experience.
*Please note: If you intend to volunteer, intern, or participate in service learning with children, you must obtain a criminal background check prior to departure for your program. Please contact your Site Specialist for more information.
Language Exchange Program/Intercambios
You want to hone your Spanish skills, they want to practice their English…win-win! Intercambios are designed for those who wish to practice the Spanish language outside the classroom. We’ll set up an initial meeting and introduce you to Spanish college students; you’ll choose a partner and exchange contact information with the goal of getting together and practicing your language skills. It’s a great way to meet locals and immerse in Alicante culture. Intercambios take place several times during the semester; you can also arrange individual meetings through our One-on-One Intercambio Program.
Introduction to the Culture of Wine
Winemaking, a long-standing tradition across Alicante and the Comunidad Valencia region, has been around since the Neolithic era. Enjoy an introduction to viticulture (the study of grapes) and oenology (the study of wine); you’ll learn about different types of grapes and wine, and how its produced and stored. With the help of an instructor, sample some of Alicante's and Spain’s most represented wines and learn to detect nuances.
Curso de Tapas and Cocina Española
Without a doubt, one of Spain’s main attractions is its world-renowned cuisine. In collaboration with the Centro Superior de Idiomas de la Universidad de Alicante, CEA is excited to offer the opportunity to immerse into Spanish culture through gastronomy. During this activity, you will learn and practice techniques to prepare authentic Spanish dishes and tapas.
Hercules Club de Fútbol
Take in a professional soccer match; the Hercules de Alicante Club de Fútbol, S.A.D. is Alicante’s home team. It was founded in 1922 and currently plays in the second division B. Games are held during the weekends at the Estadio Jose Rico Perez, which seats 30,000 spectators.
Interested in music? Apply to participate in the selection sessions for the UA choir or join an amateur practice session to meet musicians or play in a local band. The goal is developing a meet-up center for all musicians on campus and promoting music through public performances.
Calling all film enthusiasts! UA’s film club was founded in 1997 to promote film culture among the college community. The club organizes on-and off-campus activities, like film workshops, film cycles, and conferences with film professionals. Don’t forget to check out the materials and movies available at the filmoteca.
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (MACA)
During our program, you will have the opportunity to visit MACA, located in the historic center of our city in front of the Basilica de Santa Maria. MACA’s purpose is to research, study, exhibit, and promote contemporary art.
Museo de Bellas Artes Gravina (MUBAG)
Art lovers won’t want to miss our visit to MUBAG, hosted in a historical building in the city center. The museum houses paintings and sculptures of Alicante from the 16th century to the early decades of the 20th century. MUBAG is home to nearly 500 works, including some of the most important regional painters of the 19th century and collections reflecting major trends like historicism, customs, portraits, and landscapes.
Museo de Hogueras
The Museo de Hogueras on La Rambla illustrates the history of the Fallas or Fogueres—a.k.a. the Bonfires of St. John—Alicante’s largest annual festival. During our visit, you’ll learn about this local tradition, which includes giant bonfires, parades, special foods, and the creation and burning of paper effigies. The museum houses samples of some of the best paper statutes that have been created in the history of this festival. For a week every June, experience Alicante to the fullest in this celebration of music, color, powder, and fire.
Visit the Museo Taurino to learn about bullfighting, a well-known Spanish tradition. This museum adjoins the Plaza de Toros, a bullfighting ring on Plaza de España square. It houses a permanent exhibition on bullfighters from Alicante and hosts film screenings and talks about the world of bullfighting.
Second to None
This is my second time going abroad with CEA, they do an incredible job. The experience of living and traveling abroad is second to none, it will change how you view the world.