Not sure what program is right for you? Click Here

© 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Study Abroad in

Back to Program Back to Blog Home


Advanced Liberal Arts, Spring 2018, Newsletter I



Libertas perfundet omnia luce
When new students arrive at the Barcelona airport after a long transoceanic journey and make their way to the CIEE Advanced Liberal Arts program orientation, upon arrival they find students wearing CIEE shirts that welcome them, help them with their luggage and accompany them on the bus to the orientation location. These students, of the same age as the recent arrivals, are in fact, students of the same institution that will host the participants of this CIEE program: The University of Barcelona. Minutes later, after the bus has taken them from the airport to the center of the city, the students will get off at Hotel H10 Universidad, situated on the corner of Plaza de la Universidad. The hotel and plaza are named Universidad because both are in front of the historical University of Barcelona building. Founded in 1450, it is an institution without which you could not easily understand the history of this city or the country over the past 568 years. At CIEE, we want our students in the program to familiarize themselves with their new university from the very beginning. On the second day, they undergo the academic session and language assessment, which are administered by professors of the Philology Department at the UB.

(ALA students visiting the UB Old Main with Dr. Anna Vallugera, Professor of the CIEE course "Masterworks of Catalan Art"

What I’m trying to say is that for CIEE the relationship that we want our students to establish with the host institution is key for many reasons: it guarantees quality and indisputable academic rigor while also guaranteeing the level of integration and immersion of our students for whom, in any other way, it would be much more complicated. The professors that teach the ALA program courses are also professors of the UB. The university students that attend the linguistic exchanges are the same students that our students will cross paths with and share classes with in the different departments of the UB. And through the possibility of internship positions, or volunteer programs, our students may further strengthen their sense of belonging and expand their circle of contacts.

(Students after taking the Spanish language placement test in the UB Philology Department during the orientation)

The motto of the UB is “Libertas perfundet omnia luce” (Liberty fills everything with light). A few days ago, I wrote a brief message of gratitude to our new students for their attention and excellent behavior during the orientation. To it I attached this picture that I took during our visit to the UB Old Main, in the Rector’s office, where the Barcelona winter light was shining down on them. I sincerely wish them a term where libertas perfundet omnia luce…

SP181a(CIEE ALA students in University of Barcelona Rector's office)




Liberal Arts | Spring 2018 | Newletter I


It has been a month since Liberal Arts students arrived at Barcelona! They have been very busy with orientation, getting to know the city and their local institution, Pompeu Fabra and participating in a lot of cultural events. Here there are some details:

How millennials tell their experience through blogging

A lot of students share their study abroad experience through their blogs. Emily from Fisk University shared with us her amazing blog where she posts her views and pictures of her experience. This is what she wrote about the CIEE day trips to Tarragona or Girona: “I love this city! If you are a history buff- you would too! Filled with gorgeous little streets, ancient Roman ruins along the Golden coast, Tarragona is one for the books.” "The Arab baths were one of my favorite findings in Girona! These Arab baths are Romanesque construction (12th century) inspired by Roman baths, its most outstanding elements include the entrance, which was used as a changing room and relaxation area and is covered with a barrel vault, and the cupola covering the central pool, which is supported by slim columns with gorgeously capitals”.

You can check her blog in here:

Blog 5
Blog 5
Blog 5
Blog 5
Blog 5
Blog 5

Know the city with your skate

Gavin from University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and Madeleine from Barnard College are skaters that didn´t leave behind their hobby when they came to study abroad. They are getting to know Barcelona, its plazas, parks, trendy neighborhoods with their skate.

Here is Gavin´s testimony:


Visit to the Music Museum

We offered almost 30 different cultural activities students can do with our Guardian Angels  (local students) to get to get acquainted with the city the first weeks. These include among others: museums visits and tours; going to parks, open markets; historical landmarks, and trendy neighborhoods.  Some students visited the Music Museum in Barcelona. The museum exhibits around 500 music instruments from different ages and cultures and it’s considered as one of the most important music exhibition of Spain. Students learned about the history of instruments and had the opportunity to play some of them.   Foto música
Foto música


Language + Culture | Spring 2018 | Newsletter I


It has been a month since Language and Culture Arts students arrived in Barcelona! They have been very busy with their classes, getting to know the city and participating in a lot cultural events such as diverse tours to get to know the city, gym classes or day trips.

Here there are more details

Orientation, city tours and Three Wise Men parade

During the first three days of orientation, students attended different talks about health and safety, bystander intervention workshop, academics, cultural activities, intercultural competence and volunteering opportunities. It was also the time to meet their host families; get around the city with their Guardian Angels (Spanish students); and even enjoy de traditional Three Wise Men Parade that celebrates Epiphany in Spain. 

Foto tour

Foto tour

Getting to know Catalonia

CIEE is offering a wide range of weekly day trips so students get to know other parts of Catalonia. Students are enjoying their trips to the mountains of Montserrat, the Roman city Tarragona; or the city of Girona and the Dalí Museum.

Foto tour
Foto tour
Foto tour 

Neuroscience for Humanities course

Our host institution, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, offers a class called Neuroscience for Humanities. This class is specially addressed for Pre-med or STEM students.  The course starts with a general overview of the brain to then review how the sensory systems build up a representation of the world, with particular reference to the visual and auditory systems.  Christopher, a STEM student from Vanderbilt University commented: “This class is very interesting because it connects neuroscience with humanities. We are going to visit the National Catalan Art Museum to look at the paintings from the neuroscience point of view.”


Economics + Culture, Spring 2018, Newsletter I


A new semester has begun and this new group of Economic + Culture students has already had the chance to get adapted to the city, their courses at CIEE and their host institution, UPF. Dan, from Colby College, wanted to participate in an interview to explain his thoughts on the first weeks of the semester, the excitement of this new time in his life and the differences that he’s experienced so far. Check out his video:

Also, as an assignment in the CIEE Art History class, Catalonia and Spain through the Arts, students must record a video in front of a monument in Barcelona. The goal of this task is to have students explain a local landmark to the “average American public”, based on general information about it and also on two analogies with an American cultural artifact. Thus, students are able to make connections between the two cultures and bridge ideas between them. Justin, from George Washington University, wanted to share his videos about "El Gato del Raval", by Fernando Botero, Check out his project in the following link:




J-Term, 2018, Newsletter


January has flown away, and I really can’t believe it’s been already 10 days since the J-term students left. The Barcelona January Business and Culture program has been a success from the beginning, but this year —with 46 students from 13 different universities— it has reached a record level. What’s even more important than this is the mark that these students have left on us: curious and engaged, respectful and endearing, it was one of those groups that constantly reminds you why you love what you do. John, from Wofford College, really made my day last week with a totally unexpected email packed with beautiful pictures that ended up saying: “I had such a great experience, and I am very glad that I was a part of your program. Keep opening the eyes of people to the world and Spain specifically. It is an awesome thing. Thank you for everything!”

Foto 7

Things went very well from the beginning: Everybody arrived sound and safe and —after two full orientation sessions— students started classes normally. The course students took was International Marketing, of which we had two sections: one was taught by Francisco Gil and the other one by Jordi Garolera —two of our more experienced teachers. Jordi was simply amazed by the amount of participation in the classroom; “Paco” said this was one of the best groups he’s ever had.

Foto 7

But culture, of course, is something that goes beyond the classroom, and that’s why we’d planned several activities and trips to help our students enhance their experience. Some of the activities they took part in were: a guided walking tour around the Gothic Quarter and the old city; a “chocolate con churros” afternoon; a wonderful and intense Flamenco night; a mixer with other CIEE Students at Coco Vail Beer Hall; a hiking and picnic at the mountain range of Collserola; and a weekend trip to the city of Valencia, including a guided tour, visits to several museums and a group dinner.

Foto 7

Nevertheless, if I had to choose one among these activities, one that could serve as a highlight for the whole experience we had as a group, I would choose the Paella workshop we did in Valencia. Valencia, the third-largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona, is famous for many things, but one of them (indeed!) is that it is the cradle of paella. So on the last day of our trip to Valencia we visited the “Escuela de Arroces y Paella Valenciana”, where two professional chefs gave us aprons and hats and taught us how to make a real and authentic paella from scratch. Delicious!

Foto 7

Foto 7

Foto 7

Foto 7

Foto 7

Foto 7
Foto 7


Global Architecture + Design, Spring 2018, Newsletter I

A (great) surprise from the past

The new semester has already begun and the students got a surprise visit from an alumni student... Cory, from the Colorado College, was a GAD student in Spring 2017, and while visiting Barcelona again this month, he stopped by for a visit. The new students had a chance to meet him at the IaaC where he gave a short lecture explaining his project "AlGaudí Tile", which he worked on while he participated in the program. Thus, they had the opportunity to not only see an excellent example of work firsthand but also to discuss the challenges of the program with him.


This is great news because last December, the IaaC published Cory's work in their “How to” Guide, part of the framework of the Active Public Space project co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. It is led by IaaC, in partnership with the Centre for Central European Architecture and the University of Applied Arts Vienna.

You can check out "AlGaudí Tile" via this link (pages 280-283) or watch the video of the entire project.

Program visit

As part of the program, students participated in an optional activity that took them to the Montjuïc mountain area, where the Universal World Fair took place in Barcelona in 1929. Besides viewing some of the major monuments and facilities, such as the National Palace or the 4 Columns, students also had the chance to visit one of the most important historical structures from that world fair: the German Pavilion by Mies van der Rohe. Considered one of the four main buildings of the Modern Movement, the magic and relevance it holds in the history of architecture is more than well-known due to its symbolic significance and the revolutionary design of its time. For this group of students, who had studied the building and used it sometimes as reference for their projects, was highly useful to experience it first-hand and especially analyze the relationship inside and outside.




Business + Culture, Spring 2018, Newsletter I

Excitement is in the air as the program starts and students arrive to Orientation. Ahead of them there are 3 months of great experiences, fabulous adventures and new discoveries… they can’t wait to get started!

Foto 5

The first days students discover the city of Barcelona, they meet their flat mates and host families, they get used to taking the metro and also learn about their new host University. To make this process smooth CIEE organizes several leisure activities such as a tour around the Gothic quarter or hiking to Barcelona’s Mount Tibidabo.

Foto 2

Foto 5

Students have also started to discover the rich and variety of Catalonia’s culture and heritage by visiting with CIEE the ancient roman ruins of Tarragona, a World Heritage Site, the visiting the Dalí Museum in Figueres (Girona), or the Medieval Monastery of Montserrat.

Foto 5

Classes have already started at ESCI and UVic and bit by bit the excitement of the first days leads to daily life and integration into the city’s culture. The adventure though, has just begun, we will keep you all soon posted!

Foto 5


Advanced Liberal Arts, Fall 2017, Newsletter III


F3-0(CIEE ALA and UB students in the streets of Barcelona)

End of the term
Owen, Reed College
I will always remember my semester abroad with CIEE in Barcelona as a time of great personal growth.  As a study abroad experience, having to overcome the challenge of adapting to a whole new culture comes with the territory.  But in addition to that, having to conduct my personal and academic lives in a second language (and sometimes even a little of a third) proved to be a significant complicating factor at first.  During my first few weeks of classes at the University of Barcelona, I’d leave each class deeply concerned that I wouldn’t be able to pass the classes because I couldn’t understand the professors.  However insurmountable it all appeared at first, I discovered that with time came more comfort.  Now at the end of my semester, I feel almost like I’ve always been running around the city and taking my classes at the university with the friends I’ve made here.  It’s strange to remember that, in reality, I’ve only known them all for four short months.  Building a whole new life in a completely different country and language was something that all of my study abroad classmates and I have mentioned to one another as an incredible rewarding accomplishment.

F3-01(Owen –Reed College–, Florencia –University of La Verne–, Allison –Vanderbilt University–, and Lucía –Wellesley College– riding a bike...)

Give and Receive

Living and studying in another country inevitably involves being exposed to something different: a new language (of course), new customs and time tables that could be radically different from what one is used to, a different way to understand life, education, or even human relationships. The students of the CIEE Advanced Liberal Arts program in the University of Barcelona (UB) have the opportunity – and the good fortune, I would say – to be exposed to these differences from the very beginning of their stay in Barcelona: in their regular classes in the different departments of the UB, as well as in many diverse activities organized by CIEE through the term such as linguistic exchanges, cultural or volunteer activities, or through study groups at the CIEE Barcelona site led by UB local students. These personal relationships between American and Spanish students are not always easy, nor do they necessarily appear spontaneously. Like other aspects of life, personal relationships require time and dedication; it is necessary to accept from the first moment that what you give is also what you receive, but also that a person naturally receives what they give. It is the magical balance between giving and receiving.

F3-1(Sasha –George Washington University–, Nicole –Tulane University–, Maya –UC San Diego–, Kassandra –University of La Verne–, and Ralitsa –Columbia University–, in front of Bilbao Guggenheim Museum during the CIEE weekend trip)

When Samia and Dani, two students from the Philology department of the University of Barcelona, started their academic internships in October at CIEE Barcelona, I knew that, in their contact with the American students from our different study programs, they would quickly find this balance of giving and receiving. The tasks and goals of these two students were quite clear: take their first steps as educators taking the hands of some students that specifically needed these other “local” hands to guide them, and to improve their comprehension and integration into this new life and new educational system. But, I am not sure if Samia and Dani were aware during those first days of October that their generosity and fantastic work with the students would go in two directions. As I said before, they face the fortunate cycle of giving and receiving. These testimonials will better explain what I am trying to say…

Dani, UB Student
My name is Daniel Cuní Díez. This semester I collaborated with CIEE during my external curricular internship. I am currently seeking study a Master’s degree in Spanish as a Foreign Language in Professional Environments at the University of Barcelona. Because of my connection with the UB, I participated in some activities for the Advanced Liberal Arts program.

I have been able to improve my teaching practice by organizing tutoring sessions for the students that were taking Spanish language courses in CIEE Barcelona, but also leading study groups for the ALA students that were taking direct enrolment courses in the Spanish Philology Department at the UB. I assisted them, most especially on literary themes, since many of them do not have academic training in this area. In addition, I presented them with a general panorama of literature in Spain and in Europe, and I also resolved specific doubts they had about the topics. In my case, I focused on Spanish Illustration and I explained the contents through text analyses.

My experience has been really positive in several aspects, given that the relationship with the students was really close and rewarding. I have increased my overall competence in relation to Spanish as a foreign language and, most importantly, I learned new things about the American educational system, which is really different from the Spanish one.

F3-2(Alicia –Carnegie Mellon University–, Rocio –Wingate University–, and Emma –Columbia University– with Dani)

Samia, UB student
My name is Samia Aderdouch and I am a student intern seeking a Master's Degree in Spanish as a Foreign Language in Professional Environments at the University of Barcelona. I have completed my internship at CIEE and my experience in tutoring American students of the ALA program has been fantastic.

Typically, the tutoring sessions covered subjects that I had already studied while majoring in Hispanic Philology, so I was able to explain my own experiences with the subjects and professors and give them lots of advice as well. It has also been a great opportunity to see how American students are and what aspects are more difficult for them. For example, when discussing literature, they often did not know all the historical or literary context of the novels.

And since I had never given classes before, I discovered how they work, what things I have to improve on and what subjects are easier for me... And I've always tried to do my best by getting involved a lot and helping them to the fullest. My goal was that they pass their exams successfully–something I think I have achieved.

Additionally, the students were always very nice, so during the various classes I always felt very comfortable and that I had a good rapport with them, likely because our ages were very similar.

F3-3(Sophie –Princeton University–, Haley and Allison –Vanderbilt University–, and Emma –Columbia University–, with Samia)

Emma, Columbia University
Samia’s and Dani’s “tutorías” completely eased my transition into Spanish academic life. The classes I enrolled in at the University of Barcelona – Spanish narrative in the 20th Century and Spanish Enlightenment literature – took some adjusting to, especially because Spanish isn’t my native language. During the tutorías, I was able to ask Samia and Dani questions I hadn’t been able to pose in class, as well as have engaging discussions to supplement the UB’s more lecture-oriented style. Samia and Dani were quite knowledgeable about the subject matter and they were able to explain complex literary and philosophical concepts in a way that I could understand despite the language barrier. It was also nice to spend time with Spanish students whose interests are similar to mine. Overall, the tutorías were an academic highlight of my time in Barcelona!


Global Architecture + Design, Fall 2017, Newsletter II


This semester has come to an end and students were fully immersed in their experience abroad and in their academic projects. As part of the program, Global Architecture students participated in their academic weekend trip at the end of November when they had the opportunity to visit Berlin, Germany and meet colleagues in the two other Global Architecture and Design programs, which are located in Berlin and Prague. The weekend trip included a combination of walking tours, site visits, student presentations and free time.



During the trip, students had the chance to visit the historic part of Berlin as well as architectural-related buildings, such as the Jewish Museum and the Sony Center. Also, our colleagues at the CIEE Berlin Global Institute organized an afternoon in which students exhibited their projects and later discussed them in proper presentation format.

Hannah, from Washington State University, wanted to contribute to this post with her impressions about the trip. Check them out in this video: 


Mathilde Marengo, instructor of the Future Cities Studio, explains in the video above the nature of the program and the project for this semester, which has had satisfactory results. Students worked under these parameters and showed their prototypes and implementation and a way to implement it in the site. Here you can find the results of their research throughout the semester.


 Project created by Craig and Esther, from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and June, from Carnegie Mellon University

20171220_1121331HYDROCOOL PANELS

Project created by Jen, from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and Hannah and Mira, from Washington State University20171220_11213320171220_112133


Project created by Sofía, from Portland State University and Jessica and Rebbeca, from Carnegie Mellon University

20171220_112133ALGAE FLOWER

Project created by Alice, from University of Massachusetts Amherst.


Architecture + Design, Fall 2017, Newsletter III

Fall semester has come to an end and the Architecture + Design students are getting ready for departure. These days, as usual, have been hectic but the students are now finished with all their final presentations and projects. Students on the Architecture track presented their final projects on the creation of a urban community garden in the central part of a block in the Eixample area of Barcelona. Their very different perspectives and final projects not only showed their potential but also different ways of understanding the city.

On the other hand, students on the Design track displayed their final projects in an exhibition at ELISAVA. Elissa, from Simmons College, describes one of her favorite projects which she completed for a course at ELISAVA, proving the importance of personal experiences while abroad. Please check out the video and subscribe to her playlist on Spotify:  


To students, parents, guardians, advisors, instructors and whom may concern,

It has been a pleasure working in the CIEE Barcelona Architecture and Design program these last 7 years but now it is time to bid farewell to the program. As announced some months ago, Fall 2017 will be the last edition of Architecture and Design, a program that condense the best of an experience abroad.

The nature of the program itself, due to the reduced amount of students and its academic component, which is very focused on the city of Barcelona either in project work for the Architecture Studio or in the core course “The City in Visual Culture”, helped the students get to know their new home very well. Barcelona, as the students learned, has changed tremendously through the years and this program was able to witness them all – from the construction of the Gloriès area, the W Hotel, the transformation of the Raval neighborhood, etc. Barcelona has been always something to be experienced and also analyzed, especially by students who are able to understand the benefits of this powerful association.

Also, the students' experiences in our host institutions, ESARQ and ELISAVA, were always challenging but eventually positive. There, students were given the opportunity to be immersed in another academic culture and they learned different ways of working in a more global market. The language barrier, the different approach to the disciplines and the immersion in a local academic context did not stop our students, who successfully adapted themselves to each challenge.

With the idea of Barcelona as a solid center of experiences and studies, the possibility of visiting other Spanish cities during a weekend trip created a much more complete adventure, such that students could compare and experience other realities in the country. The weekend trips to Madrid, Santiago, Bilbao, Valencia, Sevilla and Granada always provided an academic turning point for them.

Right now, it is a pity to be closing the last edition of such a complete and genuine program, and that's why it is time to be happy and satisfied with the work we accomplished, to look back and remember: remember the good (and not so good) moments, all the ways we changed the lives of our students and also to reflect on how they have also changed our lives, especially mine… since I’ve spent much of my time at CIEE working very closely with the students, who curiously taught me a lot not just about Barcelona but also about myself... That's why I hope to not forget anyone and want thank all the students and instructors that made this genuine program possible! Thanks to: 

Vanessa, Zachary, Vanessa, Thomas, Taryn, Shawn, Sarah, Sandra, Nathan, Megan, Marena, Megan, Marc, Lindsey, Kathryn, Julia, Joseph, Jessenia, Hailey, Erica, Daniel, Cara, Britta, Ava, Alyssa, Abigail, Daniel, Justin, Paulina, Sarah, Taylor, Sarah, Valeria, Leah, Christine, Shantal, Abigail, Zachary, Gerard, Ashley, Siobhan, David, Drew, Erin, Omar, Eike, Maya, Elizabeth, Alejandra, Anna, Diana, Gisbel, Eugene, Meghan, Skyler, Khai, Johan, Evan, Graeme, Mariam, Connor, Annika, Lena, Sara, Ximena, Nicholas, Alexandra, Damaris, Chenita, Shelby, Rae, Aaron, Marilia, Alexa, Elizabeth, Brett, Tyler, Mercedes, Emily, Caroline, Gabriella, Lauren, Leroy, Joseph, Zoe, Shira, Melisa, Gustavo, Eytan, Hannah, Lindsay, Gavin, Hannah, Katharine, Kristin, Jill, Britnee, Melanie, Eliza, Jacquie, Audrey, Natalie, Jamie, Parker, Christelle, Jack, Caroline, Giang, Elissa, Samantha, Ana, Kay, Jessica and also the instructors and former director of the program: Magda, Rafael, Judith and Suzanne for all their efforts and knowledge throughout the program.

With gratitude,

Fernando Janeiro, Program Manager, Architecture + Design Program