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10/05/2017

Language + Culture,. Fall 2017, Newsletter I

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It has been almost a month since Language and Culture students arrived in Barcelona! They have been very busy with their classes, getting to know the city and participating in a lot of cultural events such as guided city tours; day trips, activities with their Guardian Angels; and their weekend trip among others.

Here there are some details:

Enjoying local traditions at the Barcelona Patron Festival

Students had the great opportunity to enjoy the 4-day festival of Barcelona in honor of its patron: Mercè. Some of the local traditions they participated were: castellers (human castles); correfoc; gegants (giants) or the famous fireworks with music and a water fountain show.

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Local budies for local integration

Our Guardian Angels (GA’s) are Spanish students that help our students to get familiarize with the city, to manage practical matters the first weeks, and to get integrated better in the Spanish culture. LA students already enjoyed a Tapas Night, a beach volleyball game, a flea market visit or a tour to Montjuïc Castle, among others.

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Basque Country: Gastronomy, Art, and Game of Thrones scenarios

Language and Culture students travelled this semester to Bilbao-San Sebastián in the Basque Country in northern Spain. The visited the world-famous Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, toured Bilbao and San Sebastian old towns, did a local tapas workshop and recreated scenes of the Game of Thrones in San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. Students learned about the differences between regions in Spain and they really enjoyed the trip.

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Liberal Arts, Fall 2017, Newsletter I

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It has been almost 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:

Orientation and UPF Welcome Session

During the three-day orientation, students had the opportunity to meet the group; attend the Welcome, Safety and Security talk, Academics and Cultural Activities talk, start to get familiarize with the city, meet their Guardian Angels and tour the Gothic Quarter. 

Students also attended the host institution, Pompeu Fabra, welcome session where they learned about the university; academic offerings; the presentation of the Hispanic and European Studies Program; and a tour to campus.

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Practical Spanish: let’s go grocery shopping!

In order to practice the language in a useful context, CIEE Liberal Arts Spanish classes took students to the groceries! We went to a local market and students had to buy something using idiomatic expressions, and they had to interview a clerk and a customer to get to interact with locals. They enjoyed the activity and we had a picnic afterwards with all the goods students bought!

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Independence Referendum: What’s happening in Barcelona?

Due to the current political events in Barcelona, we organized a Talk-Debate about the Catalan Independence Referendum in our Study Center. The talk was conducted by three CIEE professors: Jesús Marchán, History professor; Eduard Tunyí, Politics professor; and Ferrán Macipe, Economics professors. Students had the opportunity to understand the situation from different perspectives. They also asked a lot of questions and there was a very productive debate afterwards.

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10/03/2017

Architecture + Design, Fall 2017, Newsletter I

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EXPERIENCE(S)

A new semester for Architecture + Design has begun and students, aside from adapting to the city during the first days of orientation, have already started classes. In the core course, “The City and the Visual Culture”, students are learning first-hand about the urban development of Barcelona. In a combination of class lectures and activities, they visited some key places in the city to better understand this transformation, like Ciutadella Park and Montjuïc Mountain, where the Universal World fair took place in Barcelona in 1929.

Besides viewing some of the major constructions and facilities, such as the National Palace or Plaça de Espanya, students also had the chance to visit one of the most important historical structures from that World Fair: the German Pavillion 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. In fact, all the students had already studied it in some of their classes. Even though it was dismantled after the fair, a replica was built in 1986 by three Catalan architects in order to emphasize its architectural importance. 

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Also, Jessica and Jack, from Tulane University, wanted to highlight some of their first impressions of the program. Check them out in this video!

10/02/2017

Global Architecture + Design, Fall 2017, Newsletter I

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It’s already been a month into the program and the Global Architecture + Design students are fully immersed in their classes and their projects at the IaaC. This semester, one of the first activities that took place in the Future Cities Studio was a class presentation and debate called “What is architecture?”. Its purpose was to give them a deeper understanding of the discipline and their own personal perspectives. They needed to define how they understood architecture in ten words and select one of their previous projects to explain their ideas. The result was a wide approach to architecture, a first step in expanding their conception of this art.

Alice, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst explained her vision to us in the following video. Check it out! 

Images from Alice's project "Student's bridges", project selected to explain her understanding of what architecture is.Gad2Gad1

09/22/2017

Business + Culture, Fall 2017, Newsletter I

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Fall semester has just begun and Business students are getting to know the city and its culture. Since they’ve arrived they have been busy with orientation sessions, getting to know CIEE staff and getting ready for the beginning of their classes. This semester we have a group of Business students who attend the Universitat de Vic-BAU campus in Barcelona (Design College of Barcelona). BAU was born in 1989. Located in Barcelona, in 2003 BAU commits itself to a move to the 22@ district, now the innovation and design district of the city. BAU has consolidated its proposal by affiliating itself with the University of Vic-Central University of Catalonia (UVIC-UCC).

The orientation session for BC-UVic students took place at BAU campus where students will attend classes very soon. During the academic welcome carried out by Joan Albert Garcia, Coordinator of the Stud Abroad Program Business, Design and Innovation, students received a backpack with useful information about their classes at UVic-BAU and an insight of the classes they are taking.

The classes offered this fall semester are: Design Thinking, Digital Business, Global Marketing, Leadership, Business and Society, Brand Design, Marketing and Fashion and Start-UP Creation.

After the academic session students had a tour around the premises. They were happy to see such a unique and modern campus.

In a few days classes will start!

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First Day of Class

Spain is known for its outdoor life. In their free time locals hang out in terraces and cafeterias. In order to survive in Barcelona one must know how to order a café con leche. During their first Spanish class at CIEE, John (BC-UVic) and Kyle (BC-ESCI) did an activity (called survival Spanish) in the whereabouts of CIEE. They had to talk to clients and waiters and ask them some questions. It was fun and they learned a lot!

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Economics + Culture, Fall 2017, Newsletter I

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First day: Orientation

The students participating in the CIEE Economics and Culture Program arrived the first week of September to Barcelona. After a long flight they headed towards the orientation hotel where CIEE staff was happy to welcome them. What a thrill was to meet students from other programs! They were happy to chat with their flat mates or compañeros de residencia. Students in homestay had their first encounter with their host families. Their adventure had just begun!

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CIEE students during the orientation session. 

Getting to know Barcelona

CIEE students still had some days before the beginning of classes. In order to make better use of their time they went out with their Guardian Angels who took them out to explore the city.  Some of the touristic sites they visited were: The Cathedral, and The Montjuic Castle.

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At the Cathedral.

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Exploring Cataluña

Catalonia (Cataluña in Spanish) is located on the northeastern extremity of the Iberian Peninsula. It has four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. The cultural richness of Catalonia is well known and CIEE students wanted to discover it for themselves. On their first weekend CIEE staff organized several day trips.

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The Roman Amphitheatre in Tarragona. 

The UPF Campus (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

Classes are about to start at the UPF, and Economics and Culture students attended their academic orientation. They got their identity cards, visited the University Library, had a campus tour and they got a little taste of their academic life in Barcelona!

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Activities with Flatmates Laura, Georgina, Sara and Marc

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Fall has arrived and Laura and her flatmates Kristie and Annie know how to make the most of it!

The first weekend that the girls were in Barcelona, they went to visit the Montjuic Mountain. There, they went to visit MNAC, which is the National Museum of Catalan Art and they could admire the fantastic views you have of the city from there. Once they went down the mountain, they walked through Pl. España and went to the renovated Arenas shopping mall where you have also wonderful views of the Montjuic Mountain. After, they met another flatmate Cris Bernal and the four girls went together for a drink.

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On September 11th, in the region of Catalonia, we celebrate our biggest festivity, la Diada. A few local flatmates gather with the students and they went to enjoy the sun. They could admire the Castellers (real human towers) and enjoy concerts in Arc de Triomf.

They also went to eat some tapas together in Passeig de Gràcia in the center of Barcelona, and they finished the night with a delicious ice-cream.

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Georgina and her roommates spent a foody weekend. They went to a food themed event and tried food from all over the world while enjoying a nice day out in the park! To make the day perfect, they went for a cool tapas night out!

Sara and Marc, local flatmates, rather than going out for dinner, prefer to eat at home all together with their flatmates! Rachel, a student living with Sara, cooked her first chicken dish and it looked really promising; no wonder she aspires to be a real chef!

Marc and his flatmates also had dinner together but it was a home-made one! Doesn’t food taste better when you cook it yourself? It sure did for them!

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09/20/2017

Advanced Liberal Arts, Fall 2017, Newsletter I

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Fall term

Mercury is falling. Autumn finally stirs awake, and this week, the sticky humidity of summer in the city paves a path for a mild, fresh, and very welcome autumn breeze that wafts us all out of our houses and onto the streets of Barcelona. The students from the Advanced Liberal Arts Program are saying farewell to these last days of the beach and are already making their way each morning from their new homes to the different departments of the Universidad de Barcelona and the CIEE Study Center. They are attending classes that represent all areas of knowledge, and which will contribute, more than anything else, to their personal growth that which only the academic experience can attribute to young university students. “Artificial Vision”, “Cellular Biology”, “Comparative Political Systems”, “Psychopathology”, “Game Theory for Business”, “Aesthetics and Ideology of the Spanish Romanticism”, “The History of Economic Though”, “Latin American Literature until Modernism”, “Gender and History”, “Neuropsychology”, “International Economic Organization”, “Literature & Cinema in Spain”, “Philosophy of Law”, and “Phonetics and Phonology of Spanish” are only a few examples of the courses that our students will be taking in the CIEE ALA Program during this fall term.

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(ALA students visiting the mountain and the Benedictine abbey of Montserrat)

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(Students in the University of Barcelona Old Main)

Orientation, rules of navigation, and doors to open 

For any person, the first days in a new city are always special. When our students arrived in Barcelona, only a few days ago, the city was both a familiar and unfamiliar place at the same time: Familiar because they had previously researched the city, looking for literary, artistic, and cinematographic references, or because they simply had conversations with other students from their universities that had been to Barcelona before and who shared their personal experiences, inundating them with incessant advice and recommendations that, shortly after arriving, the current students began to realize were impossible to follow or reproduce. But as mentioned before, it was also an unfamiliar space because none of those conversations, nor the different screens they viewed in search of images and information before traveling, nor even the simple black and white of the page of a book could compare to the multisensory experience that invades us when we walk through the streets for the first time.

BCN old IDuring the first week of their stay, CIEE organized a series of orientation sessions focused on facilitating this marvelous experience of being “new” in a new place: Advice on how to get around the city, how to find this place or that, detailed information about their classes would be, the Spanish education system, health & security, house rules for residences, homestays, and shared apartments… What to visit, what to try, what to see, what to taste… Different rules of navigation, new coordinates and lines to follow – all with the goal of converting that which was unfamiliar to familiar.

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The saturation of information during orientation is inevitable. We know that… but in the end, what CIEE gives during these first days is a key that opens a door yet to be discovered. Or better yet, a key capable of opening a million and one doors, all of them different. And it will be these students who, during the rest of the term and from their personal and unique experiences, will go opening and closing doors until they find the right combination that unlocks “their” Barcelona.

 

07/25/2017

Summer Programs, 2017, Newsletter II

The World is Our Classroom

As the CIEE slogan says, our students have the chance to experience a different academic perspective while abroad, in which the local component and first-hand experiences are extremely valuable. An intercultural perspective is often included in our courses—where students learn much more than facts—in the sense that they can experience what they are studying and better understand the local culture and history and therefore, be able to recognize, adapt to and understand other cultures and other realities.

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In our Language and Culture program, students can experience the history of Barcelona and Spain through different site visits that enrich their experience. Here are some examples:

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Students visiting a bomb shelter of the Spanish Civil War

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Students visiting a bunker for the Spanish Civil War

Also, students in the Business and Culture program go on different company visits, such as to the Museu de la Xocolata, and benefit from other innovative projects and group techniques. For instance, those in the Sustainability and CSR class participated in an “Escape the room” activity, putting their skills and ability to cooperate and solve problems into practice while working in groups.

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Student of beginning Spanish, practicing their skills in the “real world”

 

Also, students in the Business and Culture program go on different company visits, such as to the Museu de la Xocolata, and benefit from other innovative projects and group techniques. For instance, those in the Sustainability and CSR class participated in an “Escape the room” activity, putting their skills and ability to cooperate and solve problems into practice while working in groups.

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07/21/2017

Summer Programs, 2017, Newsletter I

 The value of a homestay

Ths summer programs are passing fast and some students have already finished their experience abroad in Barcelona. From the many experiences that a student goes through while abroad, living in a homestay is the one that makes students get immersed in the local culture and expand their intercultural competence and their skills to get adapted to a new environment. This is the case of three of our students and host families who want to share some experiences that show the students' engagement with the local culture.

Sharing the music

Kalen, from University of Colorado Boulder, was living with Carmen and Ramón. Besides spending their time together talking around the table for dinner, Kalen and Ramon share their interest in music. Kalen likes to sing and Ramon plays the guitar, so they practiced their hobbies together. What a great match!

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Sharing experiences

Taylor, from Texas A&M University, shared in her personal blog the importance of spending time with the host family. In her case, she had the chance to spend a day with some of the host family's relatives in a house outside Barcelona, far away for the city life. Taylor could experience first hand how it is to live in a bilingual society in which people speak two languages (Catalan and Spanish). As Taylor explained,  "...speaking your non-native language and see what you’ll find. I guarantee it’ll be worth it".  If you want to check the whole story, please, visit Taylor's blog.

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 Sharing the food

Nikki, from University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, was so grateful and happy living with her host family that one day, Agnes, her host mother, offered her a particular cooking class on Spanish and Catalan dishes, as paella. Nikki did an outstanding performance and she shared such a delicious plate with all the family. Check here the results!

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