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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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06/08/2017

Advanced Liberal Arts, Spring 2017, Newsletter III

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There and back

Far behind lay the days in January when the students of the CIEE Advanced Liberal Arts program arrived in Barcelona with a mix of nervousness and excitement. They arrived at a brand-new city and with hundreds of intentions and expectations, both individual and shared. During one of the orientation sessions that CIEE organizes during the first week of the students’ stay, we did an exercise with them to verbalize the reasons (and objectives) for deciding to study a semester abroad in another country. Of these reasons, two stood out: improving their level of Spanish and to have the opportunity to get to know well, not only the city (Barcelona) and the country (Spain), but also the continent (Europe).

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(ALA students in San Sebastian)

Last week, months after their arrival and during the farewell event, we did a pause to search for a moment of reflection and balance of the term where we could check that these two main goals have been met. The students of the program have had the opportunity to discover for themselves (and on many occasions hand in hand with CIEE) many corners of the city, the country and the continent, which has permitted them to expand their geographic, but more importantly, their mental horizons; on the other hand, it was truly moving to hear them speaking with an absolute dominion of the Spanish language. They themselves must have been just as impressed as we were with how much they have improved.

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(Guitarist and composer Joan Furió during his recital in the farewell event)

 

Seeing the students realize that they have achieved some of their goals is one the greatest gifts that all of us working at CIEE could receive. Because the achievements of our students are also those of the hundreds of the CIEE team, from Portland to many other places in the world. In CIEE, we believe that we can change the lives of our students. But after all these years, I have learnt something that twelve years ago, when I joined the CIEE family, I could not even imagine: that our students have also changed my own life. It took a while for me to understand that the transforming experience that we try hard to deliver to our students goes at the end in two directions… As our colleague, Dr. Kathleen Sidelli, Associate Vice President for Overseas Study at IU, and one of the CIEE Board of Directors members, said a few days ago in Madrid, “I [also] have the best job in the world.”

As always, at the end of the semester, I like to share with all my colleagues in the States the voices of the students from the CIEE ALA program in the Univesity of Barcelona. In this occasion, Ben (Amherst College) explains to us about his doubts regarding his decision to live with a host family and how this experience ended up being one of the most gratifying aspects of his stay in Barcelona; and finally, Claudia (Brandeis University) shares with us her experiences during the internship at the Vall d’Hebron Hospital at the Transcultural Psychiatry Program.

¡Buen regreso a casa a todos los estudiantes y hasta muy pronto!

 

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Ben (Amherst College)

Choosing to study abroad through CIEE Barcelona’s Advanced Liberals Arts Program was one of the best decisions I’ve made throughout my college experience. Barcelona is an incredibly lively city with a unique cultural history. ALA ensures that each student is given the support and access to take full advantage of all that Barcelona has to offer.

Through ALA’s academic program, I was able to take classes at both CIEE’s La Casa and the University of Barcelona. The set-up was ideal; I had the confidence and support from my professors at CIEE to challenge myself and succeed at the UB, one of the top universities in Spain.

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(Phillip –Tufts University– and Ben –Amherst College– with the Feliu family)

Electing to live in a homestay was maybe the hardest decision I had to make but also the most rewarding. I was afraid that living with a family would mean some sort of curtailment of my independence or personal freedom. However, my homestay family was the highlight of my abroad experience – I was treated like another son, exposed to exciting family dinner conversations and able to make meaningful relationships that far exceeded my expectation. I know that when I return to Barcelona, I’ll get a hot meal and a place to stay.

Barcelona is the apex of the European experience. You live next to some of the most famous architectural buildings in the world, you witness firsthand the vigor of the Catalan independence movement and you get to experience a gastronomical culture like no other. There’s no better place in the world to study, grow and live.

Barcelona has become my second home and the Catalan people my second family. It has been a semester I will never forget. I can’t wait to come back.

Fins aviat!

Internship
Claudia (Brandeis University)

I’ve done a lot of internships in the past in a wide range of areas from local NGOs helping women to internationally recognized organizations like the American Red Cross, but few have been as gratifying as my one in Barcelona at the Transcultural Psychiatric Program at Vall d’Hebron Barcelona University Hospital.

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Claudia –Brandeis University– with her UB fellow interns.

The main reason is that as a research assistant to the senior researchers, I am given work that feels important. We have been working on refugee mental health, specifically women’s and girl’s mental health status, to try and understand what they might be going through and find/design programs and interventions that can take their needs into account. Given that the refugee crisis is so present and important, I feel like I am contributing my grain of sand into a great cause.

Another reason why I’ve enjoyed my internship so much is the work environment at the Hospital. Not only are the senior researchers, psychologists, and psychiatrists super accessible, helpful and inspiring, the other interns care about these issues as much as I do. To be part of such a passionate environment with my peers and mentors has been gratifying and has made my internship at the hospital feel like it’s not work at all, but something I thoroughly enjoy.

05/10/2017

GLOBAL ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN, SPRING 2017, NEWSLETTER III

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Spring semester has already finished and Global Architecture students have spent the time of their lives while abroad. As expected, they have learned new approaches to architecture and design at the IaaC, and they have also taken advantage of their time abroad to explore and discover other places around Barcelona and Europe. In the meantime, they have also discovered themselves to a great extent!

Final presentations

Students had been asked to improve the urban quality conditions of the “Superblock” initiative in the 22@ neighborhood of Barcelona. After their process of research, each of the four groups of students came up with an original and innovative solution for solving a different urban problem. They also fabricated prototypes for their proposed solutions.

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BEYOND ACADEMICS...

A fundamental part of being abroad resides in the potential for students to get to know themselves better. By being out of their comfort zone, students are put to test their intercultural skills and, generally speaking, to expand their horizons. Travelling, discovering new places and experiencing new realities first-hand is without a doubt a first step to achieving this. In the short videos below, Ryan and Connor (CalPoly, San Luis Obispo) talk about their interest in travelling while abroad, as well as about the many CIEE-organized cultural activities and trips. Check those out!

 

Language + Culture, Spring 2017, Newsletter III

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Spring semester is gone and students are back home. In our last newsletter, you can learn about student’s internship experiences and last field trips. We hope students now are  better global citizens after their enriching cultural experience in Barcelona!

 “My internship has allowed me to grow and evolve in a way that wouldn´t be possible in the US”

Stephen did an internship at WholeGenix, research and development startup focusing on whole genome sequencing and how it can help in the treatment of diseases like cancer. He commented about his experience: “I am really enjoying my internship and I think it has allowed me to grow and evolve in a way that wouldn't be possible in an internship in the U.S.  I’ve learned a lot about the workplace culture in Barcelona, the relationships are more casual and personal while still maintaining professionalism and diligence in their work, which is something I quite liked.”

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Stephen from Rutgers University and his internship placement

“Being of two very distinctly different cultures I have gained a new perspective on the professional world”

Richard did his internship with the SOLIDUS project that is part of CREA, a research organization in Europe. SOLIDUS focuses on investigating how to improve the social inequality and psychological wellbeing of European citizens.

This is what he commented about his experience:  “CREA so far has been a very enlightening experience as it is my first time interning in a foreign country. I have already learnt so much no just from the nature of my research-based work, but also from simply interacting with my new colleagues. Being of two very distinctly different cultures, I have gained a new perspective on the professional world. I no longer leave immediately after work, but I wait on my colleagues. Those who also ride the metro, we take the metro back together. When there is not silence onset by our intense focus on the task, we are discussing many topics from politics to our cultural differences.  Also, we eat lunch together, all of us. It seems to me that it is a very team based approach to work; we are all in this together so let’s all try to be friends.

As it pertains to my work, I am currently summarizing the research findings of CREAU on acts of solidarity across Europe. I am assessing the political and social impact of these projects. It is a good way for me to become better acquainted with Europe and the work of my company. If have seen my interesting projects from Learning Communities trying to better the standard of educations and non-profit refugee assistance organizations.”

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Richard from University of Washington-Seattle with his co-workers

Street Art Tour

Students at the CIEE course Urban Culture in Contemporary Barcelona had

the opportunity to attend a street art tour around Barcelona. The tour showcases Barcelona’s historical neighborhoods of El Borne and the Gothic Quarter highlighting many of the classical, earlier examples of Barcelona street art found all over its walls with some remaining for years, and some even decades. Many students highlighted this field trip as their favorite one!

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Liberal Arts, Spring 2017, Newsletter III

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Spring semester is gone and we wish students had an enriching experience in Barcelona. Here it is some of the activities they did at the last part of the semester.  

Students get inspiration through Service Learning

At the re-entry workshop students were asked to share their best memory of their study abroad experience. Several students assured it was their service learning/community engagement activity they did as part of their CIEE Advanced Grammar, Composition and Conversation II class.

Students at the he service learning project is part of the CIEE Advanced Grammar, Composition and Conversation II class, participated in a service learning project at a local elementary school, Escola Collserola with children from 1st -6th  grades.  

Jon from Vanderbilt University brought his guitar and sang songs with 2nd graders; Nopell from Fordham University practice vocabulary and sang songs with 1st graders; Cate from Lehigh University did an oral presentation 4th of July for 4th graders; Grace from Vanderbilt University showed 5th graders her abilities in cheerleading; and Gaby from Occidental College talked about California to 6th graders. Children were thrilled and they were very interested in asking questions about the American society.

After their volunteering students interviewed the school principal and the Academic Committee to learn about the educational system and compare it to the American one. This project is also part of the intercultural competence component that CIEE embraces in our program.

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Re-entry Workshop to learn strategies for adjustment back in the States

The last day of the semester, LA students participated in the Re-entry Workshop, a session dedicated to reflect on their experience studying abroad in Barcelona, to understand the re-entry process and challenges, to learn strategies for adjustment and ways to stay globally engaged and how to incorporate their experiences into their daily lives. One of the activities consisted in sharing their best memory of the semester while forming a web between them, symbolizing their interconnection. Some of the best memories of our students shared were related to their experiences living with a host family, meeting new friends and travelling.

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In Barcelona, students learned how to appreciate art

Students at the Catalonia and Spain Through the Arts class had to do a video project about their appreciation of art in Barcelona. Professor Raquel Crisóstomo had a contest called BANART and selected the best 3 videos. Here it is an example:

 

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05/09/2017

ECONOMICS + CULTURE, SPRING 2017, NEWSLETTER III

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Spring semester has gone by fast! Economics and Culture students have been very busy with classes, cultural activities and academic trips. Here some details.

SUPER BOWL by Javier (local flatmate)

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One of the most important worldwide sports events took place on February 5th, the Super Bowl (Patriots vs Falcons).

No one wanted to miss the event so most students headed to a local bar to watch it together. Patrick (Villanova University) and Min Soo (Occidental College), two Economics students at CIEE Barcelona, also went to see the game with their local flatmate, Javier. Together, they saw the future champion of the NFL.

The students had explained all the rules to Javier so that he could understand the game. Then he was able to feel the excitement with them; and he began to feel the intensity at the unexpected turn in the two last quarters, when the Patriots started to make their comeback. They all celebrated together with their hands up in the air when the Patriots ended up winning.

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AN INTERNSHIP AT THE UNITED NATIONS (New York, USA)

Ryan, an Economics student from Occidental College (Los Angeles, CA), explains us how he got admitted into the UN (New York Headquarters) for an internship next summer and how CIEE helped him to achieve his goal.

BUSINESS + CULTURE, SPRING 2017, NEWSLETTER III

Spring semester has nearly finished! Business and Culture students are very sad to leave and they are making the most of their time left in Barcelona. Here some details.

SPENDING TIME WITH LOCAL FRIENDS AT HOME

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John, an Economic student from Bucknell University, and William, a Business student from University of Wisconsin-Madison, watched one of the most important basketball games in the US, the NCAA Tournament.

William, John and their local flatmate, Abel, ordered some pizzas and had a lot of fun watching the event. 

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CARNAVAL 2017 AT CIEE

Barcelona is a city high on life, a city of beach worshipers, football, and Carnival. In Catalonia, people dress in masks and costumes and organize a week-long series of parties, pranks and outlandish activities to welcome the arrival of Sa Majestat el Rei Carnestoltes ("His Majesty King Carnival").

At the CIEE Study Center the Cultural Activities team organized a Carnival photocall. Some Business students had a go at the photocall and here´s proof!

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Abby (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Joshua (Indiana University-Bloomington), Alejandro (Indiana University-Bloomington) and Nicholas (University of Wisconsin-Madison).

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Hope, CIEE´s Study Abroad  Advisor in Portland (Maine), paid us a visit and, along with other members of the staff and some Business students, posed in a group Carnival picture.

03/27/2017

Global Architecture + Design, Spring 2017, Newsletter II

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 The Global Architecture + Design group, in Copenhagen

 academic trip to copenhagen

As usual, Global Architecture + Design students keep working hard on their projects, focused on the sustainability of the cities of the future. Cory, from Colorado College, tells us about his (and his team’s) project: the “AlGaudí tile”, that uses algae to purify the city air while also providing a “soft element” to the urban setting.  

Cory also tells us about the weekend trip that the Barcelona Global AD students, along with their Academic Coordinator, did to Copenhagen two weeks ago. In Denmark, they met with students and Academic Coordinators in the Global AD programs from Berlin and Prague. They presented their projects to each other and they did quite a few academic (and fun!) activities. Biking around the city was without a doubt a favorite for everyone!

 Gad22Students during their presentations in Copenhagen

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 AlGaudí Tile. Poster of the project by Cory, Megan and Andrew

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Bike tour in Copenhagen

IAAC VALLDAURA CAMPUS VISIT

Finally, we want to share with you images and impressions of an excursion that has already become a classic for the program: a visit to IaaC’s Green Fab Lab in Valldaura, on the hills overlooking Barcelona. Besides enjoying the natural scenery, students were able to realize the potential of 3D printing with natural materials. Again, Cory tells us everything about it.

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 Global Architecture + Design students, during their visit to IaaC Valldaura campus

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