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12 posts from November 2012


Barça at Camp Nou: Mes que un club

Name: Danylo
CIEE Barcelona Program: Business & Culture
Semester: Fall 2012
Home School:  Providence College

I don’t know if any words can accurately describe the experience of seeing FC Barcelona play a home game at Camp Nou. On November 3rd I headed over to Camp Nou to watch FC Barcelona take on Celta Viga. The atmosphere in the stadium is so loud and full of Catalan pride, that I felt as if I had lived here my whole life. As the players took the field, the stadium erupted in the “Cant del Barca”, the official anthem of the club. As the game progressed there was never a moment of silence because the crowd was rowdy with shouts of “Barça, Barça, Baaarça!” througoht the entire game.

Despite missing Abidal, Puyol and Piqué, the defence withstood attacks from Celtic, with Alba and Adriano also putting away 2 goals. FC Barcelona came out on top with a 3-1 victory, with the help of Villa who also added a spectacular goal. While Messi didn’t score, the crowd was blown away by his skills.

The win marked a record start for Barcelona who started the season with 9 wins and a draw in the first 10 games. This team truly is “Mes Que Un Club”, it’s a lifestyle, a city, an experience, and a legacy that unites a region together. The stadium was filled with Catalan Independence flags and even after the game chants of “Independencia” could be heard throughout the streets outside the stadium. I look forward to going to see at least one more game at Camp Nou, because once you go to a game nothing will ever compare!



Name: Greg
CIEE Barcelona Program: Liberal Arts
Semester: Fall 2012
Home School:  Vanderbilt University

Reintjes, Gregory

Uno de los fenómenos más interesantes que he visto en España son las huelgas. En los Estados Unidos, pensamos en las huelgas de los ferroviarios y mineros del carbón a partir del siglo XIX. En Barcelona, ​​y casi toda Europa, las huelgas están ocurriendo casi semanalmente. Deficiencia en el crecimiento económico y la frustración por los impuestos en Cataluña han enfurecido a muchos barceloneses.


Ha habido varios tipos de Huelgas este otoño. La mayoría son las huelgas de los conductores de metro y autobús insatisfechos con su salario. Sin embargo, recientemente hubo una "huelga general" en todo el país fue convocada para protestar contra el gobierno. Estas huelgas de Barcelona esencialmente crearon una “pausa” durante todo el día.


Para entender las huelgas, es importante entender la situación económica en España. Casi el cincuenta por ciento de los jóvenes están desempleados y tienen una crisis de deuda masiva. Las huelgas no son peligrosas, pero demuestran el desencanto de la gente en España. Se ha demostrado que todos somos conectados en la economia global. Es un poco pesado para llegar a la universidad pero nos da un sentido para la situación económico de los de Barcelona.

**For more on the strikes that have happened this fall, check out this article.


Branding Passeig de Gracia

Name: Katy
CIEE Barcelona Program: Business & Culture
Semester: Fall 2012
Home School:  Elon University

Grant, Kaitlyn

One of my favorite things I have done so far with my Branding and Cultural Icons class is to “brand” Passeig de Gracia. With all of the time spent on that street, I decided that the best description of this street was the “Modern Heart of Barcelona”. The street has everything. It is constantly filled with many different kinds of people from tourists to working adults to families. The modern and fashionable brand-name stores mixed with the historical architecture make this street the pumping heart of modern day Barcelona.

Passeig de gracia


Branding Photo Project 2: Gràcia, “When Past meets Present”

Name: Alexandra
CIEE Barcelona Program: Business & Culture
Semester: Fall 2012
Home School:  Elon University

Obradovich, Alexandra
This blog post originated from a photo project that I did in my Branding and Cultural Icons class. The photo project had us recognize and create a vision for Gràcia. My vision for branding Gràcia was to capture the nostalgic feel of the area while connecting the past rich culture of the town to the present condition of the neighborhood. People from Gràcia feel a deep connection with the neighborhood. Many residents, when asked where they are from, will answer “Gràcia” as apposed to “Barcelona”. I wanted my vision for the branding project to capture a distinct feeling of deep connection between residents and the Gràcia neighborhood.

The pictures I chose exemplify my vision of “Gràcia, when past meets present” because they represent five main characteristics of the area. The five main characteristics that I complied about Gràcia are: authentic, charming, sociable, traditional, and proud. All of these characteristics contribute to my vision of Gràcia because they each capture a particular feeling that I depicted in my photos. “Authentic” and “Charming” are being portrayed in all four of the photos because they all depict the neighborhood peacefully and quaint early one Thursday morning. “Traditional” and “Proud” are depicted in photo 1 and 3 because of the Catalan flags that decorate the facades of apartments. “Sociable” is represented in photo 2 because it shows a line of bars and restaurants that are a lively aspect of the area at night.



Gràcia: A Home For Everyone

Name: Bridget
CIEE Barcelona Program: Business & Culture
Semester: Fall 2012
Home School:  Elon University

Fitzgerald, Bridget

While walking around Gràcia, I was really drawn to the people that I saw.  No one person was exactly the same and someone from every demographic was represented.  I found this so interesting because in every television show and movie that I have seen, the Spanish character was exotic, dynamic, and sexual.  This stereotype is especially seen in the film Vicky Christina Barcelona

     Despite having native Spanish teachers and having made local friends in the area, I have never stopped to actually look at the people.  I therefore decided to do my photo project on the people of Gràcia.  Because I was overly observant, I was able to find someone that fit each age and socioeconomic class.  These are the people I decided to highlight in my photo project, the true people of Barcelona.

    My first photo is of two grade school aged girls.  They are full of life, light, and youth.  My second picture is of an old man just strolling around the streets of Gràcia.  He seems to be in no hurry and have no destination as he walks at a slow pace with his arms behind his back.  He is calm and enjoying the life he has lived and the life he still has left.  My third picture was one that I took on accident.  I was fiddling with the settings on my camera and ended up taking a picture of one of the most beautiful and confident woman I have ever seen.  She is what Barcelona women should be portrayed as.  She appears confident, successful, smart, and poised.  She is not the crazy passionate lover that is often shown in Spanish movies and television.  The final photo is of a homeless woman that I came across asking for food.  This by no means is the first homeless person I have seen on the street and will probably not be my last.  But for some reason, her expression really drew me in and I became sympathetic towards her.  She made me realize that I have been passing by all of these Barcelonans without giving them any thought.  Through this photo project I was finally forced to look at the sadder sides of the Barcelona population.

     I chose to modify these photos and make them and add a dark light to them because I wanted to portray what I have seen as the true interpretation of the Barcelona and Spanish person.  While many would choose to use light because the photo project is portraying what I perceive to be the truth, I wanted to make it darker because I believe that this is a purposefully hidden aspect of Spanish culture.  In my opinion, those who market Spain as a place to visit enjoy the stereotypical interpretation of the natives who live here.  They want to show Barcelona as an exotic place that foreigners can come to explore a sexy, relaxing, exotic, and fun atmosphere.  None of these people fit into that box and therefore I felt the need to highlight their importance to Spain, to Barcelona, and to me as a foreign exchange student.



Branding & Cultural Icons: The Case of Barcelona

Name: Preston
CIEE Barcelona Program: Business & Culture
Semester: Fall 2012
Home School:  Georgetown University

Barclay, William
To say I’m not a history enthusiast would be an understatement, but when studying abroad in such a culturally rich city such as Barcelona, it’s hard not to appreciate your environment.

Thus far on my study abroad tour around Europe, I have seen numerous cities – from Munich to Rome to Amsterdam, and everywhere in between – but Barcelona, remains in my estimation, the pinnacle of European life. While living in the city week-to-week provides a greater opportunity to assimilate and experience it (as opposed to merely being a tourist in other cities), it’s still easy to stick to what’s comfortable and avoid traveling off the beaten path, especially if you live in the residencia. I’m very thankful, therefore, for my decision to enroll in the “Branding & Cultural Icons: The Case of Barcelona” course offered through CIEE as it has not only opened my eyes to the importance of the history of the city, but it also encouraged me to explore various parts of the city and beyond that I otherwise may not have.


Fountains in Plaça Catalunya

To be honest, while I found the topic interesting, I was initially enrolled in another course, but found myself in the Branding class due to scheduling conflicts. As a Finance-Marketing double major back in the States, the course offered an additional supplement to my marketing pursuits, despite serving as a general elective. Understanding how a city already brands itself (and in contrast, how it should) directly applies to a marketing education to apply to other fields as well.



Camp Nou stadium

Anyway, returning to the course, I was introduced to a variety of topics that give Barcelona the mystique it maintains globally and internally as well. We learned about the expansion of the beach at Barceloneta and the development of the Olympic Village prior to the 1992 Olympic Games. The F.C. Barcelona world-class soccer club (or should I say, football club) and its historical stadium Camp Nou were discussed, while we saw videos of master chef Ferran Adria, among other themes of Barcelona (with more, such as the impact from Antoni Gaudi still to come).



The beach at Barcelonetta
But while it’s one thing to simply learn in the classroom about the various aspects that define Barcelona, what has been the most beneficial aspect not just in the class specifically but perhaps in my entire educational experience in Barcelona have been the multitude of on-site visits and experiences. From walking tours and scavenger hunts of famous locations such as Placa de Catalunya, Passeig de Gracia, and Barceloneta to having lunch in an authentic tapas restaurant following a museum tour about the aforementioned Adria to exploring the backstreets in the Gracia district, the Branding course has given me the hands on experiences that have encouraged me to do some of my own exploring around the city and a yearning to further assimilate within the culture. My close friends and I have ingratiated ourselves at several local bars, and we are constantly looking for new restaurants across the city to further enjoy the authentic Catalan cuisine.



Park Güell

You only study abroad once, and there’s no better place in the world, in my opinion, than in the Mediterranean oasis that is Barcelona. I could not have better things to say about the city and I encourage anyone to push the envelope and explore and try things you otherwise would be apprehensive to push for in the friendly confines of the United States. You’re only on this planet for a short amount of time and sometimes you need to step back from the hustle of academics and explore the world. I’ll forever cherish my experiences here, and I thank my Branding class for continuing to push me to new experiences.



Bodegas Torres y Montserrat

Name: Zach
CIEE Barcelona Program: Liberal Arts
Semester: Fall 2012
Home School:  Johns Hopkins University

Gaines, Zachary
Este fin de semana pasado nosotros tuvimos una excursión a Bodegas Torres y Montserrat. En mi preparación por el viaje yo llene mi maleta con un bocadillo y una botella de agua. No pensé que íbamos al parte de arriba de un montaña y hace frio allí y olvide una chaqueta. Cuando nosotros llegamos empezamos nuestra gira con la historia de las bodegas. Mientras tuve dudo sobre la película corto de la historia, pero fue ambos interesante y educativo.


Después de eso, fuimos a una gira de las cavernas donde esta la reserva de cava. El numero de botellas yo había visto allí fue increíble. La guía nos dijo que las botellas fueron peligrosas porque de la presión que fue creciendo durante el proceso de envejecimiento. Además, la guía nos mostró todos las cicatrices él ha recibido de las explosiones de botellas. ¿Quien sabía que trabajar con cava fue peligroso? Al final de nuestra gira fue mi parte favorito, la prueba de sabor. Nosotros probamos dos tipos de vino y me gusta más el blanco.

Nuestro viaje concluyó con una visita a Montserrat. El grupo separado y diferente personas ve diferente vistas. Después de caminar un rato, mi grupo decidió a subir la montaña un poco pero nos damos cuenta rápidamente que fue un viaje muy largo. Nosotros tomamos una funicular y llegamos al punto mas arriba nosotros podemos.

**Check here for how to get to Montserrat from Barcelona:

Barcelona's Street Swag

Name: Victoria
CIEE Barcelona Program: Business & Culture
Semester: Fall 2012
Home School:  Elon University


London, Paris, Milan, Hong Kong, New York: The quintessential fashion capitals of the world. These are the cities you think of when you picture runways, high-fashion, and trendsetters. Although they set precedents, every major city carries their own fashion sense and street style, and Barcelona is no exception.

Passeig de Gracia is modeled like the street Champs-Elysees in Paris and often called “the Fifth Avenue of Barcelona,” the road is an invaluable tourist attraction for all types of interests. With hotels, restaurants, and even some Gaudí architecture on every corner, every taste can be satisfied. Even grander than the luxurious hotels or iconic architecture is the plethora of shopping options available.

Passeig de Gracia houses locations of some of the most infamous fashion designers: Chanel, Michael Kors, Giorgio Armani, Hermes, and Adolfo Dominguez. H&M, Zara, Mango, and Desigual offer luxurious options for tighter budgets. Catalan designers, like Oysho, Toni Francesc, Josep Abril, and Miriam Ponsa, are also represented on the strip. On every stretch, different styles and tastes are presented: the classic, eccletic, grunge, edgy, seductive, professional, comfortable, and playful.

To launch the city’s fashion presence internationally, it has even become the host of Fashion Fairs and tradeshows, like Bread and Butter.

With these strides, Barcelona is moving up the ranks in the fashion world. Sure, it doesn’t hold the same fashion prestigious as other cities, but it is slowly making its own trendsetting impression.

Take one walk down Passeig de Gracia. Studded pockets and shoes, leather jackets, body piercings, tights paired with shorts, combat boots, and fitted blazers- that’s what I see.-an edgy, grunge look that a lot of Barcelona locals pull off so well. A street swag- that’s how Barcelona’s fashion has been branded to me.


My perspective of Passeig de Gracia



Al Parque del Laberinto

Name: Rachel
CIEE Barcelona Program: Liberal Arts
Semester: Fall 2012
Home School:  Brandeis University

Gordon, Rachel

El viernes pasado algunas personas de Quijotes fueron al parque del laberinto, en el distrito de Horta-Guinardó. Cuando llegamos, hemos comido un poco y después nos fuimos en el parque. El laberinto es el parque más antiguo de la ciudad – y es más bonito que todos los otros jardines. El laberinto, que es de 750 metros de cipreses, era una aventura. Fue mucho más pequeño de lo que pensé que sería, pero realmente fue muy divertido para caminar en. Sin duda, me perdí un par de veces cuando fui lejos del nuestro grupo. También, nos dejó él laberinto en lo mismo manera que entramos.


El parque tiene dos terrazas más. En la terraza superior hay un gran estanque, que recoge el agua de riego. Vimos algunos pájaros gigantes alrededor del estanque, y hubo reflexiones hermosas en el piscina/estanque.

En la terraza intermedia hay dos templos de estilo italiano devoto a Danae y Ariadne. También vimos la hermosa cascada y pasamos mucho tiempo caminando alrededor de admirar la belleza de la jardín--también tuvimos mucha suerte porque el clima era increíble. Tomamos muchas fotos.

Hay vegetación e historio rico en este jardín—es posible paso horas y horas en el jardín y se siente como un período muy corto de tiempo. Yo recomiendo ir lo antes posible.


**Click here for how to get the Parque del Laberinto (free on Sundays & Wednesdays!) 



Name: Chiara
CIEE Barcelona Program: Liberal Arts
Semester: Fall 2012
Home School:  Elon University

Posati, Chiara
En el 11 de noviembre el grupo de liberal artes tuve un actividad cultural. Nosotros llevamos nuestro ropa de deportes y subimos la montaña Tibidabo. Caminamos por un hora y media y paramos en un restaurante viejo. Después de nuestro camino largo tuvimos mucho hambre.

En el restaurante, experimentamos la tradición Calçotada. Calçots son como cebollas y puerros. Los calçots cocinaron en fuego hasta las capas exteriores están negras. Quitamos las capas y mojamos los calçots en una salsa riquísima. Entonces, tienes comer los colçots en una manera rara. Tienes inclinar tu cabeza y bajar el calçot en tu boca.

También, bebimos vino, pero de un porrón. Derramé el vino en todo mi cara y el suelo pero después de algunos intentos no derramé una gota. Ambos fueron muy divertidos pero muy sucios. Llevamos baberos para mantener limpia pero tenemos salsa y vino en nuestros caras. Después, nos sentamos en una mesa grande y comimos pan con tomate, frijoles, carne, salchicha, patatas, ensalada y pastel de chocolate. Fue un festín! Comimos hasta nuestras estómagos fueron llena; todo fue delicioso!

Fue muy divertido para hablar con el grupo entero. Compartimos cuentos de casa y nuestros aventuras en Barcelona y otras ciudades. Caminamos por la montaña riendo y charlando todo el camino. Fue el día perfecto con mis amigos!


*The calçotada is a very Catalan experience, check out this and other Traditions of Catalonia.
**You can also check out these videos on Anthony Bourdain's Calçotada experience and photos from past CIEE calçotadas: