End Of Spring Term
ALA students taking the Cervantes DELE exam
The spring term is almost over and the students of the CIEE Advanced Liberal Arts program in the Universitat de Barcelona (UB) are currently preparing for finals and writing their papers. This is always a challenge for our students: the process of educational integration into a university system (the European in general and the Spanish in particular) that is very different from that in the States. But it is also an example that in the acquisition of the intercultural competence for our students, the academic experience is a major component.
The participants in this program have discovered (and assume as their own) another academic culture and another academic language: Spanish, a global language that is spoken by 50 millions of people in the United States, making it the second Spanish-speaking country in the world after Mexico and above Spain.
Our students are now capable of doing research in Spanish and conversing in many settings (in the classroom, at home, in the street…). At CIEE we wanted to certify this knowledge of the language not only with a grade report of the courses taught in Spanish at the UB, but also through the recognition and certified diplomas in Spanish as a Foreign Language (Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera, DELE) through the Cervantes Institute which is a representative of Spain’s Ministry of Education. These are official, internationally recognized qualifications that certify the examinee’s command of Spanish.
I would like to finish this newsletter with the words of one of our students, Marina Rostein, from George Washington University that, in my opinion, is a good testimony of the sometimes difficult but rewarding experience of being abroad:
Barcelona, the UB and CIEE
"When I decided late in the abroad process to come study abroad with CIEE Barcelona, I could have never imagined that this semester would give me the best months of my life. This program was my clear choice because it had the Spanish component that I wanted, an intensive class at the beginning.
The UB experience, which I was nervous about, was very positive and incredibly manageable, especially with support from CIEE. I had the freedom to pick from an enormous amount of classes taught by great professors who understood that we were abroad students and never made keeping up with them an issue.
This semester has been the perfect balance of work and play. My semester abroad started off with a scared and teary-eyed plane ride and I can’t believe that soon I will be packing up my bags to return back to the states once again teary-eyed, but for different reasons- I will be leaving what has become my home. This program has been an immense growing experience. From the amazing staff and support given to us by those at La Casa, to the city that is in your palm to explore for the semester, to the classes I have taken at the University of Barcelona, the friends I have made, the group that made up CIEE ALA, and the places I have seen- I never want to give this up.
Coming from someone unsure if she wanted to leave the comfort of her home university, I wholeheartedly believe that I made the right decision to not only study abroad, but to study abroad in what I think is the most vibrant city in the world." - Marina, George Washington University