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4 posts from May 2013


Advanced Liberal Arts, Spring 2013, Issue III


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

Photos from the ALA Farewell Banquet

La foto 1La foto 2La foto 4La foto


Economics & Culture, Spring 2013, Issue III


“Jamming with My Family”

  Photo (4)Athena, George Washington University student, submitted this picture to CIEE Barcelona's Photo Contest that is held every semester. She aptly titled it “Jamming with my Family” and the picture won for the category “Host Family Ties.”  Athena mentioned that she felt very blessed to have had such a great “match” with her host family.  In her housing questionnaire she stated that she played the piano and would love to be with a family who was also “musically inclined”.  To her pleasant surprise, everyone in her Spanish family plays an instrument and they frequently practiced together.  “I am at a beginner´s level with my Spanish and often at times I found it difficult to communicate with my host mother and sisters.  However when we played together, there was definite mutual understanding about what we wanted to convey” explained Athena.

You can see more photos from this semester's photo contest here on our facebook page! Don't forget to "like" us to keep on top of events and activities at the study center.

EC Farewell Luncheon

EC students celebrated their departure with a good-bye luncheon with fellow CIEE students from other study programs (Architecture and Design; Liberal Arts; and Language and Culture) as well as their professors, “guardian angels” and other staff members.  During the meal, many stories were shared, such as when the students had all their first met during the Orientation, about how their homestay/residence experiences had developed over the semester, as well as the many memories that they shared during their weekend trip with CIEE or when they had ventured out on their own.  The “guardian angels” made note of how many students had improved on their language skills and how some seemed like a native “barcelonian”. 

It was wonderful to note how many of the students had already made plans to keep in touch, not only back at their own home school starting in the Fall, but already for this summer.  For example, there were three student who planned on meeting up in San Francisco, one on lives near there, and the other two, both students from George Washington University, who will be there doing an internship.  

 Farewell Luncheon


Cuando la vida te de limones mientras que se lleva tus calçots

Name: Jasmyn
CIEE Barcelona Program: Liberal Arts
Semester: Spring 2013
Home School: Cornell University

BlogLo que quería hacer era dar un paseo por una hora y media y luego comer una comida deliciosa llena de carnes y calçots, un tipo de cebolla de verdeo. Calçotada, un plato tradicional de Cataluña, se compone de calçots asados en salsa romesco, supuestamente la mejor parte. Junto con esto, íbamos a consumir barbacoa, que escuché fue absolutamente delicioso.

Bc 2
Por ahora, te has probablemente dado cuenta de que, en realidad, no llegue a ir en esta caminata o comer los calçots. No, en cambio yo, junto con mi compañera, nos perdimos, y el grupo se fue sin nosotras. Me gustaría usar este momento a darles una pieza de consejo: siempre cuando tengas que reunirse con alguien o llegar a una cita a tiempo, no pruebes a ir de una nuevo modo. Intentamos tomar un autobús que nunca habíamos tomado, en lugar de tomar el metro que conocemos y amamos. Entonces estuvimos perdidas y confundidas. Por supuesto, llegamos donde habíamos necesitado estar, Tibidabo, después de todo el mundo ya se había ido.

Bc meEn este momento, tuvimos dos decisiones. Regresar a casa y estar triste por un rato, o seguir. Decidimos a seguir. Subimos Tibidabo por un rato, y cuando empezó a llover y hacer frío, salimos. Después, mientras que andamos hacia la casa, encontramos un señal que dijo: Museo de Ciencia. Decidimos a seguir este señal, y estoy tan contenta que hicimos. Era el mejor museo que he visitado en toda mi vida. Estuvimos allí por tres horas y todavía no vimos todo. Me encanta la ciencia, y me encantó este museo, especialmente porque puedes tocar y jugar con casi todos las exhibiciones. Me dí cuenta de que, si bien no había tomado mis calçots, tuve un gran día con mi compañera y me disfruté muchísimo. Así que, es verdad lo que la gente dice, cuando la vida te de limones, puedes llorar y sentir triste, o puedes aceptarlos y hacer lo que puedes para mejorar la situación.



My wonderful host family

Name: Julia
CIEE Barcelona Program: Business & Culture
Semester: Spring 2013
Home School: Bradley University

I can’t imagine a better four months abroad than with my lovely host family, Sol y José. It might be scary at first to dive into living with a family that you have never met before in your life and know that you will be spending the next four months with them, but it couldn’t have been more opposite of a reaction for me. I was more excited than ever to meet them, and go to the place that I would call home in Barcelona. CIEE does such a good job of picking families that are warm and hospitable. You expose yourself to more Barcelona culture when you’re living with a Catalan family.

My host family lives in the Sants area, a great residential district with such nice people. My family in particular is so helpful with my intermediate speaking abilities. They would accommodate their speaking for me by always speak Spanish instead of Catalan.

     My host brother, José is proficient in English as well, so whenever Sol and I would get lost in translation, he would always help out. Along with the great food I would come home to for dinner, the laundry that was done every week for me, I also received so much more love and appreciation for this place. I got to know their extended family the first weekend during Los Reyes Magos. Not only have I developed a love for fútbol and Barça from the atmosphere here, but also, at 13 years old José is an excellent fútbol player here. His love for the sport has been quite contagious this semester. I’m a proud supporter of FCB now! My host mom, Sol, and I always have a fun time singing around the house and watching movies. The three of us also like to take part in watching Spanish reality shows like Frank de la Jungla and Gandia Shore. My Spanish has skills have tremendously improved from being exposed to Spanish TV as well as having deep conversations …as well as some silly ones …with Sol and José.

    I will miss this family dearly when the time comes for me to leave. But it’s not adios, but hasta luego; because I know that one day I will return to Barcelona and reunite with them.