Study Abroad in
Students in CIEE's Summer Architecture program take a Foundations Architecture Studio. For this class, they are not only visiting great buildings, urban spaces and architectural offices in Barcelona, but are also designing an “archi-tourist information pavilion” in Barcelona's old port, the traditional urban gateway through which thousands of cruise ship passengers pass every day. The pavilion is intended to be an information stand, a meeting place for architectural walking tours and to hold a small multimedia exhibition. But most importantly, students are working on designing a structure that is expressive of the city's urban-architectural heritage.
Students enrolled in our Summer LC program are greatly improving their Spanish language skills while experiencing local culture from a privileged perspective. Through the arts, architecture and design they are exploring the city, learning about its past and present, artists and styles, history and traditions. Both the language and the content classes include tours and observations of the Gothic quarter (which encloses Barcelona’s past), the Eixample (the 20th century expansion of the city), the Raval neighborhood (with its cultural blending) or the new 22@ tech district. All students are creating personal portfolios as result of their learning experience: we will share more details with you soon!
Students at the Summer Contemporary Social Issues multisite program Barcelona/Amsterdam are taking their first class “Spain Today: Politics and Society.” This course examines some of the major political, social and economic changes that have taken place in Spain since the end of Francisco Franco’s dictatorship in 1975. There are several site visits during the course including the Catalonian Parliament, a Spanish Civil War bomb shelter, the Museum of the City of Barcelona, the Museum of the History of Catalonia and a tour of the immigrant neighborhood of Raval, among others. In Amsterdam, they will be taking the course Contemporary Dutch Social Policy and there will be sessions where they will be able to compare Barcelona and Amsterdam.
Students in the 3.5 week Summer Language and Culture Modular Program are enjoying their class, site visits, excursions, and cultural activities we offer them. On one of the day trips, the students went to Tarragona, a city in the southern part of Catalonia, to admire the UNESCO World Heritage Roman ruins. We toured the city, visited the Roman Circus, Amphitheatre, city walls and the old quarter. After a guided tour, students had some free time where they were able to explore more of the city and enjoy the Mediterranean sea.
Last weekend we took the students to the Costa Brava and French Catalonia. Summer is the perfect time to enjoy these areas, and while we had a lot of fun in the sun, students were also able to learn about Catalan history and its ties to the land.
We started with a guided tour of the city of Girona. Founded by the Romans, the city has wonderful ruins and picturesque medieval streets. We visited a medieval monastery, the protective walls and the historic Jewish quarter. The highlight of Girona, however, was a special treat – an ice cream from Rocambolesc, the dessert shop opened recently by one of the brothers at Cellar Can Roca, voted best restaurant in the world in 2013!
After Girona we went to the coast where we had a traditional Catalan lunch and then went sailing in a 100 year old fishing boat. We learned about the maritime tradition of the coast, tried some traditional tapas (food was a big theme of the weekend) and got to swim in a very special cove that is part of a nature reserve. We saw the house where Truman Capote went to write In Cold Blood and even spotted a moon fish!
Sunday we got up early to cross into France where we got to see how Catalan identity remains in this region. We visited a castle that has defended the Catalans, the Spanish and the French all in their turn. It was even used to house refugees crossing the border at the end of the Spanish revolution.
A quick crepe for lunch and we were back on the bus so that we could get to the Dalí museum in Figueres. Dalí designed the museum himself, and is buried in it. The guides really help give a more in-depth understanding of the life of Dalí and how those influences appear in his work. Even tired from two busy days in the sun, the students were attentive and asked lots of questions. We had a fantastic weekend! You can see our photos on our facebook page and a video of the weekend here: