Dear Study Abroad Advisors,
We have had much to be thankful for during this Fall Semester and with the final week coming to a close, we wanted to highlight in this newsletter what some of the students themselves have shared with us that they are grateful for!
Happy Holidays and may the new year bring you joy, health and prosperity!
Thanks Received and Given
As during every Fall semester, this November we had organized once a again a special Thanksgiving dinner for some 100 students, professors, host institution partners and the CIEE staff at a well-known restaurant “Brasserie Flo” to celebrate this very important US traditional celebration.
Everybody came very well dressed and we all shared a good time, eating turkey with mashed potatoes and cranberries sauce, taking photos, talking, laughing, and enjoying the festive ambience. And of course, we wanted to provide an opportunity for students to give thanks and here is a representative sample of what was on their mind.
“ I am thankful for my life, family, friends and all the experiences that have made me who I am today”
“I am thankful for the opportunities I have had and all of the friendships I have made”
“I am thankful for my family and friends that always support me”
“I am thankful for all the people I met on this study abroad program, my friends here. Having an amazing time in Barcelona and my awesome host family”
CIEE Barcelona Study Center
Christel, the CIEE Barcelona Study Center receptionist, is one of the our staff members who has the possibility to view first-hand, day in and day out, how our students' cultural integration changes during the semester. What follows is her personal account on what she perceives:
“With each passing week, I see how these young students change, first from being shy and doubtful students to becoming more outgoing and self-confident people. I take it as my personal commitment to make them feel like at home by: welcoming every day with a friendly and sincere smile, being available to assist them, caring about how they are and how they feel, inquiring about their weekend plans and about their adaptation in Barcelona. I believe my interest and genuine concern helps them to become more comfortable and with time, they often would come to the reception desk to talk, either practice their Spanish or just to spend some time with me to explain to me their experiences.
The closeness that I eventually have with them makes the last weeks of the program to have a real “bittersweet” atmosphere. It's a feeling of mixed emotions because they feel excited to go home to see their family and friends but they also feel sad for leaving a city that they love, their teachers, the guardian angels, their host-families, their new friends that they have made at the host institutions, and all the CIEE Barcelona staff members. I share the same type of feelings: a happiness to see that they have lived an unforgettable experience, have learned new things, have engrossed in our way of life, our habits and traditions and at the same time I feel sad to see them depart. So, for that reason, when some alumni students choose Barcelona as a tourist destination for their holidays and decide to return back to CIEE to see us, we feel so proud of the work we do daily.
Based on this experience, the students have convinced me to believe and understand that it is the small gestures and details that we have with them are the ones that make an important impact.”