Advanced Liberal Arts Newsletter, Spring 2014, Issue I
Before Max (Tufts University) and Alex (Portland State University) opened the door to my office for the academic advising session, they already knew that they wanted to take the CIEE’s Cervantes’ Don Quixote course. “I cannot think of a better place to read and study this book than during my time in Spain,” Max said; Alex had started to read the book in the States (a version translated into English), but had stopped reading it once he found out that he was accepted into the CIEE Advanced Liberal Arts program in Barcelona because he was determined to read the novel in the original XVII century Spanish. He knew perfectly that the last adventure of Don Quixote –his last and saddest defeat– takes place in the city’s beach. For Alex, Barcelona is the perfect destination for the unique experience to read such an important and life-changing book.
“Bon dia, Alberto!” is what Emily (Iowa University) said to me in a perfect Catalan accent the day before regular classes started. She had decided to continue her Catalan Language classes and enroll in level II after successfully completing the beginning course. This is her second term in the city and she has discovered how easy it is to learn Catalan once you speak Spanish, and how helpful it is when making local friends that are delighted to listen to an American student speaking Catalan like a native.
Sara (George Washington University) came to my office a bit nervous to ask me what the etiquette is for her new internship position in the University of Barcelona’s International Relations and Mobility Office that she was going to start in three days. She wanted to know if she should go to a Zara store and buy a business suit. Since we are fortunately having sales in Barcelona, it would not be an extraordinary investment for a student’s budget... but she smiled when I explained to her that she could wear the same clothes that she normally wears for attending her classes. And she smiled even more when I told her that what the Director of this Office valued most, when we talked about the possibility of having her internship there, was that she is a major in International Relations and the fact that Sara speaks English, Spanish, Polish and some Russian is so much more important for the job than wearing a nice business suit. Even from Zara...
This week the CIEE and University of Barcelona classes have started and it is always a wonderful experience to see the mix of excitement and nervousness that our students have once the real adventure in Barcelona starts… Good luck to all in your first week of classes!