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2 posts from October 2014



NEWSHow to spend your first days in Barcelona

For many students, orientation is synonymous with long lectures and information packs, but here at the Barcelona study center, we take full advantage of the city at our finger tips.  Anthony (Williams College), Oshan (Elon Univeristy), Connor (Colby College), Tina (University of California), Charisse (Eckerd College) and Ana (Tufts University) all enjoyed a sunny day after Spanish class on the private bus tour around the city.Bus tour

¿Cómo de dice….?

Anirudha (Georgetown University) led his team to win the scavenger hunt of the Mercat de Concepció, built in 1888 in the center of Barcelona in the Eixample district. It takes up an entire block area and students in the Intermediate Spanish class had one hour to complete their scavenger hunt.  The field trips in every Spanish course offer insights into different aspects of Spanish and Catalonian culture. Fieldtrips attempt to cover three dimensions of culture: (i) the organization of the city (streets, buildings, neighborhoods, monuments, etc.), (ii) everyday life (bars, restaurants, local markets, etc.) and (iii) official culture (history, arts, politics, etc.) After their visit students must complete a written assignment with information gathered during the field-trip plus readings previously distributed in class.

SpanishClassStudents aren’t the only one in Orientation

Before our CIEE classes begun last week, we held a teacher workshop for all of our new professors as well as our more experienced professors in order to have the chance to not only remind everyone of CIEE’s mission and vision, but also to address particular issues or concerns that may arise in the classrooms.  Hot topics were technology in the classroom and grading in the US compared to Spain.  Resident Directors from all programs were present, and professors took advantage of the workshop to discuss ideas and get advice from their colleagues. 





Fuera del collage

A few months ago, I read that Barcelona is the third most photographed city in the world after New York and Rome. Our city closes the top 10 list of the most popular destinations in the world, but it seems that our visitors take a lot of pictures…

Places like the Park Güell, La Pedrera or La Sagrada Familia –and other buildings by the local architect Antoni Gaudí–, the Cathedral, Santa María del Mar or the FCB soccer stadium, cross through the light, thousands of times every second, the lenses of cameras and, in a question of seconds, they go from the LCD displays of multiple devices to other displays –and eyes– around the world through the social networks. Technology has changed our lives but also the way we look at it…

I am not sure what the impact could be on these most photographed cities list of the CIEE ALA program students in Barcelona, always prepared with their cameras and phones ready to catch a popular monument, but also a secret corner of the city or an unexpected moment that surprised them and that they want to keep and share. They are not tourists. They are students of CIEE and the University of Barcelona that, after the first days of taking pictures of the Gaudí buildings, find the confidence enough to explore the city by themselves or in the company of local students, to discover the other Barcelona, the one that keep their cameras “clicking” like the first day they arrived.

234“Mis primeros días en Barcelona”, by Rebecca, Northeastern University.

The first days in Barcelona were like something out of a dream. Between the jet lag and the sensation of actually waking up in Spain I had all my fears swept away. I felt a lot of support and encouragement from the moment we were met by the group of energetic and enthusiastic University of Barcelona students to the beginning of our intensive classes at CIEE. Our visit to Girona and Calella, la Costa Brava was one of my favorite first glimpses of Spain. As a group we were taken on a tour of the historic town of Girona where I could feel the richness of the culture and see the ancient buildings all around. Later that same day we went to Calella. This was truly a breath taking experience for me. I saw and I felt the Mediterranean Sea for the first time in my life. The feeling was humbling to say the least.

The same thought kept coming up in my mind: I cannot believe I am here. When classes began at the university a whole new exciting experience awaited me. The thought of walking into the main campus, built as a ‘temple of knowledge,’ completely captured me! CIEE advised us on norms of the classroom and student conduct, which was very helpful when it came to the first few days. My first days were a perfect balance of guidance and freedom to go out and fill myself with all the beautiful elements of the city and the culture.