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5 posts from February 2015



6a010536fa9ded970b01b7c74b7c00970b-800wiDesign Internships Abroad

This semester three students on the Design Track of the program have chosen to do internships.
Ally and Alexa in their workplaces

Alexa, from Rochester Institute of Technology explains that “Frank Dominguez”, the studio in which she is doing the internship “is a lively but cozy studio located in one of the best areas in Barcelona to allow creativity to flow freely. All ideas are welcome and encouraged in the studio making the workplace entertaining as well as challenging.  Due to the fact that the studio is made up of multiple design divisions, I have the opportunity to learn from many design professionals from different design and production backgrounds. Although, I have only been working at the “estudi” for some weeks, it has already been an amazing experience. Watching the style of work and being exposed to the ideas of the designers at the studio is very inspiring and working with them has already allowed me to grow as a designer through the new methods I have been learning the past weeks. I feel very fortunate for this experience and I would definitely recommend it to future students!”.

Ally, from Fordham University, is “currently interning at a Graphic Design company, Estudi Virgili, in Gracia”. For her, “this internship is similar to those graphic design internships I have had in the past. I am given real work and tasks to complete. I work with the team to help create unique images and branding. Some of my daily tasks include finding references for examples and inspiration, creating several versions of redesigns for clients, and creating mood-boards to help portray our ideas to the client. I love my internship and am learning so much from it!”

And, lastly, Marilia, from George Washington University has found her niche here in Barcelona: she is interning in a studio that matches perfectly her idea of what design must be. She says “For a long time I was thinking of how to merge different fields of art and design rather than separating them. My internship has definitely been a mind opening experience since I have been able to see how rich it could be to incorporate interior, graphic and product design as well as photography. I feel lucky to intern in a smaller creative studio where it is a very collaborative environment, and I am learning from them as well as being encouraged to contribute to the team with my background and interests. It is a unique experience and I really feel like I belong here!”

Class visits – Meet the practitioners!

Whether they do internships or not, all the students in the program have a chance to visit local practitioners of architecture and design in their workplaces, and reflect on the philosophies and work styles behind each of them. For instance, this semester students have already gone to “The Hall Studio”, that breaks with the traditional concept of what a studio is. After almost a decade of experience working in architectural offices, Carolina Martinez decided to create her own, based on the idea of horizontal and fair collaboration with all the different agents participating in each project. She hosted our group in her office, explained about her responsible vision of architecture, and students were able to relaxedly discuss with her her approach to architecture and her particular projects.




NEWSLC Students, the Arts and Barcelona

«It felt as though I had found the place I had been looking for: the sacred core of the world, a deserted square reached by two narrow alleyways, dimly lit, with a fountain, two trees, a church and some church buildings». This description of the square of Sant Felipe Neri, from Colm Tóibín’s novel The South (1990), perfectly evokes the atmosphere of the Gothic Quarter, where past, present and future meet and dialogue.

During their first week in Barcelona, LC students participated in a Walking Tour through the street of the old city. By learning about the history of Barcino, while visiting and recognizing locations where scenes from popular movies were shot, students have been able to understand the historical significance of the neighborhood and to comment on the current representation of this area as portrayed by the media. And students became actors for one day, by representing scenes from movies such as Vicky Cristina Barcelona or Perfume.

Kyra, Alea, Allysa and Aryanna posing as the Cheetah Girls  13

Students enrolled in our Catalonia and Spain through the Arts Class had the opportunity of identify and analyze specific feature of Gothic architecture, during a very special class. After researching on the history and characteristics of famous buildings, all students shared their findings with their classmates. We learnt together, by listening to one another and building knowledge from real observation and experience.

Foto 3Frances, Nicole and Alayna presenting to their classmates the main feature of the Barcelona Cathedral.

Foto 4Chris, Alea, Tess, Maria and Miller describing the Church of Santa Maria del Mar

Foto 5Brian, Carolyn, Mattie and Aryanna outside the Church of Santa Maria del Pi)

Volunteering is also a powerful resource for learning: this semester 8 students are volunteering at Escola Pia Nostra Senyora, a local high school, as English Teacher Assistants. As usual, we are organizing one-day activities too. Maria, from Cornell University, enjoyed a wonderful experience at a soup kitchen, an opportunity to get integrated into the city and its community. In her own words: “Because it was my very first time volunteering at a soup kitchen -- let alone a soup kitchen in Spain! -- I was honestly very nervous and a little uncomfortable in the beginning. I did not know what to do and how to help. However, all those feelings of confusion and doubt dissipated as soon as we started serving food to the people. There was always a smile on my face as I served food to each person. Moreover, the warm atmosphere among the volunteers certainly made my day. Each and every volunteer served with a loving heart, which was clearly visible on their faces. I could witness a close community within the volunteers themselves. Even though there was a language barrier between me and the other volunteers, it did not hinder us from getting to know each other”.

  Foto 6Maria at the soup kitchen




With the Spring 15 semester well underway, students have already had many opportunities to experience both the Catalan and the Spanish cultures, to discover the city of Barcelona and to get involved into the intensive academic process of the Global Architecture & Design Program.  At the host institution IaaC, students are discovering new design methods, learning new technologies and becoming familiarized with the FabLab. In short, they are are quickly becoming part of the IaaC Community.

Eli (from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor) and Addison (from Philadelphia University) share images and impressions from from this first month in Barcelona:

“We have been in Barcelona for a month now and it has gone by so quickly. We have made new friends, adjusted to a new city and culture and learned a ton!  There are seven of us in the Global Architecture and Design program and we have all become good friends. Here are some of the highlights from our first month in Barcelona!

Our first full day in Barcelona was El Dia de Los Tres Reyes. Which is a holiday to celebrate when the three kings came from across the world to give presents to baby Jesus. We went with our Guardian Angels to watch the impressive parade with beautiful parade floats and confetti they shot candy out from the floats and into the streets.

Dia de los ReyesOur first weekend trip was a hike up Mt. Tibidabo. After about a 45-minute hike we arrived at the top of the mountain with breathtaking views. We later stopped for a traditional Catalan meal. We ate Calçot, which are large sweet onions that are grilled. The traditional way of eating them is by peeling off the exterior layer and then dipping it in a sauce made from nuts. The calcots are typically served with wine that is drunk out of the vessel that it is served in.Tibidado (1)The picture below is the seven of us in the Global Architecture & Design Program on our first visit to our Besos River site. The first few weeks in our design studio have been lectures and activities focused on understanding the context for our project. We have been collecting data in groups at our Besos River site on several different variables.Site Visit

IMG_4711Collecting data with the Smart Citizens Kit and Soil pH Meter.




Barcelona Feeling More and More Like Home Everyday

Kaitlyn from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business has taken documenting her Barcelona experience to a whole new level with her fabulous videos she publishes every week.  Her first week in Barcelona she describes it as “absolutely incredible from the delicious paella to the beautiful Cathedrals. Every inch is unique. Cataluña’s history and culture radiates through the streets.”
Some of the things Kaityln learned her first week:
- Catalan is the closest language to Latin and 9 million people speak Catalan
- This last year marked the 300th anniversary of the loss of Cataluña’s independence from Spain
- The Sagrada Familia will not be completed until 2026, but there is speculation it actually will because 10 more towers still need to be built
- The Arc de Triomf is made from brick because it showcases what the soil is like in Catalunya
- Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos is a celebration of the Three Kings on January 5th and marks the last day of Christmas here in Spain. Check out her week 1 video:

On her third week here she explains that “Barcelona feels more and more like home every day. This week was full of exploration. We went to the greatest place of worship in the city, Camp Nou where we cheered on the beloved home team, FC Barça! Our art history class took a trip to the MNAC museum to look at Romanesque murals that are nearly 1,000 years old. We took a Picasso walking tour around Barcenoleta. We went to a rock show, danced the night away at a jazz club, shopped through Lo Boqueria, and hiked up to Tibidado.” 

Some stuff Kaitlyn says she learned this week:
-“Visca Catalunya” = Long Live Barça and Catalonia which is chanted in Camp Nou
- One of Picasso's first cubist paintings was inspired by a women in a brothel
- Els Quarte Gats is an infamous cafe where Picasso & friends used to chill.  Take a look at her week 3 video:

It may be January, but we Play Beach Volleyball Anyway!

Tyler from George Washington University is our Spring 15 “Volleyball Student Ambassador” this semester.  Tyler plays for GW’s volleyball team at home and volunteered to organize games for both CIEE and local students.  With the exception of this particularly cold week, he’s managed to organize at least one game a week!VolleyBall

Getting to Know the Host Families

Students have had several weeks to settle in to their new homes and for many of them it’s more than just a room in a new home, but it’s a chance to make new relationships and lifelong friendships.  Ibrahima from Skidmore College has really enjoyed getting to know his host mother, Piti.  He sent us a photo of the two of them just “chilling out.”Ibrahima Thiam Chilling with host mom_HFT




Foto 0

It has been a month since Liberal Arts students arrived to Barcelona! They have been very busy with their intensive Spanish language class, getting to know the city and participating in a lot of cultural events such as guided city tours; day trips, an intercambio (language exchange event) or playing soccer with locals.

Here there are some details:

New housing option: shared apartments with a local student!

1For the first time, we added this semester the housing option to live in a shared apartment with a local student: the Barcelona flatmate! The local student not only serves as a roommate but as a part of their cultural experience of living and learning with people from a different culture. Kathryn from Vanderbilt University said:  “I'm living in a shared apartment with two american girls and one Barcelona girl. I absolutely love the new apartment option! The apartment is clean and spacious and it's really nice to feel so independent living in a new city with new friends. We have a grocery store right below our building, which is really convenient, and we cook dinner almost every night!  

Meet the host parents

11For the ones who chose to live with a host family, they met them their first day of orientation. After the first weeks to get to know each other, we conducted a housing survey and the following are the student’s opinions.  Makeda from Oregon State University commented: “Sra Llebot is an amazing host mother! She makes delicious food, does our laundry and always offers anything we might need. Her family is very kind and welcoming!” Joseph from Vanderbilt University wrote: “Food and the opportunity to learn more Spanish are the best aspects of the homestay”

Get out and use your Spanish!12

LA  students took a 3 week intensive Spanish class in which they refreshed their Spanish, got ready to their Spanish academic experience at the local institution, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, and started to use their Spanish.  Two of the out of class activities consisted in going to a local market to buy food and eat it later in the classroom; and do a scavenger hunt around a traditional neighborhood asking questions to the locals. Students enjoyed the opportunity to practice the language in a useful context.