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9 posts from March 2015

03/26/2015

NOSTÁLGICA EN ANDALUCÍA

Name: Julia
CIEE Barcelona Program: Liberal Arts
Semester: Spring 15
Home School: University of Colorado Boulder

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Cuando tenía 17 años, tuve la oportunidad de estudiar en Marbella (una cuidad en el sur de España en la región de Andalucía) por un mes. Tomé clases de español y viajé a otras ciudades en Andalucía. Cortesía de CIEE, he tenido la oportunidad de volver a dos ciudades que me encantan: Sevilla y Córdoba.

Los viajes de Sevilla y Córdoba resultaron estar llenos de nostalgia. Fue agridulce caminar por las mismas calles por donde salí con mis amigos de mi programa en Marbella. Tengo fotos de mis viajes de Sevilla y Córdoba en 2011 y es interesante comparar una variedad de cosas: lo joven que era, la calidad de la cámara, y la diferencia entre los amigos de antes y los amigos de ahora.

Mi programa de CIEE y yo tuvimos la oportunidad de visitar una variedad de monumentos en Sevilla y Córdoba. Cuando tenía 17 años, visité los mismos lugares y fue interesante volver y recordar mi experiencia pasada. En Sevilla visitamos la catedral, un espectáculo de flamenco y el Real Alcázar. En Córdoba, pasamos tiempo en la mezquita y la judería. Me sentí muy nostálgica cuando estaba caminando por el puente en Córdoba y cuando visité la Plaza España en Sevilla. Tengo un montón de fotos de esos momentos específicos. Ahora que soy más mayor, creo que tengo un gran aprecio por la historia y la cultura española.

Deseo entrar en más detalles exhaustivos a cerca de mi viaje, pero a veces los fotos son realmente todas las palabras que se necesitan.

España me ha dado más recuerdos de los que creía posibles. Doy muchas gracias a mis padres por volver a España por segunda vez y visitar los sitios que me encantan (ambos en Andalucía y Barcelona). 

Quijotes3

SUEÑO DE SEVILLA

Name: Maggie
CIEE Barcelona Program: Liberal Arts
Semester: Spring 2015
Home School: Elon University

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            Este fin de semana pasado, mis compañeros del programa y yo viajamos al sur de España para visitar Sevilla y Córdoba. Yo no sabía lo que me esperaba—solamente había visto algunas fotos de Sevilla en libros o en internet—pero la ciudad de Sevilla me impresionó mucho. Con las calles de piedra estrechas, la arquitectura con la influencia de los árabes, y la catedral de la Giralda inmensa, Sevilla es una ciudad muy distinta a Barcelona. Cuando llegamos a Sevilla el viernes y vimos la ciudad, dije que Sevilla es la imagen de España que todos los extranjeros tienen en su mente. La ciudad tiene un cierto encanto; la antigüedad y cultura tradicional de la ciudad te inspira a sentarte y tomar una copa de sangría en el sol como los nativos.

            Aunque disfruté de todas las aventuras del viaje, dos experiencias fueron particularmente destacables y las dos ocurrieron durante nuestro último día en Sevilla. El domingo por la mañana, visitamos al Real Alcázar. Este palacio es uno de los palacios en uso más antiguos del mundo. Está rodeado por murallas de piedra sencillas, pero por dentro, el palacio y los jardines son espectaculares. Originalmente, era una fortaleza árabe, pero los distintos monarcas españoles añadieron más estructuras y cuartos después de la reconquista. La arquitectura del Alcázar es impresionante; mucha de las estructuras reflejan la influencia musulmana con los arcos ornamentados y los azulejos coloridos. Me gustó mucho el Patio de las Doncellas con la piscina reflectante y los árboles pequeños, pero la vista bonita fue interrumpida cuando me di cuenta de que había perdido mis gafas de sol. ¡Esto era particularmente desafortunado porque entonces las otras chicas y yo fuimos a los jardines donde hacía mucho sol! Los jardines eran tan bonitos que me olvidé de la pérdida de mis gafas. Me gustaba mucho ver las flores florecidas después del invierno. En total, pasamos casi dos horas explorando el bonito Alcázar. ¡Sin duda, vale la pena una visita!

            Después de la exploración del Alcázar, mis amigas y yo fuimos al río Guadalquivir para tomar algo. Por suerte, encontramos la Lonja del Barranco, un mercado de tapas y comida gourmet al lado del río. Dentro del mercado, había varios puestos de comida; uno de mariscos, uno de arroz y paella, uno de jamón, uno de queso, uno de postres, etcétera, etcétera. Todas nosotras pudimos encontrar comida deliciosa. Tomé una copa de cava deliciosa con un salpicón fresco de gambas, pimientos y tomate y una tapa de paella mixta. Nos sentamos fuera del mercado disfrutando de la comida y de la conversación. Fue una manera perfecta de terminar el viaje. De hecho, ¡no queríamos despedirnos de Sevilla!

 

03/24/2015

Becoming an active member of the Barcelona community

Foto Sara C_BC

Sara Condon, BC'15 student
University of Colorado Boulder

Since moving to Barcelona and becoming an active member of the Barcelona community- I felt that I needed to give back and felt a great achieve this was through volunteering. I decided to volunteer at INS Ernest Lluch secondary school because I love working with other students and I felt that this would be a great way to learn more about the Spanish culture. My role at INS Ernest Lluch was to help local students, ages 14-16, with their English. On my first day of volunteering I felt nervous and didn’t know what to expect- I ended up showing up about 35 minutes early because I didn’t want to be late! However, my nerves quickly diminished the minute I started talking to the teacher that was in charge of the class I was going to volunteer with. She was incredibly nice and so grateful that I found the time in my life to help students with their learning. The students were as great as the teacher was. Everybody was so interested as to where I was from- they were very intrigued and a little bit confused when I told them I lived in the mountains (Breckenridge, CO). They were also very confused by the fact that I went to school 16 hours away from my parents and family and that I lived in a house with a bunch of my friends. I loved getting to know the students and telling them stuff about myself and where I’m from. Some of my favorite moments thus far have been when I explained that in America we eat eggs for breakfast (to which they were extremely shocked and very very confused- I suggest telling any Spaniard this and watching their reaction) and when I ask them about their thoughts and feelings about America. The responses the students provided me when I asked about America and Americans in general were that they thought it was a cool and fun places inhabited by, the like, cool and fun people. Repeating words that came up when I asked the students about America have been; hamburgers, Los Angeles, New York, Modern Family, movies and television. All in all, my experience volunteering has been an amazing one so far. I’ve not only learned a lot about the Spanish culture and the people, but I’ve also learned a lot about myself through this experience! I would recommend volunteering in some way or another to anybody that wants to contribute to the greater good of society and learn more about the culture they are living in!  

GLOBAL ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN, NEWSLETTER SPRING 2015, ISSUE II

NEWS

FabLab visitLast month was very intensive for Global Architecture students and faculty in Barcelona. We ended February with Midterm Presentations, which were organized together with CIEE Berlin students at IaaC, Barcelona. This was an important step in the development of the students’ projects. All the students received very helpful comments and critiques from the external jury and IaaC faculty. Moreover, Berlin and Bcn students had a chance to meet each other, share their experiences and spend a great time together after Midterm Presentations, visiting the Media-Tic Building (Enric Ruiz-Geli, Cloud9), Endesa Pavilion (IaaC, Rodrigo Rubio), DHub Barcelona and touring the FabLab Barcelona, guided by Anya Popova from FabLab Barcelona.

Gad2Two weeks ago, CIEE Barcelona students had a fabrication session at Valldaura Green FabLab of IaaC, which is located in Collserola Park. The workshop started with a visit of the Valldaura facilities and a short presentation by Jonathan Minchin, coordinator of Green FabLab. During the fabrication session students worked with CNC machines under his supervision. 

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Another important event of this month was a trip to Bilbao and San-Sebastian. CIEE Barcelona students flew to Bilbao to experience Basque culture, life and its traditions. They got to know first-hand Bilbao´s Urban development and its economic strategy plan.  On the second day of the research trip we travelled to San-Sebastian, where we had an insightful guided city tour and then had the pleasure of eating traditional Basque "pinchos".  The last day was spent visiting the Guggenheim  Museum in Bilbao. We were so impressed by its spectacular structure which was designed by Frank Gehry. The trip may have ended but many great memories and experiences remain.  

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ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN, NEWSLETTER SPRING 2015, ISSUE II

NEWS

Sketching abroad

Drawing is one of the best ways to meditate, since one keeps connected to the world”, Elsha Leventis

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Barcelona landscape, by Marilia Rojas

Lately, groups of urban sketchers have built a huge community around the world and, for sure, on the internet too, making it a popular trend within the architecture and art fields… Nevertheless, it is already known that urban sketching is much more than a trend… When someone stops by our architecture studio or just looks through the notebooks of our AD students, they may realize that all the quick drawing and sketches are something more than what they appear. Instead, the sketches work as a diary, portraying memories, the student’s relationship with the spaces they have visited or they are simply the prove of the fascination for unfinished artworks…

This semester, our AD students have surprised us with their sketches and quick drawings, showing us the wide and open multitude of possibilities while studying abroad in Barcelona. Besides the students’ learning objectives in Spanish, local culture and intercultural skills, sketching abroad broadens their experience in terms of artistic and architectural inspiration and their personal relationship with the city.

For instance, Damaris, from Howard University showed us drawings from her Architecture Studio project and some personal sketches of places around Barcelona.

Damaris1

Damaris2

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In the same way, Marilia, from George Washington University, wanted to share some of her travel sketches. She made these during our weekend trip to Bilbao, where she had some time for sketching, even inside the Guggenheim Museum.

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As well as the artistic and personal aspects of urban sketching, the benefits of drawing on-site are obvious for the architectural practice. Taking the realm, the atmosphere of the buildings and places one can visit is an important step in the architectural creative process, as we can see thanks to contributions from the Architecture Studio professor, Rafael Gómez-Moriana, who shares his vision of some iconic buildings of Barcelona and Spain:

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How can one do all this? It’s simple! As we can see in the following video, in which Sara, from University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, is sketching in the Mies van der Rohe Pavillion: One needs only very basics tools (a notebook and some pens) and the willingness to better know the world (and himself).

03/19/2015

LIBERAL ARTS, NEWSLETTER SPRING 2015, ISSUE II

NEWSSpring semester is going fast! Liberal Arts students have been very busy with classes, cultural activities, academic trips, volunteering or doing an internship. Find here some details.

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When coaching middle schoolers “it´s a blast”

ImageJoseph (Joe) form University of Minnesota- Twin Cities goes very Wednesday from 11:30 - 1:30 to Escola Montseny to help out in a gym class with children ranging from the ages of 11-14 years old. Joe gets to run around and hang out with middle schoolers while practicing his Spanish. Safe to say,” it’s a blast “ ,he assures.

Joe adds: “I love the fact that every single child in class is absolutely fascinated with this random American exchange student who is in class once a week. As soon as the students see me walk into the gym for class, I can expect to hear a loud, “¡Pepe!” from just about everyone in class within roughly five seconds. They’re truly excited to see me, and were quite concerned when I wasn’t there one week. The constant and genuine attention they give me for those two hours pretty remarkable and definitely something I will miss. Whether it’s the absolutely absurd questions they have for me, participating in class with the kids, or just the casual small talk I have with all of them; volunteering at Escola Montseny will be one of the experiences I cherish most when I look back on my abroad experience”.

Long Lunches and Hard Work

InternshipMakeda from University of Oregon is doing an internship in an event planning company: n’Eventum. She declared: “There's no better way to learn the culture of a place than by surrounding yourself with its people. My internship at n'Eventum allowed me to do just that, and I can say that I now understand what it means to live in Barcelona a lot more now. One thing I know I'll never encounter in the US is the long, leisurely lunches that occur daily at the n'Eventum office. No matter how busy the work day seems, it's always guaranteed that lunch lasts at least 1.5 hours. It's relaxed, social and always filled with talking and laughter. After, everyone resumes their day and works diligently until around 6:30 pm. It's less centered around efficiency than in the US, but I am always impressed by the amount and quality of work that is done. It's definitely a custom I'd love to take home with me when I go back to the US. “

Quijotes Club activities

21Liberal Arts students can join the Quijotes Club, a club to promote the use of Spanish at all times and the intercultural competence and integration. Students need to participate in different cultural activities, such as a Salsa workshop, one-day volunteer campaigns, attend a casteller practice, or watch a Barça football game with locals, among others. Quijotes students also need to attend the Intercambio nights, where they meet local students to do an exchange conversation English/Spanish. Our students have been participating in all of these extra activities and have been enjoying the intercultural aspect of it.

They already shook it and had a good time in the Salsa workshop! 

LANGUAGE AND CULTURE, NEWSLETTER SPRING 2015, ISSUE II

NEWSAitana Laura Barcelona

LC students are enjoying very much their semester in Barcelona: classes, language exchanges, volunteering activities, excursions, visits to museums and cultural centers are just a portion of the many ways through which our students are experiencing the city and its culture. A special thanks goes to our Guardian Angels, we interviewed two of them, Aitana and Laura: their enthusiasm and open-minded attitude is clear and constant!

Aitana graduated in Modern Languages and Literatures (concentration in English and Spanish) at the University of Barcelona (UB), where she is currently enrolled in a Master degree in Teaching Foreign Languages.

How will you define your experience as Guardian Angel at CIEE?

Absolutely rewarding and fun. I am enjoying very much sharing moments and activities with LC students and learning about American culture. Every minute with LC students is being unforgettable, as they are so interested in Spanish and Catalan culture. I would strongly recommend this experience to other students.

Your favorite activity, so far.

I loved having tapas with the students. It was one of the first activities and a wonderful way to get to know each other and start bonding. Throughout the semester we have met on several occasions to eat tapas and try local dishes.  Foto 1

A group of LC students with Aitana

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LC students with Aitana and Laura, celebrating Carnival in Barcelona

Foto 3Aitana and Drew (from Harvey Mudd College), who is wearing traditional Catalan clothes

Laura is about to graduate in International Relations at the Ramón Llull University (URL).

How will you define your experience as Guardian Angel at CIEE?

This is my first time as Guardian Angel and I am truly enjoying the experience. Getting to know students like me, with different background and interests, is a constant learning opportunity. I love sharing opinions and activities with them and learn from their perspectives.

Your favorite activity, so far.

I was quite impressed by the interest in history and art LC students share, when we visited the Cathedral of Barcelona and the Tibidabo Church. LC students went to Besalù on a CIEE organized excursion and their comments on this small Medieval town made me think of the importance of our cultural heritage and its significance.

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Aitana with Maria (from Cornell University) and Kayla (from Gordon College) in Montjuic Foto 5

Aitana and Evan (from Cornell University) at a castellers practice

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Aitana and Laura with a group of LC students eating tapas

We have also interviewed professor Xavier Ferrer, who holds a Ph.D. in Geography, besides teaching at CIEE, he collaborates as instructor and researcher at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and at Pompeu Fabra University (UPF). Xavier is a passionate scholar and enthusiastic professor.

Could you, please, briefly describe the main learning outcome of your CIEE course?

By the end of the course Spain Today: Politics and Society students are prepared to interpret the major political, social and economic changes that Spain has gone through since the end of Francisco Franco’s dictatorship in 1975.

Which is the class topic students are consistently more interested in?

Spain's integration in the European Union in the 80's and the current Independentist Movement in Catalonia.

Is there any specific element that you particularly enjoy about teaching at CIEE?

At the beginning of the semester students know very little about the local (and even the European) political context. It is fascinating and very gratifying to see how, as the course progresses, the students’ ability to understand and explain Spanish Politics upgrades extraordinarily.

Is the city of Barcelona a good stage for complementing class topics?

Absolutely. Barcelona constitutes an excellent laboratory that enables us to explore Spain's crucial contemporary sociopolitical transformations in a dynamic way. The combination of on-site classes and the student's everyday experience in the city allows to efficiently complement the theoretical sessions of the course.

Xavier also participated in our weekend trip to Granada, his presence added enormous value to the trip, as he was able to provide and share relevant information for understanding the city and its history.

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LC students at the Mirador de San Cristóbal in Granada

Lastly, LC students enrolled in the CIEE course Catalonia and Spain through the Arts had the opportunity of putting their creative skills into practice, by designing a tour for the promotion of Gaudí’s architecture which included the creation of a poster. As always, students demonstrated their ability to experience the arts from a personal and creative perspective. The group is currently working on a bigger project: we will keep you posted!

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Poster for the Gaudí Tour by Nicole from the University of Colorado Boulder

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Poster by Alayna from the University of Colorado Boulder

Foto 10Poster by Mattie from the University of Colorado Boulder

Foto 11Crosswords on Gaudí by Eric from Vanderbilt University

ADVANCED LIBERAL ARTS, NEWSLETTER SPRING 2015, ISSUE I

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In the Advanced Liberal Arts program, we organized different linguistic exchanges throughout the semester in order to give ALA students the chance to meet locals of the same age, but also to meet people that are in similar fields of studies. Local students are always from the University of Barcelona, so in addition to the linguistic exchange per se, they also help with tips about courses, or even give them an introduction to the Catalan language. We always program the first encounter during orientation week. This way, ALA students meet locals literally a few hours after they have landed in the city, and some of these acquaintances quickly turn into friendships permitting both Spanish and English speakers to meet all throughout the semester to practice using the new language on their own in private language meetings. We believe that ALA students appreciate the chance to start practicing Spanish at such an early stage of their stay.

In this newsletter, two of the program participants explain to us their experience with this exchange: Paige with a young cinema director and professor of film studies in the UB, and Lauren with a Modern Language student.

Paige Polk, Rice University:

As a study abroad student, I anticipated that my semester in Spain would no doubt be filled with plenty of new and exciting opportunities. Just going to the grocery store is a linguistic and cultural exchange! However, I stumbled upon a more formal opportunity when I met with a friend over tapas. After a long day in class, I wasn´t sure how I´d feel about an organized meeting at the end of the day. However, I´m so glad that I said yes! It´s pretty easy to assume that a language exchange will be an awkward encounter with a stranger as you rattle off interesting facts about your perspective countries. But just like studying abroad in general, it´s best to enter without any expectations and an open mind. Only that way will you get the most out of your experience with a language exchange.  It turned out that we have far more in common that our different cultures would have us to believe. Even though we live on opposite sides of the world, we were able to have a conversation about pretty specific interests of ours that had some definite overlap. From portrait documentary film to the trials of long-distance relationships, it was almost too easy finding things to talk about!

01Lauren Pach, Indiana University:

It is sometimes difficult to make friends and meet new people when you are living in a city as large as Barcelona. Though we go to class every day with local students at the university here, it is still a challenge to initiate conversation with a classmate. The CIEE intercambios have been the best way for me to meet local students during my time in Barcelona. Both the local students and we CIEE students attend the intercambios because we want to meet people and we want to practice our language skills, so the conversation always flows easily. I have enjoyed getting to know local students from Barcelona, Catalonia, and all of Spain.

Beyond making friends, though, the intercambios provide a great environment for improving my language skills. I find that on any given day in Barcelona, I hear plenty of Spanish, but I don’t necessarily speak as much Spanish as I would like to. However, the intercambios force me to step outside of my comfort zone and initiate conversation in Spanish. It is always fun as well to help the local students with their English. When I listen to them speak English to me, I suddenly understand more or less how I sound to them when I speak Spanish. Both we and the local students are always modest in describing our language of abilities, but the intercambios have taught me that we are all better at communicating than we lead ourselves to believe. Overall, I am very grateful for the opportunity to get to understand the culture and people of Barcelona better by participating in the CIEE intercambios.

PAN/BREAD

By Mar Modolell, Student Services

02One of the best ways to to get in touch with a culture is by being familiar with its gastronomy.

El pa de pagès (peasants bread) is one of the typical types of bread from Catalunya and is what is typically used to make the pa amb tomàquet (bread with tomato). It is a rustic and aromatic bread with a crunchy crust that preserves the bread perfectly for days. In fact, it is even better the day after it is baked and at two days later, when it has had time to sit  “asentado” and the bread is more firm, this is the optimal time to eat it.

In CIEE we did a bread workshop for the students in a way that they could get to know the main ingredients of the bread, so that they can learn to make this delicious bread at home but also, so that at the same time, they can learn all the relevant vocabulary in Spanish.

03/05/2015

ECONOMICS AND CULTURE, NEWSLETTER SPRING 2015, ISSUE I

NEWSCarnaval Fun!

Barcelona's annual Carnaval has always been a joyous occasion, full of celebrations and elaborate costumes. With its usual colorful exuberance, Carnaval 2015 took place on February 17th with the traditional procession through the city, 'La Gran Rua'.  It's a great thing to see, with dozens of floats and hundreds of children and adults in costume and fancy dress.  It’s hard not to get caught up in the preparations! Kyle Cournoyer (Fordham University) captures it perfectly in his photo which he entered into the Spring15 CIEE Photo Contest:Kyle Cournoyer_¡Carnival! feat. Carolyn Chadwick_Best exp

Showing them how it’s done

Ned Cooley (Elon University) shows his fellow classmates his cooking skills during Cook and Taste, one of our study center’s classic cultural activities.  Students get to cook several different dishes including paella and this delicious Crema catalana, seen in the photos below.  Crema catalana is a dish that shares some common traits with a number of puddings from France and the UK and both those countries claim to be the inventors of this delicious dessert. However, legend has it that the Catalans actually created it.  The story goes that a local bishop visited a convent and, to welcome their special guest, the nuns prepared a typical flan. Just before the bishop arrived, the nuns realized that the flan was too liquidy.  As they had no time make anything else, they covered the flan in sugar, burnt it and served it to their guest of honor.  As the bishop didn’t realize that the pudding was still hot, when he took the first bite, he screamed “crema!” which means “It’s burning”. So according to this story, the dessert is sometimes called crema cremada and in French is crême brûlée (both meaning burnt cream).Ned Cooley Cook and Taste

Human Towers

The Economics and Culture students got the opportunity to practice with the Barcelona castellers team last month.  As you can see in the photo below, arm closes around a human huddle, similar to a football huddle, known in Catalan as the pinya (pineapple).  The next step involves climbing upwards form the central part of the castell, the tronc (trunk), made up of some two to five human layers. Finally, two small children, usually no older than five or six, climb up to the top to create the pom de dalt (the crown of the castle).

Teams of castellers, known as colles (pronounced ´koi-yas´), meet twice a week to practice. According to the magazine Descobrir Catalunya, there are a total of 65 teams in Catalonia, Ibiza and Mallorca. During these sessions, different parts of the castell are made, but never the whole thing (this is left for the festivals).Castellers