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12/22/2015

Advanced Liberal Arts, Fall 2015, Newsletter III

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¡FELIZ NAVIDAD!

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A new term has just ended and many of the participants of the CIEE Advanced Liberal Arts program in the University of Barcelona are now heading home to celebrate the holidays with their families; others, however, are taking advantage of these last days of 2015 and will greet their families and friends visiting them to celebrate Christmas and New Years traveling through Spain and Europe. 

This difficult balance between being far from home, and at the same time, enjoying the opportunities that a study abroad experience can offer, finds a happy solution on Thanksgiving day. Being far from home on this day may be difficult, especially staying in a country where the references of this holiday are scarce, and the majority of the Spanish people only have references of this holiday through movies and television. But this unfamiliarity may turn into a perfect example of the intercultural component that our students experiment with while here. Charlotte (Carnegie Mellon University) and Maddie (Barnard College) celebrate with Lorena (her local flatmate in Barcelona with whom they shared an apartment during fall term) which was her first Thanksgiving in her life. Here you have some photos and a video of the dinner.

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We end with Allie's story, from Vanderbilt University, who made a balance of her time here in Barcelona as a participant of the Advanced Liberal Arts program.

¡Felices Navidades a todos!

Allie, Vanderbildt University

My study abroad experience in Barcelona has been one I will never forget. Ever since I was a freshman in college I knew I wanted to study abroad in Spain and have been so excited gearing up for this semester, but once I landed in Barcelona I was surprisingly nervous about the semester that I had ahead of me. There were several girls from Vanderbilt in the Advanced Liberal Arts program Barcelona, but I knew none of them and with the initial language barrier I felt like an outsider and was unsure how my ‘dream’ semester was going to play out. Now, looking back on my semester, I wouldn’t have changed it for anything. I had the opportunity to take classes and interact with students at the University of Barcelona, making for a challenging but very rewarding outcome, drastically improving my Spanish. Living with a family in Barcelona has given me an insight to the Catalán culture and made me feel right at home. In addition, over the course of the semester, I worked as an English tutor to 5 kids and genuinely feel like I have become part of the Vega family. But most importantly, my biggest worry was completely dissolved. CIEE gave me the opportunity to make friends from all over the United States that I never would have met otherwise. From Barça games to weekend excursions around Europe to simply sitting around a table laughing for hours about nothing, we have shared countless unforgettable memories. These are people that I can honestly say are some of my best friends. CIEE and Barcelona have given me an amazing semester that I will always treasure. ¡Viva Barcelona! 

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