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4 posts from April 2016




Our spring semester has come to its end. Students have learned and enjoyed their stay in Barcelona and we hope they have gained intercultural knowledge after four months of living in a different culture. We wish them a good and safe return home!  Here you have some of the last activities they did. 

Students get inspiration through Service Learning


Liberal Arts students participated in a service learning/community engagement activity as part of their CIEE Advanced Grammar, Composition and Conversation II course.

Lauren from University of Iowa read and sang “The Wheels of the Bus” to the 5 years old kindergarten kids; Sara and Taylor from Vanderbilt University talked about animals and animals sounds to 1st and 2nd graders; Alex from Cornell University and Larkin from Colby College did an oral presentation about Thanksgiving in 3rd grade; Kyle from University of Minnnesota and John from Fordham  talked about Thanksgiving to 4th graders; Anna from Vanderbilt and Caroline from Fordham explained 4th of July celebration; and Zach from University of Iowa did a presentation about rock guitar to 6th graders.

Children were thrilled and they were very interested in asking questions about the American society. “Do you live in Hollywood”, “Do you have music in the States” or “What is your favorite food” were some of the curios questions children asked.

After their volunteering, students interviewed the school principal and the Academic Team to learn about the educational system and compare it to the American one.

We love Granada!

We went to Granada in our program weekend trip.  We toured the traditional muslim neighborhood, Albaicín; visited the number one momunent in Spain, the Alhambra; attended a flamenco show and saw the Catholic Kings (Isabel and Fernando) tombs at the Capilla Real.

Students really enjoyed the trip and some of them even dared to dance some flamenco!

When playing soccer brings people together


Alex from Cornell University played soccer in his neighborhood on Saturdays


This is what he wrote about his experience: “Playing soccer in Gracia has been a great experience so far in that it has allowed me to feel much more a part of Gracia as a neighborhood and experience local culture and language through another means. There is a mixture of Spanish, Colombian, Chilean, Argentinian, and other spanish-speaking players who are incredibly outgoing and interesting to talk to. For instance, two weekends ago I met a man from Santiago, Chile, and we talked about a bit about Patagonia and South American politics. Also, it's quite a different experience from our regular classes at Pompeu Fabra or CIEE in that the players and locals speak incredibly quickly--especially in vastly different accents if they come from South.

CIEE also organizes soccer matches with locals that way our students get to practice sport and meet local people to better integrate in the society.



Fall semester has come to its end. We wish our students have had an enriching cultural experience studying abroad in Barcelona. These are some of the last activities they have done.

Spanish Mosaics: from Seville to Barcelona

At the CIEE course Catalonia and Spain Through the Arts, students need to do three visual essays, as one of the most important aspects for the art knowledge is observation and visual relation skills. Natalia from University of Scranton chose mosaics. She compared the straight lined, predictive patterns of mosaics such as those found in Sevilla with the ceramic, broken, and seemingly random patterns of Gaudi found across Barcelona.

Joshua from Vanderbilt University did his visual essay about arches comparing their practicality with their aesthetics.



Cultural learning through volunteering

Sara Carta Wagman

Sara from Vanderbilt University with her group of students at Escola Pía


Sara from St. Catherine University volunteering with middle schoolers

A total of five students from the Language and Culture Program volunteered at a local high school, Escola Pía, as English teacher assistants. They helped local students to improve their English with conversational sessions where they led debates related to the cultural differences between Spain and United States. 

Sara from Vanderbilt University commented: “Students are all so engaged in our discussions with topics that range from Spanish politics, music festivals in Barcelona, the upcoming US election, fútbol, traveling the world, and so much more! It has been such a great experience overall, and I would recommend it to anyone!

Sarah from Catherine University said: “The thing that I have liked the best is being able to learn about the culture here in Barcelona through the perspective of students.”

Jasmine from University of Iowa also said: “The students were very welcoming and friendly and I was often surprised at how deep the conversation can go for individuals that I had not known an hour before. I would highly recommend to any incoming students.”

Weekend trip: going south

02 LC+AD+EC Sevilla

LC students enjoyed the weekend trip to Sevilla and Córdoba. In Sevilla we visited the cathedral with its famous mudejar tower, La Giralda, we toured the old Jewish center, Santa Cruz neighborhood, and the Reales Alcázares (Royal Palaces) scenario of some Game of Thrones episodes! In Córdoba, apart from visiting the Mosque-Cathedral and the old town, students got to enjoy the local traditional tapas: flamenquín, salmorejo and fried eggplants with honey.




Living with American Housemates, Cristina, Barcelona native

Cristina bernal

“You’re such a brave person”. “I would have given it a second thought”. “You have a finger in every pie”… These are some of the things that my family and friends said to me when I told them that from January I was going to live with 5 American students. For the first time I would start a new phase in my life, for the first time I would become independent, I wouldn’t live with my parents for four months, I would live with 5 people from another country, I would get to know a new culture and new traditions as well as different ways of thinking.

I still remember the first time that I saw them, in the orientation hotel. We were all very nervous, excited to get to know each other and to see the new place where we would live for almost half a year. I prepared some muffins, bonbons and juices to welcome them, some sort of party for having met each other. They were really tired when they arrived, but from the very first moment we already sat all together around the living room table, we started to organize the cleaning turns and we discussed other issues in order to make the co-living easier.

The experience has been fantastic, especially for them: they have tasted a lot of traditional Spanish food and they have also learned to cook it with me! They learned new expressions and their Spanish level has improved a lot, it’s been a new experience for them to live with a Spanish girl, and everyone has grown from this experience. They even met my family! So I can say that they really enjoyed being here, they have discovered new places, traditions, habits and typical dishes… But first and foremost: they have made a good friend, and have ended up becoming a second family here.

Some of the moments will forever stay frozen in photos, but pictures are not enough to sum up this wonderful intercultural experience. I am very grateful to CIEE for this opportunity!

Competitive Strategy Field Trip, Prof. Eduardo Rodes

Eduardo rhodes

Last Wednesday we took a field trip to one of the hotels in the Praktik chain. They have a very interesting business model in a very competitive industry – hotels in Barcelona. They compete with accessible pricing for a medium hotel, with 50 well-situated rooms. Their main differentiating element is themed services, integrating a high-class winery and a boutique bakery. It was really interesting to see how they complemented their different business.  We had a great time!

Off the Beaten Track for Spring Break

Jamie (Indiana University) - Senegal

Jamie senegal

The decision to travel to Senegal wasn’t an easy one - terrorism, kidnapping, and mugging were all common themes that came up in conversation when I told people of my Semana Santa plans. In reality, the best word to describe Senegal is not “dangerous,” but rather “colorful,” both literally and figuratively.  Brightly colored fabrics adorn every corner of the cities and villages, which are bustling with merchants selling fresh fruits and with children playing soccer, with goats and cows roaming the streets and with enticing smells of rice and fish… And at every turn, we were met with “teranga” (the Wolof word for “hospitality.”)

If nothing else, my voyage taught me that Senegal – and probably much of Africa, for that matter – has a PR problem. No, Senegal is not teeming with terrorists who are staked out to capture a group of foreigners. No, it isn’t filled with men who are eager to buy wives for goats. Rather, it’s friendly, it’s energetic, and from the banks of the Gambian River to the villages atop regal mountains, it’s breathtakingly beautiful. 


Jeremy (University of Wisconsin-Madison) – Atlas Mountains and Sahara Desert

Jeremy marruecos

My Morocco trip was an amazing trip that really opened my eyes to another part of the world. Whether it was walking around the souk, sleeping in the Sahara Desert, or driving through the villages hidden within the Atlas Mountains, I felt extremely lucky to be experiencing those moments with my friends and it made me appreciate what I have here in Barcelona and back home in the United States. It gave me motivation to continue my passion for traveling and explore other parts of the world that are off the beaten track.



Being a graphic design intern

In our last Spring 16 newsletter, we want to highlight Caroline’s amazing experience as a graphic design intern. For the past three months, Caroline (University of Tulsa) has worked 8 hours a week at Herder, a well-known publishing house in Barcelona … and two of her own designs for book covers have been printed! Watch this video and hear her talk about her experience:


Caroline, with one of her published designs

Looking in retrospect

While the Spring semester has come to its end, our students’ impressions of what it means to study abroad in Barcelona with CIEE will always stay with us. Please watch Beth (University of Kansas) and Emily (Princeton University) talk about it.