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3 posts from May 2016




Weekend trip to Seville and Córdoba

One of the highlights of the semester is the included weekend trip, where students visit other Spanish regions accompanied by CIEE faculty and staff. This time, students in the Economics and Culture program traveled to Seville and Córdoba along with the students in the Language + Culture and Architecture + Design programs. Being as they are small programs, they all loved the opportunity to mix with other CIEE students for a couple of days! Besides visiting the main historical and cultural attractions of these two major Andalusian towns and attending a flamenco performance, we arranged so that CIEE students could meet with local students from Seville, who became their best hosts during their free time.


Students in Seville: During a walking tour (1); in the rooftop of Metropol Parasol (2) and getting ready 
to take a rowboat at Plaza de EspañaDesktop9

In Cordoba, besides visiting the Mosque, one of the highlights was discovering the magic of the Jewish Quarter.

CIEE Barcelona photo contest

Each semester, students participating in all of the CIEE Barcelona programs submit photos that capture their experience abroad to the CIEE Barcelona photo contest. Even though none of the EC students won this time, we still want to share with you the winning pictures by Gabriella (University of Kansas, Architecture and Design program) and Bridget (University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Business and Culture program)!. Enjoy!

Gabby_Catedral de Barcelona_991Catedral de Barcelona (Gabriella, University Of Kansas)

Moore_Barcelona, Spain_452Turning 21 in Barcelona (Bridget,University of Minnesota-Twin Cities)




One more semester of the Global Architecture and Design program in Barcelona has come to its end…  Students have learned immensely, and they have also enjoyed discovering a different culture, experiencing diverse educational methods, and of course living in sunny Barcelona.

Using Barcelona as an experimentation laboratory, the CIEE GAD students have developed very complex and rich design projects, exploring the relationship between city and water and seeking innovative ways to improve this connection through speculative design and experimentation. Desktop4Challenged by the necessity for self-sufficient public space and infrastructure that the cities of the future will have, the projects proposed a unique typology and an impactful technological intervention in the local context. The chief directives have been the shrewd intersection between technology and environment, especially under the rubric of ecology and computational design.

Students were exposed to digital fabrication methods at FabLab Barcelona, where they developed scaled prototypes of their proposals and performative models. By learning how to use advanced digital software such as Rhino and Grasshopper, they were able to develop complex morphologies for their projects. The Future Cities seminar allowed them to develop the theoretical part of the project. Desktop5

The biggest event of the semester were the Final Presentations of the Design Studio Projects at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia. An international jury evaluated the work of our great ten students who joined the CIEE program in Barcelona this year. The jury was composed of Antonio San Martin – aSZ arquitectes, Juan Carlos Sánchez Tappan – Espacio Sofar, Chirag Rangholia – Noumena, Joe Galea – FabLab Valletta, IAAC Faculty Silvia Brandi, Oriol Carrasco and Rodrigo Rubio, and Maria Aiolova- Global AD program Academic Director. They were all impressed by our students’ work!






This term, we have incorporated a new initiative for the Advanced Liberal Arts program that has opened up an interesting and unique interaction between the students and the professors of the program: la Semana Cultural. During these days, the CIEE cultural courses changed their format and hours, and were open to all of the students of the ALA program. The classes were unleashed from the confines of the classrooms of our Study Center, to explore different corners of the city.

For example, the professor of the course “El Quijote, de Cervantes” did a walking tour called “La Barcelona del Quijote” which allowed all students (not only those that are enrolled in the course, but all students who were interested) to walk through some locations and buildings of Barcelona in which Cervantes imagined Don Quijote, considering that many of these places still exist in the city. The students not only enjoyed this extraordinary opportunity to walk into one of the most important books in the history of universal literature, but they also commemorated the 400th year of the death of Cervantes (the 22nd of April, 1616) and the 400th year anniversary of the publication of the second part of Don Quijote de La Mancha.

La Semana Cultural was kicked off with a very beautiful inauguration: the conference/concert of the guitarist, composer and professor from the Music Conservatory of Barcelona, Joan Furió. This extraordinary musician titled his concert “España y la guitarra” (Spain and the guitar"), and while he explained to all those present the evolution of this instrument through the centuries, he played pieces of music by well known composers live.

Dr. Enrique Campomanes, professor of the “Contemporary Spain” course, had a lecture about the origin of the feeling of sovereignty in Catalunya, and on another day, he brought the students to the Parliament of Catalunya, an institution whose origin can be traced back to the 11th century; Dr. Laura Casal, professor of the “Masterworks of Catalonian Art” course guided our students through the Real Academia Catalana de Bellas Arts, one of the most emblematic buildings of the history of Catalan art of which have passed many important artists like Pablo Picasso; a visit to the Air Raid shelter from the Spanish Civil War, a tour through the Roman Barcelona, watching the movie “Julieta” (the latest movie by the Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar) completes the list of the activities of this Semana Cultural which had, as a grand finale, a wine tasting in the terraces of our Study Center on a beautiful spring day in the city.

There is nothing better to understand a place than through its culture. Our students have the opportunity to experience this first hand. 


Cultural I

Guitarist and composer Joan Furió during his recital


Kate, Tufts University

Semana Cultural embodies the idea of “active education”. For one week, our CIEE professors organized field trips outside of the traditional classroom setting to  experience, to explore, to be engaged. For me, Semana Cultural reinforced the idea that learning does not only happen in the classroom; learning, especially in Barcelona, happens everywhere.  

Semana Cultural allowed us the opportunity to even further immerse ourselves in Spanish and Catalan culture and history and as study abroad students, it is important for us to not only be exposed to different cultures, but to absorb them as well. Because after all, we students are not tourists of Barcelona; Barcelona has become our home.


Cultural II

Zoë (Vanderbilt University), Eva (Barnard College), Deborah  (Kenyon College), Brandon (Vanderbilt University) and Maia  (Fordham University)


Cultural IIIAmanda (Yale University), Kate (Tufts University) and Charlie (Vanderbilt University)