Not sure what program is right for you? Click Here

© 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Study Abroad in

Back to Program Back to Blog Home

3 posts from June 2016




We are already passed mid-semester! Summer Internship students have been very busy with their working placement, classes, cultural activities and day or weekend trips. Find here some details.

“One big world. Made smaller by one summer experience”

Foto Nels

Nels from University of Minnesota-Twin Cities at his aero business internship placement, Caravelo

Nels from University of Minnesota-Twin Cities is doing his internship an ancillary aero business startup called Caravelo. He commented about his experience“My time spent in Barcelona both inside and out of the internship environment were fast paced, calling the need to be flexible and adaptable to my surroundings from the start. With 8 weeks to learn a city and company's culture, I was able to leverage my time management not only to get work done, but to focus my energy on personal growth.

Having never traveled internationally before, the world seemed dauntingly large, and full of people with wildly different temperaments and convictions. But living in a such a lively European hub has broadened my perspective that no matter where someone calls home, we are all still human, and connection with these networks of people is both accessible and attainable.

This sparked a passion inside me for connecting with people.  In a professional sense, working on a team at Caravelo that was already very global (coworkers from Spain, Scotland, Sweden, China, etc.), made me excited to continue working with people from all regions and walks of life as I begin my career back in the United States.  And making lifelong connections that span the entire globe enlightened a new perspective on business and life itself that will last a lifetime.

First Year Engineering to Scientific Software Development

Foto CassandraCassandra from University of Michigan-Ann Arbor at her internship placement in at Intelligent Pharma

Cassandra is a raising sophomore Biomedical Engineering student from University of Michigan-Ann Arbor who is interning at Intelligent Pharma, a computational chemistry and bioinformatics company, in their sales department. This is what she assured about her experience:

“The company that I am working with this summer specializes in computational chemistry and develops computer softwares, and the only background that I had related to this field was one semester of an introductory coding class. So, not only was it overwhelming to be able to follow and understand everyone discuss topics I knew almost nothing about, but I had to also try to understand it being explained in Spanish. Everyone in the company is very welcoming, and told me that if I have any ideas to feel free to share them, but I was very quiet initially, afraid of making it seem like I didn't know what I was doing. The next day I took the inititative to read as much as I could about the technology they use and the chemistry that they apply to their projects.  Between the literature and listening and observing meetings and the rest of the company at work, I was able to grasp a firmer understanding of their work and what they do. I could then more actively participate in discussions and make suggestions, such as revisions for their website. While I was gaining all of this biotech knowledge, I was also able to improve my Spanish immensely by using is daily in the office. This experience gave me much more self-motivation and pushed me outside of my comfort zone, which will help me learn new concepts fast and take risks in future employment opportunities both nationally and internationally.”

Intensive Spanish Class

Summer Internship program students took an intensive Spanish class during their first month in Barcelona. They really enjoyed the class which they found very useful for their working experience in Barcelona.

Nels from University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and Kayla from Texas Christian University were at Beginning Spanish class. They had to do a final project of a video with a skit about a restaurant situation. Here you can watch their project:





Getting familiar with the city


It was very quick but the first session of our summer programs has come to an end. Students arrived almost a month ago and they had the chance to discover the wonders of Barcelona. During the very first days, during their orientation, students had the opportunity to get familiar with and know the basics about the city. After a talkon Health and Safety and meeting their host families, students had their first walking tour in the Old City to see the most historical areas of Barcelona. In addition,  many activities were planned to help them not only figure out how to navigate the city but also gather around and develop  closer relationships with their classmates. Plus, they got great views of Barcelona during a day trip in which they tried typical catalan food. See the views in the picture below (they are amazing!).


Jhoalmo, Nels and Cosi meeting their host mothers

Desktop11Students enjoying Tapas Night with their Guardian Angels


Students on Collserolla Mountain, with Barcelona in the background

ICE weekend

One of the most exciting activities for the summer programs is the ICE weekend (Intercultural Comparative Experience), in which our students visit another CIEE city and we in Barcelona host students from other CIEE destinations. This summer, CIEE students from Seville, Ferrara and Lisbon enjoyed the activities we planned for them, and for sure, took advantage of their free time to visit some of the wonders of Barcelona.


Arrival at Generator Hostel 


Students from CIEE Lisbon in the main entrance of Park Guell

Desktop12Students tasting some tapas at Mercat Princesa

Check out these videos to see what they thought about their visit!

In Prague, CIEE staff welcomed the students and presented a quick orientation of the city and its culture. Afterwards, everyone went on a walking tour of the main sites: Old Town Square, Prague Castle, Municipal House and the St. Nicholas Church. That evening, there was a buffet-style welcome dinner of traditional plates.

The following day students went on activities according to their chosen Interest Group and then met up again to enjoy a delicious authentic lunch. For those that wanted, an optional activity was organized to attend a performance of “Carmen” at the Prague State Opera House.

On the final day, the flight wasn’t until late in the evening so it was a free day for students! Everyone was off to explore the city. It was a long day (and late night) but an amazing adventure overall.







Higher Education and Public Diplomacy

A new course has ended, and the students of the CIEE Advanced Liberal Arts in the University of Barcelona program are returning to the United States with their suitcases full of new books, unique experiences, long standing friendships and unforgettable memories. But they are not only bringing things back home; they have also left in our country and in our memories, many aspects from their country, their culture and their vision of the world. Study abroad is, in its essence, a mutual understanding and a solid form of public diplomacy.

Public Diplomacy

The use of the university as a diplomatic front is a spontaneous practice that has emerged from its own birth. Since the 12th century' short European Renaissance, with the founding of the first universities, the exchange of students between one country to another was already an advanced and involuntary form of diplomacy. Higher education already supposed a way for a country’s expansion. We are talking about the diplomacy of the classrooms, strengthened by countries that were convinced of the transcendence of the academic world. All of the States can agree that a strong and competitive university is an open door to a certain type of individual, to a society, that will mark the future of our countries.

Public Diplomacy III

The CIEE students move through the world with the objective to learn, but they also bring with them the necessity (and will) for integration, to accumulate experiences, to discover, to broaden their vision of the world. It is the type of student that, after a few months, will know first-hand the country that has received them, they have overcome possible prejudices, and would have a complete idea of the reality, and most importantly, they would take all of this cultural knowledge with them for the rest of their lives. The student, a citizen for a time period in a country that is not theirs, will be a non-premediated ambassador; an involuntary messenger that will bring the idea of this country to the rest of the world.

We are talking about an international educational exchange, of a shared interest by institutions and by people, on knowledge transfer. It is a way to get to know each other and to establish bonds. It is, perhaps, an informal, but the closest strategy to public diplomacy, and also the most private and efficient. Here in CIEE, we strongly believe in this form of public diplomacy through higher education. We change lives; our alumni change the world.

Public Diplomacy II

Two voices, two examples of this: Darío, one of the local flatmates wrote abour his experience sharing an apartment with three students of the ALA program; Charlie, a student from Vanderbilt University, responded Darío.

Dario, Spanish local student and CIEE flatmate:

My experience with Clark, Charlie and Connor, has been one of the best living arrangements that I have had in these last years. I have been sharing apartments with many different students these past three years, and although it might sound hard to believe, this was the best experience out of all of them. But it wasn't just living with really great roommates that I got out of this experience, but own my personal growth. It is what this experience generated in my way of thinking and seeing the world that was the most poignant. Living with these guys changed me. I'm not the same Darío that walked through that door some months ago.

Starting with the simplest, they changed the way I see Barcelona, and now I see it through different eyes. I visited places that I have always had close, but have never taken the time to appreciate.

I learned about the American culture, its utilitarianism, but also its honor and respect. I learned to care and to let myself be cared for.

Testimonio Darío

I was there for them and saw how they were also there for me, without wanting anything in return. They invited me on trips with them and invited me to be a part of their lives. They taught me to understand details of their country that I had never paid any attention to at all, and that no one of my same culture could have taught me.

I had new possibilities open to me, new adventures shared with them, new celebrations and new gastronomy. But above all, I gained new friends. I had the genuine and sincere opportunity to forge a friendship, a real friendship. All I can do is thank them for coming and thank CIEE for the opportunity. You don't do exchange programs, you change the way of understanding the world and of people.

Charlie, Vanderbilt University

Entering study abroad, I felt most anxious about my living situation. Not only would I be moving to a new city, but I would also be living with strangers. Additionally, one of these roommates would be a local Spanish student, and I was unsure if we'd even be able to communicate.

However, my worries were completely unfounded. On January 28th, the entire program met for the first time in the Gran Hotel Havana to begin orientation. After a quick meet and greet, the program director put us in taxis so we that we could move into our apartments. The entire twenty-minute ride back to Sarrià, there was never once a break in conversation or lull in laughter. Through a choppy mix of Spanish and English, we had no problems communicating. During this car ride, my worries about the upcoming semester washed away. Since that day, I have not looked back.

Although I have learned a lot in my classes this semester, the most valuable lessons these last few months have occurred outside of the classroom.  While I agree with the cliché phrase, "Study abroad taught me about myself," I would say that the relationships I have formed here to be even more meaningful and insightful. Through exchanges organized by CIEE and my enrollment in the University of Barcelona, I have been able to intimately interact with students from all over the world. I have heard war stories from a Korean student over coffee, discussed the Castro regime with a Cuban student in a pool hall and swapped ski stories with a girl from Switzerland. 

Testimonio Charlie

Testimonio Charlie 2

This certainly is the most valuable part of study abroad: exposure to new people, ideas and cultures. For this reason, I am especially grateful to my Spanish roommate and the CIEE Guardian Angels for always introducing me to new aspects of local Spanish culture. 

Thank you to my friends, roommates, Guardian Angels and the CIEE program director and staff for an incredible semester. 


Barcelona (and Pablo Neruda)

And we want to finish this Newsletter with a special video: a personal tour through the streets of Barcelona made by Eva (Barnard College) and Amelia (Yale University), by the hand of the poet Pablo Neruda. Thanks Eva and Amelia!