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7 posts from November 2016


Having fun with my new friends! by Marta Delgado

I have shared lots of good moments with the girls of my apartment Sydney, Erica and Margaret since their arrival to Barcelona. We shared panellets and chestnuts during the typical festivity of la Castañada in Cataluña.

We have done other things together: we shared moments in the kitchen preparing delicious food and having lunch or dinner together in the apartment. We also like going to eat tapas together and to try new things. 

What we like doing the most is sharing moments when we are together at home having a tea or an ice-cream.

I hope they feel as if they were at home.



Living with my US flatmates! By Sergi Velasco

It was a Friday night and Liron, Ben and I decided to cook something homemade together for dinner. But we are not professional chefs, and what we knew best was “typical and topical student food”, so we got ready to cook the typical Student meal. J

We went to the supermarket to buy the ingredients, we put some background music to cook and we did some ¡¡TACOS!! It was very fun and the truth is that the tacos were really good.

3During the month of November, in the apartment we have organized some movie sessions with the Halloween theme. We prepared ourselves properly: we put some popcorn in the microwave, we fixed the technical difficulties with the computer, we closed the lights and action!

The first movie that we saw was Halloweentown, a horror movie which is a classic in the USA.  After that we saw the movie Los Otros, by Alejandro Amenábar, which is a horror and mystery movie.






As educators, in CIEE we know that the learning process always goes beyond the four walls of a classroom: it is also a question answered in the halls after class, a long conversation about a lateral subject that has come up after asking a concrete academic question in the professor’s office, or a serendipitous meeting in any corner of the city between any of our students. All of this complements and strengthens that which is already included in an always limited syllabus program.

If there is anything that defines the educative experience of any student during their stay abroad it is, without a doubt, the experiential learning where observation, the interaction with new elements and personal reflection are key in the process of learning. Last Friday, we ended the Semana Cultural (Cultural Week) of the ALA program, a week that supports this idea of experiential learning. That week, the standard CIEE cultural courses changed their format and hours, and were opened to all the students of the ALA program.



La Semana Cultural was kicked off with a very special inauguration: Dr. Mariano Lambea (musicologist from CSIC) and Dra. Lola Josa (UB professor of Spanish Golden Age Literature) offered a lecture titled “Entre aventuras y encantamientos: música para Don Quijote” (Amongst Adventures and Spells: Music for Don Quixote). In this lecture, Mariano and Lola composed a poetic itinerary with music to illustrate certain landscapes of the novel “Don Quijote de La Mancha.” The students could listen to the sounds of some pieces that were recorded by La Gran Chapelle, a vocal-instrumental group specialized in the interpretation of historical music with original instruments. La Semana Cultural continued with various visits to temporary exhibitions, museums, walks through Roman Barcelona, and the viewing of a recently premiered Spanish movie in the cinemas of the country.


But this Cultural Week started with the previous weekend trip to Seville and Cordoba, two cities of Andalusia with a unique artistic legacy. The trip was preceded by special sessions from different CIEE courses dedicated to contextualize what the students were going to see. For example, the professor of the course “Masterworks of Catalonian Art” dedicated a class to explain the characteristics of Islamic art in Spain; the professor of the “Contemporary Spain” course dedicated a session to explain the “Reconquista,” the period of history of the Iberian Peninsula spanning approximately 770 years between the Islamic conquest of Hispania in 710 and the fall of the last Islamic state in Iberia at Granada; the professors of the CIEE mandatory course “Advanced Writing and Stylistics” explained to the students the varieties of Spanish in Andalusia. We are convinced that these academic sessions served as a theoretical base to enjoy, in its entirety dimension, the trip to the south of Spain.


In addition, the students had a surprise: it was a meet-up with the students from the ALA program of the CIEE Seville Study Center, where they could share conversations about the city. It was really touching to see them speaking, from the first moments onwards, only in Spanish. And what better guides to discover Seville’s nightlife at night than from the first-hand experiences of the current students living there!



TESTIMONIAL. Learning Outside of the Classroom, by Jared (Colorado College)

I went abroad to learn, but the essence of proper education is that it transcends the classroom. The proper education does not manifest until it is practically applied, or, better yet, unpractically considered by the student. John Keats, the famous English poet, once said that “nothing becomes real ‘til it is experienced.” I have to experience Barcelona, Spain in order to learn about Barcelona, Spain. This experience was made available by CIEE in the inaugural Semana Cultural.

During this week, I was provided with several opportunities to apply what I have learned and then other opportunities to absorb raw culture. The first activity I attended was a lecture on the music that was tactically coupled with Cervantes’ Don Quixote. I had no prior knowledge of music, music theory, or even the omnipresence of Cervantes’ canonical novel. The entire room was engaged and provoked to consider the thematic and syntactical implications of the Quixote musical-poem experience.

The next cultural experience was at the Museu Nacional D’Art de Catalunya. A group of us were given a tour by Professor Anna Vallfugera. She thoughtfully guided us through the art of Ramon Casas, the furniture of Antoni Gaudí, and finally the medieval collection of frescos that are delicately removed from their original sites throughout Catalunya. The experience that began with exiting the Espanya metro stop on the green line, and then led to an ascension to the palace that holds the Catalan art collection, manifested in a newfound respect for the artists of this region from hundreds of years back to the Catalan artists of present day.

I then attended a screening of Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s Que Dios Nos Perdone. The film itself revealed the distinction between Spanish, and perhaps European, cinema and that of the United States. The consensus following the movie was that several scenes from the film would not have been allowed in a general cinema in the United States. The lack of limits imposed on an artist within a more progressive society was explored among my classmates and me.

To finish the week, I went on a tour of the Museu D’Historia de Barcelona. The focus of the tour was on the Roman influence in the Barrio Gótico that exists to this day, both culturally and architecturally. At the end of the week I had covered all aspect of the arts, both written and visual, as well as tapped in to the history of one of the most dynamic cities I’ve explored. The Semana Cultural took me out of the classroom and into the museums, cinemas, and streets of Barcelona—and I came out a more enriched abroad student.




We are already passed mid-semester! Liberal Arts students have been very busy with classes, cultural activities, meeting locals or volunteering. Find here some details.

“From the six-year olds, I have learned how to better pronounce certain words”

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Kayla from Wellesley College volunteers in a local school as an English teaching assistant

Liberal Arts students have the opportunity to volunteer as English Teacher Assistants at a local school, Centre d’estudis Montseny, for two hours every week. This is what they say about their experience.

Kayla from Wellesley College commented about her experience:

“On Tuesdays, I work with 14 year-old students.  Since they have been studying English for a while now, we focus on discussion and conversational skills.  Usually, there is a group of 6 to 10 students and we talk for an hour about certain topics that the teacher and I have previously come up with.  On Thursdays, I work with six year-old students.  Because they are younger, they are exposed to English during Arts&Crafts time.  I help the teacher in instructing the children on how to make the certain crafts of the day.  Along with saying the directions in English, I usually spend most of the time going from table to table, speaking with the children, asking them basic questions to expose them to more English.

The best part about volunteering at Escola Montseny is that I get to learn things from the students.  I have learned a lot from the older students about Spanish culture, how growing up in a household in Barcelona is different from in the US, and which good, local restaurants are a must-try.  From the six year-olds, I have learned how to better pronounce certain words, and they have also taught me some basic Catalan (which has been very useful!).”

Bomb shelter visit: “I think the fieldtrips are helpful for understanding the concepts taught in class”

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Students visited a bomb shelter built during the Spanish Civil War  

Students at the Past and Present in Barcelona CIEE course got to visit a bomb shelter built by the locals during the Spanish Civil War. There they learned about when Barcelona was bombed by the Italian army who helped Franco’s troops in 1938, when around 1300 people died. Students learned about the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and got to explore the bomb shelter where locals protected themselves from the bombs. Students commented: “I think the fieldtrips are helpful for understanding the concepts taught in class”.

Syrian Refugee in Barcelona explains his experience to our students

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Mayar Skita is a Syrian refugee from Alepo who is studying a Master’s Degree in Barcelona and came as a guest speaker to the Past and Present in Barcelona CIEE class. He made a presentation about the current war situation in Syria and explained how he got to be a refugee in Barcelona. Students asked a lot of questions about the Syrian war and his experience leaving the country. Professor focused on Barcelona as a city who welcomes refuges and how was when people from Barcelona were refugees in other countries during the Spanish Civil War.

language + culture, fall 2016, newsletter ii


Fall semester is going fast! Language and Culture students have been very busy with classes, cultural activities, academic trips, volunteering or doing an internship. Find here some details.

“I love that my internship deals directly with political advocacy and the well-being of others”

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Jasmine from University of La Verne at her internship placement

Jasmine from University of La Verne is doing her internship with the SOLIDUS Project which is part of CREA, a research organization in Europe. SOLIDUS focuses on investigating how to improve the social inequality and psychological wellbeing of European citizens.

Jasmine commented about her job: “We work with 15 universities all over Europe. My job is to decipher over 100 case studies and create an interactive newsletter for researchers and the citizens of Europe to learn about the different programs and initiatives that SOLIDUS has researched. I really like my internship, I am the first international student to be working for CREA and it has defiantly helped not only my Spanish speaking skills but to integrate more into the Spanish lifestyle. The best part of my internship experience is being able to learn about the different political and social issues around Europe and the strives people are making to help make a difference. I love that the SOLIDUS Project deals directly with political advocacy and the well-being of others. 

“I get to explore the city and write about my experiences”

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Max from University of Boulder Colorado with his co-workers

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Max’s wrote about the BIG IF, Europe´s largest Improvisation Festival

Maxwell from University of Boulder Colorado is doing his internship at a tourism website called Barcelona Connect. It is a tourism website and magazine geared toward an international audience and is written in English.  He is writing and composing articles about Barcelona such as the Europe´s largest improvisation festival, eating out in Barcelona or theatre plays, among others. Max assured about his placement: “I talk about different activities around the city and what are some fun things to do. I get to explore the city and write about my experiences. The part I enjoy most is being able to see parts of Barcelona I might not have thought of before.” 

 “The coolest part about my internship is that I get to interview and work with artists that I respect and admire” 

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Paris from University of la Verne at his internship placement in Lenovo magazine

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Paris got to help Antony Lister to paint his mural in Barcelona

Paris transition from an internship for a political organization in California, to an internship in a news publication, Lamono magazine, where he often researches and writes stories revolving around skate culture, art, fashion, and music.

Paris declared: “ I think the coolest part about my internship is that I get to interview and work with artists that I respect and admire. Last week I worked with world renowned street impressionist Anthony Lister.  He was in Barcelona to paint a large mural. I had the opportunity to not only watch him paint the mural, but also helped paint the mural's white background. 

The week before that I wrote a story  on the Volcolm x Anthony Lister collection.  A couple other artists I've had the pleasure of interviewing and working with are Lisa Leone, Ivory ierra, and Lief Pohajsky.  It's truly been an amazing experience.


Spanish Dinner in our Flat! By Javier Marban


On September 27th, our Flat buddie Javier organized a Spanish dinner with typical Spanish dishes in the apartment with his flat mates Elliot, Brandon and Jack. In the dinner there were well-known homemade Spanish dishes. CIEE students knew most of them: Paella, Canelones, Tortilla de patatas, Arroz con leche and Pà amb tomàquet

There were some additional typical Spanish products like Chorizo and Queso Manchego


Even though the typical national dishes are already internationally well-known, other products like chorizo or queso were completely unknown for the students, and of course they had a great welcoming! In the dinner there were more students of the CIEE program (students from other apartment).


Architecture + Design, FALL 2016, NEWSLETTER II



More than halfway through the semester, CIEE Architecture and Design students are fully used to Barcelona, and they are also becoming fully acclimated to the specifics of architecture and design in the city. Very appropriately, a few days ago local architect Genís Bargués gave a guest lecture for the program’s core class (The city in the visual culture), and he spoke about how having lived abroad had helped him become a better architect. Genís explained the challenges of practicing architecture out of one’s comfort zone, which he had experienced during the four years he lived and worked in Turkey. Following the idea of Iñaki Ábalos, Chair of the Department of Architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design: “We must fight against beret: settle in a place does not give certainty. The formation of an architect is infinite-ly more interesting if it is able to have the world on the head”.

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This first-hand architectural and intercultural experience is possible for CIEE students too! This semester, Parker (Washinton State University) chose to bit the bullet, and he is interning with Demostudio. Check out his impressions about his experience in this video.