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6 posts from January 2017


Global Architecture + Design, Spring 2017, Newsletter i


Barcelona Global AD students have been in the city for almost four weeks now, and we would like to share with you one of our Spring ‘17 students’ impressions. Curran (Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo) talks in this short video about his thoughts and challenges for an adventure that has recently begun: how the Barcelona Global AD academic program is pushing him outside of his comfort zone and into areas he had never explored before, and how it is making him reconsider what architecture is and what technology can do. As it couldn’t be otherwise, in the video Curran also discusses his cultural and linguistic adjustment to Barcelona, and how Sagrada Familia, Gaudí’s masterpiece, left him speechless!



language + culture, fall 2016, newsletter iii


Fall semester is gone and students are back at their home institutions. In our last newsletter we wanted to show you student´s reflections about their experience abroad. Here you can find some of the digital videos they made for the CIEE class Intercultural Communication and Leadership about their intercultural experience in Barcelona.


“My experience with food help me to better understand certain cultural values of Spain”

Olivia from Elon University talked about Spanish and Catalan food and how it helped her to better understand certain cultural values.

“This experience has taught me to get out my comfort zone”

Catherine from Elon University commented in her digital video how her experience in Barcelona helped her to get out of her comfort zone.

Liberal Arts, Fall 2016, Newsletter iii


Fall semester is gone and we wish students had an enriching experience in Barcelona. Here it is some of the activities they did at the last part of the semester.  

Re-entry Workshop to learn strategies for adjustment back in the States

Foto re-entryFoto re-entry 2

The last day of the semester, LA students participated in the Re-entry Workshop, a session dedicated to reflect on their experience studying abroad in Barcelona, to understand the re-entry process and challenges, to learn strategies for adjustment and ways to stay globally engaged and how to incorporate their experiences into their daily lives. One of the activities consisted in sharing their best memory of the semester while forming a web between them, symbolizing their interconnection. Some of the best memories of our students shared were related to their experiences living with a host family, meeting new friends and travelling.

Volunteering with kids with hearing disabilities

Foto LaurenLauren from Vanderbilt University volunteered once a week with a local non-profit T-oigo that works with people with hearing disabilities. Lauren helped a 7 year old boy with his English practicing with him phonetics and vocabulary.

History of Rebel Women in Barcelona

Ruta-Barcelona-guerra-y-revolucion-440x330Foto mujeres revolucionariasStudents at the CIEE course Past and Present in Barcelona not only did the traditional field trips around the city and the visits to different museums but for the first time, professor took them in a tour about the social movements and revolutionary processes in Barcelona from 1909 to 1979 and the specific role played by women. Students enjoyed a route about some historical events such as the women´s right to vote, to abortion or to get divorce.


Architecture + Design, Fall 2016, Newsletter III


With our final Fall newsletter, we want to share with you some of the final projects that our students did for their courses. Eliza, from Oberlin College, Audrey, from Wellesley College and Jamie, from Miami University-Oxford, enrolled in ELISAVA School of Design courses. Please watch the following videos and learn more about their work for their courses there!







Christelle, from Lehigh University

Also please watch Christelle, from Lehigh University, explain the nature and some of her ideas for her Architecture Studio project.

Christelle Christelle2 

Global Architecture + Design, Fall 2016, Newsletter III


The Fall semester has already gone, and students did very inspiring and interesting work while in Barcelona. In addition to the architecture classes that they were taking at the IaaC, they all took one elective course at CIEE and we would now like to share some of the work they did.  20161210_CIEESome students signed up for a class called “The city in visual culture”, and one of the most successful learning moments of this class took place during the visit to Palco Brand, a local design studio. While there, CIEE students were able to participate in a brainstorming session geared toward rebranding the Barcelona Kids brand. They were asked to think about something related to their childhood, and different potential slogans for the brand were subsequently discussed. At the time this post is being  published, the Barcelona Kids website has been not been fully updated yet, but Pol Guardia and his team will hopefully complete it very soon. For now, just enjoy looking at some pictures of that fantastic and inspiring session!

WhatsApp Image 2016-11-20 at 09.25.33WhatsApp Image 2016-11-20 at 09.25.59

We also want to share some of the work done by Mark and Elizabeth, both from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. For their last assignment, they created some very interesting images that reflected their critical thinking over the different ways of seeing and experiencing cities.

According to Mark, “Barcelona is a “City of Icons”. These icons, whether they be buildings, sports teams, food, etc., all have a part in producing a global image of the city which is then broadcast out to the world. Through these specific pictures and instances advertised, Barcelona has become a leading city not only in Europe but within the global context. The driving factor behind this success is the touristic market which has been drawn to the city based upon the icons created and consumed for a multitude of events. I have chosen five main icons and altered them to create a dialogue between Barcelona and other major cities. In these photos, I have chosen to replace Barcelona specific monuments with others from around the world to convey the idea that although this city is rich with culture and history, the main attractor elements are no different from that of places such as London or New York. The city functions using these icons to its advantage, however the icon itself has very little meaning. If one were to replace one with something similar, as I have in these photos, Barcelona would essentially function in a similar manner, highlighting the monuments to gain global recognition”. Mark

At her turn, Elizabeth explained that “From day one, I have loved the street tiles found throughout the city. In this project I use the idea of Barcelona’s eight tiles and the city’s other visual icons to describe the parts of the city I’ve found most meaningful during the past four months”. Here you can see some of the tiles she designed. Elizabeth




Study Abroad: difficulties and challenges

In the first Newsletter, of this past fall term, we wrote about how the first days in any study abroad experience is a necessary mix of happy emotions, worry, nerves, and frustration. For some students, these first weeks might seem traumatic because they need to adapt to a new cultural, academic and linguistic reality, but it is not an identical process for everyone, nor is it calculable. Each person needs to face –and to overcome– the difficulties in their own diverse and unique way. While for some students, the integration into a new city and a new University (The University of Barcelona in this case) passes in only a few days and at a great velocity, other students find serious difficulties to find their place in their new surroundings and to understand the expectations of their new professors, who may have a teaching style that might be radically different to those in their home campus.


In CIEE, we try to anticipate these potential difficulties and we take the time to instruct and inform about them during the orientation, and to solve them with concrete actions during the first days and weeks. But we are also conscious and know the indisputable truth: studying and living in a different country is an individual, unique and unrepeatable experience. And that which presents itself as complicated, frustrating or discouraging in a first phase, transforms into something magical at the end of the journey. Like in other aspects in life –and the Study Abroad experience is not an exception– the balances and the conclusions cannot be found at the beginning of a project. It is necessary to wait for its conclusion so that, with the necessary perspective, you can see how far you have come, and more importantly, how different you are today after the journey faced.


Abby, from Villanova University, has learned this lesson well after her experience in the CIEE Advanced Liberal Arts program in the University of Barcelona. Her testimonial is the perfect example to illustrate what I am trying to say:

TESTIMONIAL. Just three short months ago, by Abby (Villanova University)

Just three short months ago I arrived in Spain ready to take on my semester abroad. I landed in Barcelona and the only thing running through my head was why did I sign up for this program? Why am I taking all of my classes in Spanish? What was I thinking? I felt apprehensive about my decision and decided to see Alberto, the program director. I was frustrated and doubtful and I actually started to cry in front of a man I had only met a few days before. Alberto assured me that I just needed to relax, take each day at a time and believe in myself.

The changes did not happen overnight and I had to work hard every single day, but with the help of my tutor, Mar, and all of the people at CIEE I began to feel better about my abilities. While my achievements can be seen through scores and numbers, I think the most rewarding part of it has been feeling comfortable with myself. I started to participate more and ask questions in class and I even approached professors at the University of Barcelona if I needed clarification. My confidence and progression with Spanish have been improved so much in such a short amount of time.

Looking back on this semester, I cannot believe that it is already over. It has been everything I had hoped to get out of my study abroad experience and more. I have grown personally as well as academically and I could not have achieved all that I have this semester without the help of the amazing staff at CIEE. My experience abroad has meant so much to me and I will be forever grateful for my semester with CIEE ALA program and all that it has taught me.