This week the students from the CIEE Advanced Liberal Arts program at the University of Barcelona (UB) are taking their midterm exams. These are days of a certain general nervousness given that, for the first time since our students have arrived, preparing for exams has completely eclipsed the rest of their activities in Barcelona. It is a time for studying –long hours reading in the different libraries of the UB or in the “Sala de Lectura” of the CIEE Study Center, searching through class notes, dictionaries, reference books, and online resources, and meeting with classmates or professors to resolve their last remaining doubts before the exam.
(One of the reading rooms of the University of Barcelona's main library)
A study abroad experience with CIEE is many things all at once: the perfecting of the Spanish language, the direct contact with new realities, landscapes and ways of thinking, and the inevitable realization of that which differentiates us, but also which unifies people from different places. To live and study in another country is, in short, to open your eyes to the world and to yourself. And this can all be achieved through our various cultural activities, contact with host families and locals, organized excursions and trips within and outside the city, linguistic exchanges with local students, etc.
(Elizabeth and Alexandra –Columbia University–, Bailey and Alexandra –Vanderbilt University– taking the CIEE “Advanced Writing & Stylistic” midterm exam)
But these many elements that make up our programs and which our students experience through CIEE, pivot around the same axis: the academic component. One example of this is the linguistic exchange meetings that we organize for the ALA program during the term. For these meetings, we only invite students from the University of Barcelona because we want our students to not only practice Spanish with them, but also so that they have “point of reference” in the day-to-day life on campus. These are new friends that, in the end, will ease the adaptation process into the new university and are people that our students can share their classes with, or prepare for their exams with, like they have been doing during this week. One of these students from the UB, specifically from the Hispanic Philology Department, is Marta, who is doing her academic internship at CIEE. Marta spends four hours a day at CIEE doing different academic and administrative tasks. Thanks to Marta, our students can count on a UB graduate student to conduct language or content tutoring sessions, or they can join one of the different study groups that we organize weekly in our Study Center that she leads.
(Risa –Tufts University–, Sara –Vanderbilt University–, and Sally –Washington University– surrounded by UB local students in the second linguistic exchange)
And, like we mentioned before, since the academic component is the center of all our activities, the professors of the ALA program are an essential part in order for everything to work smoothly. Our faculty are a bridge between two academic cultures (Spanish and American) –so different and occasionally contrasting. They not only help our students grow intellectually, but also contribute enormously to the adaptation process to the new academic atmosphere. This spring term, we have had the privilege of incorporating two new professors to our ALA program team: Dr. Mar Forment and Dr. Paolo Roseano, professors in the Philology Department at the University of Barcelona, the host institution of our program.
I would like to end this newsletter by sharing their profiles with all of you which, in my opinion, embody the excellence of our program:
Mar Forment, Ph.D.
CIEE Course Taught: Advanced Spanish Writing and Stylistics
Dr. Mar Forment Fernández is a professor of Spanish Language in the Spanish Philology Department at the University of Barcelona, where she earned her Ph.D. in 1999. She has taught courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, as well as Spanish as a Foreign Language classes at different higher education institutions. Her research area covers Spanish semantics and phraseology, on which she has authored numerous articles, books and reviews. Since 2001 she has been directing the academic activities related to Spanish as a Foreign Language at the Menendez Pelayo International University (UIMP) Barcelona campus. She is also an accredited examiner for DELE exams at the Instituto Cervantes. Currently, she is involved in a research project that aims to clarify Spanish legal language.
Paolo Roseano, Ph.D.
CIEE Course Taught: Spanish for Heritage Learners
Paolo Roseano earned a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Trieste (Italy) in 2004 and a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Barcelona (UB) in 2012. His expertise includes prosody of Romance languages, forensic phonetics, language contact, phonology and morphology. He works in the Phonetics Laboratory at the University of Barcelon and is a professor in the Department of Spanish Philology at the same institution, where he has taught several subjects (Sociolinguistics, Historical linguistics, Syntax and Spanish Grammar for foreign students). Paolo also teaches acoustic phonetics in the MA program in Phonetics at the CSIC (Madrid, Spain) and Learning Difficulties and Language Disorders at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain. Previously, he was a professor of Sociology of Ethnic Relations at the University of Trieste and worked as a researcher at the International Sociology Institute of Gorizia (Italy).