Libertas perfundet omnia luce
When new students arrive at the Barcelona airport after a long transoceanic journey and make their way to the CIEE Advanced Liberal Arts program orientation, upon arrival they find students wearing CIEE shirts that welcome them, help them with their luggage and accompany them on the bus to the orientation location. These students, of the same age as the recent arrivals, are in fact, students of the same institution that will host the participants of this CIEE program: The University of Barcelona. Minutes later, after the bus has taken them from the airport to the center of the city, the students will get off at Hotel H10 Universidad, situated on the corner of Plaza de la Universidad. The hotel and plaza are named Universidad because both are in front of the historical University of Barcelona building. Founded in 1450, it is an institution without which you could not easily understand the history of this city or the country over the past 568 years. At CIEE, we want our students in the program to familiarize themselves with their new university from the very beginning. On the second day, they undergo the academic session and language assessment, which are administered by professors of the Philology Department at the UB.
What I’m trying to say is that for CIEE the relationship that we want our students to establish with the host institution is key for many reasons: it guarantees quality and indisputable academic rigor while also guaranteeing the level of integration and immersion of our students for whom, in any other way, it would be much more complicated. The professors that teach the ALA program courses are also professors of the UB. The university students that attend the linguistic exchanges are the same students that our students will cross paths with and share classes with in the different departments of the UB. And through the possibility of internship positions, or volunteer programs, our students may further strengthen their sense of belonging and expand their circle of contacts.
The motto of the UB is “Libertas perfundet omnia luce” (Liberty fills everything with light). A few days ago, I wrote a brief message of gratitude to our new students for their attention and excellent behavior during the orientation. To it I attached this picture that I took during our visit to the UB Old Main, in the Rector’s office, where the Barcelona winter light was shining down on them. I sincerely wish them a term where libertas perfundet omnia luce…