In CIEE we believe that the learning experience should be polyhedral and should not limit itself to two weekly sessions in class during the term. The acquisition and assimilation of ideas, opinions and content that is produced strictly in the academic setting must be extended into the other spheres of the life of a student. Said in another way: that which is learned in class should be complemented – and on occasion refuted – out of it.
The CIEE Advanced Liberal Arts Program in the UB has many tools to make this possible: spaces for open debate about current socio-political issues mediated by our professors who help contextualize the contents of the courses, the “Diálogos” (open classes to all students of the program where two of our professors have a dialogue about a subject from the perspective of their specialization), museums visits, art expositions, conferences, cinema sessions, or our Cultural Week are only some examples. But without a doubt, one of the best examples of this effort of CIEE to expand and complement the academic experience out of the walls of the classroom is the trip that we organized at the beginning of May to the North of Catalonia and to the South of France.
The first leg of our trip brought us to the Exile Memorial Museum (MUME), an interpretation center which recalls the exiles brought about by the Civil War in Spain, a conflict inseparably linked to the Europe of the ascent of totalitarianism and which was the prelude to the Second World War. This museum is located at the same border crossing where most of the exiles fled, and our students had a perspective that links the past with the present, since the conflicts that cause exiles have been a constant in the history of the 20th century and continue to be so today. Thanks to this visit, our students taking “Contemporary Spain”, “Masterworks in Catalan Art”, or “Literature & Cinema in Spain” could understood much better some of the content explained during the term in those CIEE courses.
Another leg of our journey was to the French city of Colliure, a beautiful place next to the Mediterranean Sea and which was the inspiration of great artists of the past century such as André Derain, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, James Dickson Innes or Tsuguharu Fujita. in Colliure, our students were able to walk along the cobbled streets and enjoy a pleasant day by the beach, in addition to visiting the cemetery that contains the tomb of Spanish poet Antonio Machado, who fled to Colliure to escape advancing Francoist troops at the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939, and where he died.
This academic and personal experience that our students live during their stay in CIEE Barcelona would not be possible without the work and the solid commitment of our professors. The latest to be incorporated onto the team of professors of the ALA program has been Dr. Manel Risques, who teaches the CIEE course "Contemporary Spain".
Jack & Daniel about Dr. Manel Risques
When we first came to Barcelona and we were registering for courses, we both had not planned on taking the CIEE course "Contemporary Spain." Due to changes in our schedule, however, we ended up joining this class, and the experience more than exceeded our expectations. The ability to learn and understand the history of this beautiful country and the nuances of its government have been extremely rewarding. Taking this course allowed us to better appreciate the city we lived in and the sociopolitical climate its people are currently experiencing. Not only was the class itself an incredible immersion into Spanish politics, which allowed us to gain a richer global understanding that we can now apply to US/International Relations, but the opportunity to have met Dr. Manel Risques and been taught by one of the leading experts in Contemporary Catalan/Spanish politics was one of the best aspects of our study abroad experience. Having him as a professor inspired and motivated us, and although we now part ways, we are thankful to have gained Manel as a mentor and most importantly, a friend.
Meet Our Faculty
Dr. Manel Risques has been a Professor in the History Department at the University of Barcelona since 1978. His research has been focused on the Catalan social movements, general Franco’s dictatorship period, and the Spanish transition process to democracy. He has published numerous articles in specialized journals such as "Recerques" and "L'Avenç", and he has curated important exhibitions such as "Catalonia Under the Franco Regime” (Universitat de Barcelona, 1985), "1939. Barcelona, Year Zero” (Museu d'Història de la Ciutat, 1999), "Franco’s Prisons” (Museu d'Història de Catalunya, 2003), and the international congress "The Concentration Camps and Prisons in Spain During the Civil War and the Dictatorship Period” (Museu d'Història de Catalunya, 2002). Among his extensive bibliography are remarkable titles such as “The Civil Government of Barcelona in the XIX Century” (1995), “History of Contemporary Catalonia” (1999, with Àngel Duarte, Borja de Riquer and Josep M. Roig), “Process to the Civil Guard: Barcelona 1939” (2001, with Carles Barrachina), “Amnesty Time: The Demonstrations of February 1st, 1976 in Barcelona” (2001, with David Ballester), and “Democratic Identity or Spanish Unionist Tradition” (2003).