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100 posts categorized "Business and Culture"

06/15/2016

SUMMER PROGRAMS, 2016, NEWSLETTER I

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Getting familiar with the city

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It was very quick but the first session of our summer programs has come to an end. Students arrived almost a month ago and they had the chance to discover the wonders of Barcelona. During the very first days, during their orientation, students had the opportunity to get familiar with and know the basics about the city. After a talkon Health and Safety and meeting their host families, students had their first walking tour in the Old City to see the most historical areas of Barcelona. In addition,  many activities were planned to help them not only figure out how to navigate the city but also gather around and develop  closer relationships with their classmates. Plus, they got great views of Barcelona during a day trip in which they tried typical catalan food. See the views in the picture below (they are amazing!).

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Jhoalmo, Nels and Cosi meeting their host mothers

Desktop11Students enjoying Tapas Night with their Guardian Angels

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Students on Collserolla Mountain, with Barcelona in the background

ICE weekend

One of the most exciting activities for the summer programs is the ICE weekend (Intercultural Comparative Experience), in which our students visit another CIEE city and we in Barcelona host students from other CIEE destinations. This summer, CIEE students from Seville, Ferrara and Lisbon enjoyed the activities we planned for them, and for sure, took advantage of their free time to visit some of the wonders of Barcelona.

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Arrival at Generator Hostel 

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Students from CIEE Lisbon in the main entrance of Park Guell

Desktop12Students tasting some tapas at Mercat Princesa

Check out these videos to see what they thought about their visit!

In Prague, CIEE staff welcomed the students and presented a quick orientation of the city and its culture. Afterwards, everyone went on a walking tour of the main sites: Old Town Square, Prague Castle, Municipal House and the St. Nicholas Church. That evening, there was a buffet-style welcome dinner of traditional plates.

The following day students went on activities according to their chosen Interest Group and then met up again to enjoy a delicious authentic lunch. For those that wanted, an optional activity was organized to attend a performance of “Carmen” at the Prague State Opera House.

On the final day, the flight wasn’t until late in the evening so it was a free day for students! Everyone was off to explore the city. It was a long day (and late night) but an amazing adventure overall.

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04/20/2016

BUSINESS + CULTURE, SPRING 2016, NEWSLETTER III

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Living with American Housemates, Cristina, Barcelona native

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“You’re such a brave person”. “I would have given it a second thought”. “You have a finger in every pie”… These are some of the things that my family and friends said to me when I told them that from January I was going to live with 5 American students. For the first time I would start a new phase in my life, for the first time I would become independent, I wouldn’t live with my parents for four months, I would live with 5 people from another country, I would get to know a new culture and new traditions as well as different ways of thinking.

I still remember the first time that I saw them, in the orientation hotel. We were all very nervous, excited to get to know each other and to see the new place where we would live for almost half a year. I prepared some muffins, bonbons and juices to welcome them, some sort of party for having met each other. They were really tired when they arrived, but from the very first moment we already sat all together around the living room table, we started to organize the cleaning turns and we discussed other issues in order to make the co-living easier.

The experience has been fantastic, especially for them: they have tasted a lot of traditional Spanish food and they have also learned to cook it with me! They learned new expressions and their Spanish level has improved a lot, it’s been a new experience for them to live with a Spanish girl, and everyone has grown from this experience. They even met my family! So I can say that they really enjoyed being here, they have discovered new places, traditions, habits and typical dishes… But first and foremost: they have made a good friend, and have ended up becoming a second family here.

Some of the moments will forever stay frozen in photos, but pictures are not enough to sum up this wonderful intercultural experience. I am very grateful to CIEE for this opportunity!

Competitive Strategy Field Trip, Prof. Eduardo Rodes

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Last Wednesday we took a field trip to one of the hotels in the Praktik chain. They have a very interesting business model in a very competitive industry – hotels in Barcelona. They compete with accessible pricing for a medium hotel, with 50 well-situated rooms. Their main differentiating element is themed services, integrating a high-class winery and a boutique bakery. It was really interesting to see how they complemented their different business.  We had a great time!

Off the Beaten Track for Spring Break

Jamie (Indiana University) - Senegal

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The decision to travel to Senegal wasn’t an easy one - terrorism, kidnapping, and mugging were all common themes that came up in conversation when I told people of my Semana Santa plans. In reality, the best word to describe Senegal is not “dangerous,” but rather “colorful,” both literally and figuratively.  Brightly colored fabrics adorn every corner of the cities and villages, which are bustling with merchants selling fresh fruits and with children playing soccer, with goats and cows roaming the streets and with enticing smells of rice and fish… And at every turn, we were met with “teranga” (the Wolof word for “hospitality.”)

If nothing else, my voyage taught me that Senegal – and probably much of Africa, for that matter – has a PR problem. No, Senegal is not teeming with terrorists who are staked out to capture a group of foreigners. No, it isn’t filled with men who are eager to buy wives for goats. Rather, it’s friendly, it’s energetic, and from the banks of the Gambian River to the villages atop regal mountains, it’s breathtakingly beautiful. 

 

Jeremy (University of Wisconsin-Madison) – Atlas Mountains and Sahara Desert

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My Morocco trip was an amazing trip that really opened my eyes to another part of the world. Whether it was walking around the souk, sleeping in the Sahara Desert, or driving through the villages hidden within the Atlas Mountains, I felt extremely lucky to be experiencing those moments with my friends and it made me appreciate what I have here in Barcelona and back home in the United States. It gave me motivation to continue my passion for traveling and explore other parts of the world that are off the beaten track.

03/07/2016

Business + Culture, Spring 2016, Newsletter II

THE HOMESTAY EXPERIENCE

What happens when two cultures from across the ocean meet and spend a few months in each other’s company?

As a way of offering a glimpse into life at a homestay in Spain, we asked our Business & Culture students to send us a short dinnertime video, with some unexpected and beautiful results!  Thanks to Alexandra (Minnesota), Aaron (Indiana), Cameron (Indiana), Tyson (Wisconsin), and Will (Wofford College) for your amazing contributions!

 

“WE DON’T HAVE ANYTHING REMOTELY LIKE THIS BACK HOME!”: HIKING AND WINE-TASTING IN THE COUNTRYSIDE

Cavas Codorniu is the oldest continuing business in Spain, with its roots going back to the 17th century, so it was an appropriate place for the Business&Culture group to begin a weekend trip into the Catalan countryside. The champagne region of France may have become a household name, but Catalans will proudly tell you that their cava sparkling wine is equally fine and has just as much heritage as its French sibling.  Founded in 1551 in the shadow of the mythical Montserrat hills, the winery now produces 60 million bottles a year of wine and is a prime example of how to make an old family business into an industrialized giant.

During the tour of the huge grounds, we learned each stage of the process from vine to finished product, and all the subtle changes along the way. James from Scranton University was impressed “It’s amazing how the skin from a red grape can change the color of a wine to make it rose, and how they have to make sure every single bottle is rotated each day for two months to get the right end result.”  The visit, of course, had to conclude with a customary wine-tasting and some shopping for the lucky folks back home.

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L-R: Zach (Cornell), James (Scranton), Thales & Taylor (Brandeis)

We later moved onto Montserrat, a small nearby national park just a short journey but a world away from Barcelona. Named for its ‘serrated’ mountain tops, it’s full of bizarre rock formations (think a grey version of Utah’s national parks), but also home to a centuries’ old Benedictine monastery perched on the edge of the cliffs.  Tyler from Brandeis was impressed by this juxtaposition of nature and history:  “We don’t have anything remotely like this in the States – our country itself is just a few hundred years old.  We have the scenery, like in Utah or Arizona, but not with the centuries of culture and history that goes with it.”  Some chose to walk off the cava with a hike all the way up to the Sant Jeroni peak, catching some much needed Sunday fresh air before heading back to Barcelona refreshed and ready for mid-term week.

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L-R: Eleanor (Wisconsin), Ashley (Indiana), Zach(Cornell), Tyler (Brandeis), James (Scranton), Robert (Wisconsin) and Thales (Brandeis)  taking in the views in Montserrat!

01/29/2016

BUSINESS + CULTURE, SPRING 2016, NEWSLETTER I

BARCELONA IN THREE WORDS

We asked our Spring 16 Business and Culture students to sum up their experience so far in Barcelona and we got some interesting responses.  Check it out!

“I COULD STAY HERE ALL DAY!” STUDENTS DIVE INTO THE HEART OF BARCELONA’S CONTROVERSIAL NEIGHBORHOOD

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Stepping out of their comfort zone, students sample some of the weird and wonderful foods in the Boqueria market.

The CIEE orientation week gave everyone a perfect introduction to the city of Barcelona, but during one afternoon activity some students had the chance to delve a little deeper, beyond the polished statues and leafy plazas into what has always been the most animated yet controversial part of the city: El Raval.  Originally located just outside the old city walls, this area has historically been a cultural melting-pot due to its proximity to the port area - and all the sorts of characters and venues that usually entails.  On an ‘observation walking tour’ we took a stroll through its winding streets taking in the ethnic diversity of the local businesses, community spaces, and the Dickensian characters selling exotic jewelry. The classic marketplace of the Boqueria epitomizes this mix, offering up freshly made snacks and dishes from all over Spain and the world. We spent a lot longer there than expected! “I could stay here all day!!” said Kaeli from Indiana University “…can we just stay here a few more hours and have dinner too?”

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Group shot with the infamous Botero cat on the Rambla de Raval.  Jesse from Oberlin College sneaks in a kiss! 

FLAMENCO. SUN. SIESTAS. TAPAS

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Flying the flag for CIEE Barcelona way down in Seville.

Andalusia is picture postcard Spain at its most exotic and the Business & Culture group spent a weekend exploring Sevilla and Cordoba. The south of Spain is in many ways like a different country, and for most it was a first chance to see Spain beyond Barcelona. 

For the past few weeks they’ve been learning all about the country’s ancient and colorful past, and nowhere is it more notable than in this region.  Hercules and Julius Caesar left their mark here, followed by centuries of Muslim rule right up until 1492. So the group had a chance to see the architectural mix that all this left behind, and some of the oldest things they’d ever seen: “The Mesquita in Cordoba blew my mind - in the US there might be a 120 year old farm, but this is like 1200 years old, I can't even fathom that!” says Jack from Indiana University.  Courtney from Cornell University noted the melting pot of architectures– “There’s this amazing cathedral with an old mosque minaret right next to brand new apartments”.

Soon after arriving in Sevilla one group checked out the Alcázares – the Royal Palace recently doubling up as the kingdom of Dorne in Game of Thrones. This was the high point of the trip for Brandon from Skidmore College, with its Moorish architecture: “I was blown away by the Alcázar, the intricate way they cut out every tile hundreds of years ago”.  He also noted the definite change of pace compared to Catalonia:  “The south of Spain is definitely quainter and visually appealing, and has more of a small town feel and slow pace. I mean, Barcelona is slow but here seems super chilled.”

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Aaron (Brandeis), Brandon (Skidmore), Abdi (Babson), Taylor (Indiana) and Julia (Babson) taking some sun in the gardens featured in Game of Thrones

On the last morning we met up with some of the guys at CIEE Sevilla for a Sunday stroll around the Plaza de Espana.  This included a chance to work off the vast amounts of tapas consumed with a leisurely row in the lake in front of the huge building used as a set for the Planet of Naboo in Star Wars.

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Left: Michael and Catherine rowing for the Wisconsin team in the bright January sun. Right: around Plaza España, in good company.

12/31/2015

BUSINESS + CULTURE, FALL 2015, NEWSLETTER III

HIGHLIGHTS OF FALL15 SEMESTER

Andrew (Babson College) tells us all about his experience volunteering at the local school, Ernest Lluch as the highlight of his semester:

“During my visits at the school, I would help the students with some grammar, but mostly just spoke/interacted with them about what life is like in the United States. I genuinely enjoyed every moment that I spent with the students, they were such a great group of kids. They were hilarious and so well-behaved. I highly recommend any incoming study abroad students to participate in the volunteering program that CIEE set-up. It was something that I looked forward to each week. Being around students like them makes you feel rejuvenated and younger again. The students surprised me on my last day with photos and a nice note. Thank you so very much for setting me up with this opportunity, it was certainly a highlight of my time here in Barcelona!”

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Graham (Occidental College) won the Fall15 photo contest. He was the overall winner across all 7 Barcelona programs.  He gladly accepted his prize last week at the Fall15 farewell party and said he was looking forward to spending his Amazon prize money as soon as he could.  His photo is of the spectacular view from Montserrat during one of our many day trips this semester.  Graham said that going to Montserrat “was one of the best days he had in Barcelona.  I love to hike in general when I’m home, but this mountain was really something special.”

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Fall15 Business and Culture students tell us what they know about the local Caga Tío and its traditions:

10/20/2015

Guardian Angel's experiences

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This past weekend some students went to Madrid, accompained by four GA and some of the staff of CIEE. During those days we visited the city and even went to visit Toledo one day. We had a tour guide to show us some of the most important things about Madrid. During the tour we had the oportunity to eat jamón serrano and churros con chocolate, typical food of Spain. We visited the Prado museum and Las Meninas, the incredible Velazquez painting. We also had a lot of free time to visit the city on our own, visiting places like the Retiro Park or El Palacio Real. It was a really great trip.

Xavi Ortega

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"To have the chance of working meeting people from the U.S. is one of the best experiences in my life. But if a normal Wednesday someone from the CIEE calls you to give the news you’ll have the opportunity to travel with your group of american students to Madrid, makes the experience even better! For most locals (including myself), Madrid doesn’t seem a big deal, but this travel made me feel like I was part of this american group, as if I was from New York, Boston or wherever, which was awesome. To interact with the students for 3 whole days and visiting Madrid and Toledo most beautiful places, was a constant fun! Honestly, I wish I could go back to the past and live those days again."

Irene Altozano

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This past weekend in Madrid has been amazing! We have done a lot of things in just 3 days, from visiting the Prado museum to going to Toledo, a beautiful city just one hour far from Madrid city. We have also enjoyed a guided tour in the city center, a visit in Reina Sofia museum and also in the Royal Palace, a stroll in El Rastro Market, some of the typical Spanish food (jamón, churros con chocolate, mazapán...) and the lively vibe of the capital in general. I'm very happy I got to know all the students and I'm sure it has been a great experience for them too :)

Andrea Palau

10/07/2015

An unexpected journey

PostsI'm a Spanish student working part-time as Guardian Angel of CIEE, and I had the unexpected opportunity to travel to Madrid the first weekend of October with American students of Business + Culture program, with other 3 GAs.  I already visited Madrid in other occasions, but it was the first time I did tourism in the city with lots of guys of my age. We've been hanging all day around the city, and one day in Toledo, and we lived great experiences:  eating at a delicious Churros bar, going dinner Tapas at Madrid old district and laughing in a charming square, etc.  The best way I could have ever imagined to visit the capital of Spain.

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09/23/2015

BUSINESS AND CULTURE, FALL 2015, NEWSLETTER I

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CIEE Students Try Catalan Food!

Many of our Business and Culture students came out to participate in our first CIEE video of students trying Catalan food and snacks for the first time.  A big thanks goes out to those who participated including Andre, Stela, Paris and Andrew (Babson College), Elaine (Purdue University), Brett (Elon University), Jack, Bryar and Lizzie (University of Minnesota), Matthew (University of La Verne), Felicia (Rochester Institute of Technology), Amanda and Alex (University of Colorado Boulder), and Kira (George Washington University).  A special thanks to Zach (Elon University) for doing all the editing.  Enjoy!

And PS it’s just apple juice…

CIEE Students Try Catalan Food from Elizabeth Pogoloff on Vimeo.

Visit with the Director of the Barcelona Museo de Xocolata

This semester the CIEE Barcelona Study center welcomes the Director of Barcelona’s Museo de Xocolata and Business Professor, Francisco Gil.  Francisco is currently teaching International Marketing in Spanish and decided to take his students to see where all the magic happens! Elaine (Purdue University), Hannah (Elon University) and Brian (Indiana University) enjoying a hands-on and a behind the scenes look at the Museum’s activities. 

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Wait! It rains in Barcelona!?

While we’ve been enjoying the end of our typical sunny Barcelona summer, students were caught by surprise when the skies opened up during the first week of class and they were trapped in the study center totally unprepared.  But that’s what we’re here for, right?  Mathew (University of La Verne), Carl (University of Colorado Boulder), Kavish, Connor and Naman (Babson College) looking adorable in their impromptu raincoats:

Tendencia RAIN COATS! (2)

04/28/2015

BUSINESS AND CULTURE, SPRING 2015 NEWSLETTER, ISSUE II

NEWS

ABBY AND AUSTIN TAKE HOME FIRST PRIZE THE SPRING 2015 PHOTO CONTEST!

Abby (University of Minnesota-Twin Cities) took home the big win for her lovely photo in the Host Family Ties Category.  The winning photo features Abby and her roommate enjoying some Barcelona sunshine with their host mother. Love the hats ladies!  Also cleaning up in the contest, Austin (Babson College) came in a clear first in the Most Creative category with his hilarious recreation of the Star Wars scene taken on our CIEE weekend trip to Sevilla. 

Abbey Eliason, A weekend in our Mama de Espana's hometown- host family ties

SCENES FROM STAR WARS WERE SHOT IN SEVILLA?

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After seeing Austin’s photo, I’m sure you’re trying to remember where that scene was.  Well scenes from both the 1999 and 2001 Star Wars movies were shot in Plaza España in Sevilla.  Check out the video to see where Austin got his motivation for his winning shot:

FINAL LANGUAGE EXCHANGE NIGHT

Students got together for the last time to practice their Spanish with the locals.  Many said they could really see how much they had improved when they were able to really maintain a conversation and were even able to crack a few jokes.

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GOODBYE!

Please take a moment to enjoy a glimpse at all the good times we had here with the Business and Culture students this Spring:

04/09/2015

Mi vida en Barcelona

Ibrahima Host family

I was very nervous as I sat down at the hotel waiting for my host mom to come and pick me up. I did not know what to expect neither did I know what to do or say to greet her. Few minutes later, my host mom came and met me. She greeted me with two kisses on each cheek and said “Hola Ibrahima, Soy Piti”. I wasn’t very used to greeting people with kisses but from the kisses I knew she is very caring, kind and awesome. We took a cab and talked all the way to her house. When we got home, I met my host brother, Oriol and my host sister, Eulàlia. My host mom gave me a tour of the house and later showed me my room. Few minutes later I felt like I was at my own house in New York. Living with my host family has been an awesome journey. During dinner, we talk about everything. We talk about politics, social issues, cultures, and most importantly we always joke around. We always have fun. The food bonds and unites us. We usually start by asking how everyone’s day went and later kept the conversation going. I always leave dinner feeling satisfied, happy and ready for the next day. My host mom also does laundry for me at least twice a week and cleans my room once a week. She takes care of me well, and I couldn’t be happier. I had never lived in someone’s home before and the thought of it had made me nervous despite the fact that I am a very outgoing individual. However living with my host family in Barcelona made me more confident about myself and taught me how to interact with others, and I think these skills that I have gained will be very useful in the near future when I enter the professional world.

Ibrahima voluntariado

I was also lucky to be provided with a once a week volunteering opportunity at a local school called INS Ernest Lluch. At this school, I work with students who are about 14 years old on average. I am very happy to have been given this opportunity because I learn so much from them. They are very intelligent students who have so much potential and are very respectful as well. The volunteering opportunity is very flexible, and I was asked to have a conversation with these students in English so that they could practice their English skills. It was up to me how I wanted to go about this process. So, I decided to teach them things about the American culture and asked them about their interest, hobbies, goals and just life and not textbook lessons or whatnot. Since the volunteering was every Monday, I would always start off the conversation by asking how their weekends went and then follow wherever the conversation lead us to. The students always make me laugh. We always have great times. And, I think this is a great way of learning.  The students never want to stop the conversations. They always want to share their thoughts and this makes me feel great. Whenever I go to the school, they run to me to give me a hug and are always excited to talk. This has been a great opportunity as I got to immerse myself to the Spanish culture by learning these students’ daily lives in Barcelona.