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25 posts categorized "Economics and Culture"


Economics + Culture, Fall 2017, Newsletter I


First day: Orientation

The students participating in the CIEE Economics and Culture Program arrived the first week of September to Barcelona. After a long flight they headed towards the orientation hotel where CIEE staff was happy to welcome them. What a thrill was to meet students from other programs! They were happy to chat with their flat mates or compañeros de residencia. Students in homestay had their first encounter with their host families. Their adventure had just begun!


CIEE students during the orientation session. 

Getting to know Barcelona

CIEE students still had some days before the beginning of classes. In order to make better use of their time they went out with their Guardian Angels who took them out to explore the city.  Some of the touristic sites they visited were: The Cathedral, and The Montjuic Castle.


At the Cathedral.

EC-3Montjuic Castle

Exploring Cataluña

Catalonia (Cataluña in Spanish) is located on the northeastern extremity of the Iberian Peninsula. It has four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. The cultural richness of Catalonia is well known and CIEE students wanted to discover it for themselves. On their first weekend CIEE staff organized several day trips.


The Roman Amphitheatre in Tarragona. 

The UPF Campus (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

Classes are about to start at the UPF, and Economics and Culture students attended their academic orientation. They got their identity cards, visited the University Library, had a campus tour and they got a little taste of their academic life in Barcelona!





Spring semester has gone by fast! Economics and Culture students have been very busy with classes, cultural activities and academic trips. Here some details.

SUPER BOWL by Javier (local flatmate)


One of the most important worldwide sports events took place on February 5th, the Super Bowl (Patriots vs Falcons).

No one wanted to miss the event so most students headed to a local bar to watch it together. Patrick (Villanova University) and Min Soo (Occidental College), two Economics students at CIEE Barcelona, also went to see the game with their local flatmate, Javier. Together, they saw the future champion of the NFL.

The students had explained all the rules to Javier so that he could understand the game. Then he was able to feel the excitement with them; and he began to feel the intensity at the unexpected turn in the two last quarters, when the Patriots started to make their comeback. They all celebrated together with their hands up in the air when the Patriots ended up winning.



Ryan, an Economics student from Occidental College (Los Angeles, CA), explains us how he got admitted into the UN (New York Headquarters) for an internship next summer and how CIEE helped him to achieve his goal.


Economics + Culture, Spring 2017, Newsletter II



Economic + Culture students have been busy with classes, daily routines and weekend trips, but they have also had time to take care of their body and mind. Some participated in a CIEE-organized yoga class at a local gym, which was fun and healthy. Namaste!



Students also wanted to move their body so they went to a Zumba class.


Eating Tapas means eat little portions of too many things and taste small delicious dishes with some drinks. Going out for "tapas" with old and new friends is quite the custom in Spain and EC students make the most of it.



Economics + Culture, Spring 2017, Newsletter I

6a010536fa9ded970b01b8d10b2fe0970c-800wiSAFETY FIRST

It has been more than 3 weeks now since the Economic and Culture students arrived in Barcelona. They have been busy getting to know the city, the subway system, their new classes…During orientation week, students had the opportunity to attend a safety talk held by Barcelona´s local police.EC1


During the first weeks while classes were just getting started, students already felt at home. Eliza (Colgate University) was happy to start running around the city just like locals like to do.


Students stay with host families, in residences or in shared apartments.  They live with other CIEE students, and soon after arriving, they have already made good friends. These are lifetime friendships!



A group of EC students went to Morocco for the weekend. They stayed in a typical Moroccan house and even went on a camel ride. It was so much fun!




Economics + Culture, Fall 2016, Newsletter II


We are already past mid-semester! Economics and Culture students have been very busy and stressed with classes, midterms, cultural activities, meeting locals or volunteering. Find more details below.

This semester students have travelled more than ever to different European cities every weekend.

Jerry from Duke University and Stephan from Colby College share their apartment with Alex, their Spanish flat-mate. Native roommates provide a great opportunity for our students to get more immersed in the culture, practice their Spanish and of course, live with a local.

Alex has gotten along so well with Jerry and Stephan that they have become really good friends and have travelled to the Basque Country to visit Alex´s family and friends. They even went to the World Surf League Event in Hossegor where they surfed for the first time in their lives.


Making American Bullfighters

For this semester´s excursion, EC students had the best experience ever visiting the cattle farm La Dehesa, where they learned more about how to run a cattle farm of bullfighting bulls. They also got to learn the art of “toreo” as you can see in this short video.





All of the Economics + Culture students arrived a couple of weeks ago and were all deeply immersed in the new culture from the very beginning. They met our Guardian Angels and became inseparable from them. As we can see here, Ieva, from Occidental College, and Guardian Angel, Farners, are preparing one of the typical Spanish dishes, la tortilla.


Trips outside Barcelona

Students also took advantage of the different day trips and excursions we offer, and they saw firsthand some of the things they’ll be learning in the classroom—as they did on the day trip to Besalú during their first weekend in Barcelona.


They enjoyed some of the last few sunny days at the beach before winter arrives, with their new local friends and Guardian Angels. All the students from each of the different CIEE programs here in Barcelona got to meet and share their first impressions of the city.Copia de IMG_0712Beach with Guardian Angels




Weekend trip to Seville and Córdoba

One of the highlights of the semester is the included weekend trip, where students visit other Spanish regions accompanied by CIEE faculty and staff. This time, students in the Economics and Culture program traveled to Seville and Córdoba along with the students in the Language + Culture and Architecture + Design programs. Being as they are small programs, they all loved the opportunity to mix with other CIEE students for a couple of days! Besides visiting the main historical and cultural attractions of these two major Andalusian towns and attending a flamenco performance, we arranged so that CIEE students could meet with local students from Seville, who became their best hosts during their free time.


Students in Seville: During a walking tour (1); in the rooftop of Metropol Parasol (2) and getting ready 
to take a rowboat at Plaza de EspañaDesktop9

In Cordoba, besides visiting the Mosque, one of the highlights was discovering the magic of the Jewish Quarter.

CIEE Barcelona photo contest

Each semester, students participating in all of the CIEE Barcelona programs submit photos that capture their experience abroad to the CIEE Barcelona photo contest. Even though none of the EC students won this time, we still want to share with you the winning pictures by Gabriella (University of Kansas, Architecture and Design program) and Bridget (University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Business and Culture program)!. Enjoy!

Gabby_Catedral de Barcelona_991Catedral de Barcelona (Gabriella, University Of Kansas)

Moore_Barcelona, Spain_452Turning 21 in Barcelona (Bridget,University of Minnesota-Twin Cities)





We caught up with Christina (Vilanova University) during one of her CIEE Catalunya and Spain Through the Arts classes to ask her a few questions about her overall experience taking culture classes:


The CIEE staff had the opportunity catch up over a hot coffee with Maria (Vilanova University), Lucia (Barnard College), Abigail (George Washington), and Mitch (University of Minnesota).  

Coffee 1


How has your experience been so far?

Maria: I was nervous about my university classes but particularly my Management of Sanitary Institutions Class is just so interesting – it’s a small class with local students, and I’m learning lots of new technical terms in both English and Spanish from the professor. Actually I love all my teachers here! I really lucked out.

Lucia: I've been here since September, so on the one hand it was sad to see all the first semester guys leave, but also I’ve had the chance to adapt more and totally get over the culture shock etc. Plus it was pretty special to be here for Christmas!

Mitch: All my CIEE teachers have really interesting backgrounds and so every class is full of little anecdotes and stories to pass on!  My UPF classes are great too because my Strategic Management class is only with the local students, which is great for my Spanish and getting to know the culture.

Abigail: I just love it – if I could work here I think I’d just stay.  My Spanish is improving every day too (apart from the rolling Rrrr!), some days I have all my classes in Spanish and I start forgetting English!

How would you describe the experience of being an American in this foreign land?

Lucia: It’s fun to see the stereotypes that people have of Americans and satisfying to break them and show what we’re really like. Actually, defending your country against preconceptions makes you appreciate it even more!

Maria:  As a Nicaraguan-American here I have double the preconceptions to deal with – what Spanish people think Latin America / the US is like.  One of my favorite classes in CIEE is all about discussing the Capitalist System from a European point of view, it’s amazingly interesting as an American to hear these perspectives!

How’s your life here outside the classroom?

Maria: I’m living in a homestay with four children of various ages, so there’s never a dull moment! The youngest is a cute 4 year-old and speaks a total mixture of Catalan and Spanish and doesn’t seem to notice the difference, which is interesting.  It’s also fun having dinner together every day - it definitely helps in breaking out of the bubble.

Mitch: I learn a lot of Spanish in the classroom but find the best way of learning is out on the street and speaking with taxi drivers.

Finally, have you had the chance to travel?

Abby: I’ve been travelling a LOT this semester; I basically saved up all my money by not going last semester, and recently went to the South of France. Monaco was crazy, Rolls Royces at all the hotels etc, never seen anything like it, and I also went to Nice where my mom studied abroad years ago.

Mitch: I’ve been away pretty much every weekend – Madrid, Alicante, Sicily, and I’m off to the Canaries to catch some sun this week!




Brian (Northeastern University) goes with his local flat mate and CIEE roommate for their final activity of the semester.  They decided to have a boy’s night and go see the new James Bond film a few weeks ago.  Brian lived with two other CIEE students and his local flat mate Marc throughout the Fall15 semester.  Brian said, “I really enjoyed having the opportunity to not only live with other CIEE students from other programs, but with a local student as well. Marc was always there to help us out whenever we needed anything.”



Alice (Barnard College) and Sarah (George Washington University) enjoy a wonder around Hospital Sant Pau after their field trip for their Catalunya and Spain through the Arts class.  Sarah and Alice became great friends here in Barcelona as they shared many classes and clearly enjoy each other’s company.

Alice and Sarah

Fall15 CIEE students tell us what they know about the local Caga Tío and its traditions. Alice (Barnard College) takes a selfie with him and Jacob (George Washington University) wants to take Caga Tío home with him.






Inside Scoop from Alice (Barnard College)

Alice recently shared with us her experience participating in our volunteer program.  She said, “I noticed that I have a lot of free time between school hours and my friends. Thus, I decided volunteering may be a good way to invest my time, and it definitely was. On the first day of volunteering, when I went to pick up Iñaki at his school, immediately I felt that I was seeing another side of Barcelona. It made me feel a part of the community. My volunteering family and I would often go to different part of the neighborhood, and my favorite part by far is going to the hair dresser. As a Spanish learner, it can be difficult to find people constantly talking to you about their daily life, but volunteering opened that side to me. I am really glad that I made this decision because it helped me achieve the goal of emerging myself into the Barcelona community.” 

We’re always so happy to hear when students start to feel part of the local community. It would seem that Alice has no problem getting in there with the locals as we can see in the photo below taken on the Economics and Culture trip in Granada last weekend.

Alice in Granada

Alice, in Granada

Wait, you don’t celebrate Halloween here?

Frank and Justin (Vilanova University) got to visit a local elementary school on the 31st of October where they learned that here in Spain, we don’t celebrate Halloween in the classic American sense.  Instead of staying here in the classroom at the CIEE study center, we gave the local elementary students the chance to teach our students about the traditions and celebrations surrounding the castañada (a celebration of autumn and All Saints Day).  Many say that this tradition came from the fact that during All Saints' night, the night before All Souls' Day in the Christian tradition, people would ring bells in commemoration of the dead into the early morning.  As this was an all-night affair, friends and relatives would help, and everyone would eat certain foods, including roasted chestnuts for sustenance and to keep warm. 


Smiling Faces

We have such a good looking group of Economics and Culture students this semester, we couldn’t help ourselves from putting together a collage of their smiling faces.  Looking good guys! From left to right, Hadley (Elon University), Frank (Vilanova University), Lucia (Barnard College) and Abigail (George Washington University), Alice (Barnard College), Emery (Barnard College), Sarah (George Washington University), Brian (Northeastern University), Justin (Vilanova Univeristy), and Matthew (Colby College).

Smiling faces