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30 posts categorized "Economics and Culture"




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



6a010536fa9ded970b01b8d10b2fe0970c-800wiFirst Day of Work!

Pablo Martín and Javier Moran, both from Carleton College, started their internships at Audiconsultories in the center of Barcelona. Audiconsultories is an auditing firm which provides services to companies that range from legal counseling to human resource management. Pablo Martín will have the opportunity to work alongside the economists, while Javier Moran will be more involved with the legal department.  Don’t they look happy to start?

Internship EC

Brunching it up in Barcelona

During the first week while classes were just getting started, we had the chance to get to know each other a little better.  And what’s a better way to break the ice, then over a cold glass of orange juice and some eggs benedict?  After our delicious brunch, we headed out for a fun tour of the gothic quarter with our professor, Nuria who teaches our Catalonia and Spain through the Arts class.  BRUNCH

American Students Trying Catalan Food

A couple of our Economics and Culture students came out to participate in our first CIEE video of students trying Catalan food and snacks for the first time.  Part of our goal building is group goals, which are things like finding a local café where they know your order or trying new foods.  So this time we decided to add a twist and of course, record it. A big thanks goes out to Brian (Northeastern University) and Alice (Barnard College) who participated.


And PS it’s just apple juice…




Marcos was one of the Guardian Angels for the Economics and Culture program this semester and it was his first time participating in our Guardian Angel program.  Not only did he do an outstanding job in his role as a local guide and leader, he made close friends with all of the students in his group.  Kyle (Fordham University) and Ned (Elon University) were sad to say goodbye to their good friend and Guardian Angel, Marcos.  Below are pictures of the three of them enjoying a trip to Manresa, just outside Barcelona for the annual Festival of Lights.



After featuring his picture in the previous newsletter, Kyle (Fordham University) ended up bringing home the big prize for winner of Our Best Experience category in the Spring15 photo contest.  His photo captures the carnival festivities perfectly! Well done Kyle!

Kyle Cournoyer_¡Carnival!


Last week we enjoyed a lovely re-entry brunch, a delicious farewell lunch and a teary eyed goodbye at our rooftop send off.  The Economics and Culture students were such a great group of well rounded, flexible and intelligent students that we were very sad to say goodbye to.  Here’s just a glimpse at all the fun times we had together.



NEWSCarnaval Fun!

Barcelona's annual Carnaval has always been a joyous occasion, full of celebrations and elaborate costumes. With its usual colorful exuberance, Carnaval 2015 took place on February 17th with the traditional procession through the city, 'La Gran Rua'.  It's a great thing to see, with dozens of floats and hundreds of children and adults in costume and fancy dress.  It’s hard not to get caught up in the preparations! Kyle Cournoyer (Fordham University) captures it perfectly in his photo which he entered into the Spring15 CIEE Photo Contest:Kyle Cournoyer_¡Carnival! feat. Carolyn Chadwick_Best exp

Showing them how it’s done

Ned Cooley (Elon University) shows his fellow classmates his cooking skills during Cook and Taste, one of our study center’s classic cultural activities.  Students get to cook several different dishes including paella and this delicious Crema catalana, seen in the photos below.  Crema catalana is a dish that shares some common traits with a number of puddings from France and the UK and both those countries claim to be the inventors of this delicious dessert. However, legend has it that the Catalans actually created it.  The story goes that a local bishop visited a convent and, to welcome their special guest, the nuns prepared a typical flan. Just before the bishop arrived, the nuns realized that the flan was too liquidy.  As they had no time make anything else, they covered the flan in sugar, burnt it and served it to their guest of honor.  As the bishop didn’t realize that the pudding was still hot, when he took the first bite, he screamed “crema!” which means “It’s burning”. So according to this story, the dessert is sometimes called crema cremada and in French is crême brûlée (both meaning burnt cream).Ned Cooley Cook and Taste

Human Towers

The Economics and Culture students got the opportunity to practice with the Barcelona castellers team last month.  As you can see in the photo below, arm closes around a human huddle, similar to a football huddle, known in Catalan as the pinya (pineapple).  The next step involves climbing upwards form the central part of the castell, the tronc (trunk), made up of some two to five human layers. Finally, two small children, usually no older than five or six, climb up to the top to create the pom de dalt (the crown of the castle).

Teams of castellers, known as colles (pronounced ´koi-yas´), meet twice a week to practice. According to the magazine Descobrir Catalunya, there are a total of 65 teams in Catalonia, Ibiza and Mallorca. During these sessions, different parts of the castell are made, but never the whole thing (this is left for the festivals).Castellers



NEWSEC Students Take Home the Local Catalan Christmas Traditions

Christmas in Catalunya wouldn’t be the same without these two characters: the “Caganer” and the “Caga Tio.”  Yes, the caganer figurine he is doing what you think he’s doing.  The Caganer can be found in almost every home in Catalunya tucked quietly in into the nativity scene.  There are numerous theories of where this little guy came from and his significance, but no one knows for sure what the true history is, only that it’s believed to have existed since the 18th century.  When asked, Catalan families will tell you they always have a Caganer in their nativity scene for various reasons ranging from simple tradition to just a bit of humor for adults and children alike. 

The “Caga Tio” is a much simpler tradition based on feeding your baby log scraps until he grows into a big log, ready to “pass on” his presents.

Anirudha (Georgetown) and Connor (Colby College) show off their Caganers and Caga Tios at the EC final lunch.

CaganerandTioThe Last Supper

We couldn’t send the EC students home without teaching them how to make a Spanish tortilla, paella and a crema catalana.  Anthony (Williams College) and Tina (University of California) listen in intently on instructions from the chef.  There were rumors Anthony failed several times while trying to successfully flip his tortilla, but we unfortunately don’t have any photographic evidence.

Cook & TasteWe say goodbye to the Fall 2014 Students!

It’s been an amazing ride this semester full of ups and downs, but our students ended on an up as they finished up the semester with brunch and their re-entry session.  We met where it all began, at the orientation hotel, where student got to share their experiences, learn how to incorporate the skills they have acquired into their professional careers, and simply have the chance to say goodbye to each other.  The morning was full of smiles, stories, and tears.  Please take moment to see just a glimpse of their experience this semester in the highlights video below:




Feliz Castañada (Video)!! … Official Translation: Happy Roasted Chestnut Day!

For many Americans, the roasted chestnut creates images of Nat King Cole and an open fire, but here in Catalonia, it’s the 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.  While our students were not suffering from the cold, as we are still enjoying an Indian summer, they still enjoyed participating in our own CIEE Castañada.  Please take a moment to watch our fall 2014 Castañada video featuring some of the Economics and Culture students:

One Small, but Happy Family

We finally had the chance to spend some time with just the Economics and Culture students during their weekend trip to Seville and time to get to know each other a little better. Here’s we all are getting our family portrait taken in Cordoba. 


Students also got an insider tour of Seville including a tapas session from our sister CIEE study center in Seville.


Connor (Colby College), Anthony Evans (Williams College), Jessica (George Washington University), Alex (Johns Hopkins University) and Ana (Tufts University), enjoy an ice cream break on their walking tour around Seville.


Why didn’t I think of that!?

Students in the Intermediate Spanish class took a field trip to the Museum of Ideas and Inventions where they were able to see a wide variety of incredibly creative and innovative products.  We all know it’s hard enough to come up with our own original idea in English, but Alex (Johns Hopkins University) was not only able to come up with a great idea, she also presented it to her group all in Spanish.  Go Alex!

Spanish Presentation