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25 posts categorized "Economics and Culture"



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



NEWSHow to spend your first days in Barcelona

For many students, orientation is synonymous with long lectures and information packs, but here at the Barcelona study center, we take full advantage of the city at our finger tips.  Anthony (Williams College), Oshan (Elon Univeristy), Connor (Colby College), Tina (University of California), Charisse (Eckerd College) and Ana (Tufts University) all enjoyed a sunny day after Spanish class on the private bus tour around the city.Bus tour

¿Cómo de dice….?

Anirudha (Georgetown University) led his team to win the scavenger hunt of the Mercat de Concepció, built in 1888 in the center of Barcelona in the Eixample district. It takes up an entire block area and students in the Intermediate Spanish class had one hour to complete their scavenger hunt.  The field trips in every Spanish course offer insights into different aspects of Spanish and Catalonian culture. Fieldtrips attempt to cover three dimensions of culture: (i) the organization of the city (streets, buildings, neighborhoods, monuments, etc.), (ii) everyday life (bars, restaurants, local markets, etc.) and (iii) official culture (history, arts, politics, etc.) After their visit students must complete a written assignment with information gathered during the field-trip plus readings previously distributed in class.

SpanishClassStudents aren’t the only one in Orientation

Before our CIEE classes begun last week, we held a teacher workshop for all of our new professors as well as our more experienced professors in order to have the chance to not only remind everyone of CIEE’s mission and vision, but also to address particular issues or concerns that may arise in the classrooms.  Hot topics were technology in the classroom and grading in the US compared to Spain.  Resident Directors from all programs were present, and professors took advantage of the workshop to discuss ideas and get advice from their colleagues. 



Economics & Culture, Spring 2014, Issue III

NewsletterbannerBeing Vegetarian in Barcelona

Despite the abundant amounts of jamón everywhere in Barcelona, I did not find it challenging at all to be a vegetarian living here. I do, however, eat seafood so that made it significantly easier considering the fact that there is a ton of really great seafood. Even if I didn’t eat seafood I wouldn’t have had a problem being well-fed. There are plenty of amazing vegetarian tapas, my favorites being patatas bravas and tortilla de patata (shocking, I know) and in other restaurants there is almost always a couple vegetarian options on the menus.

Everyone was really accommodating and a couple experiences stood out to me. One was when we took the cooking class. The class made a large chicken paella for everyone to share and the teacher had me make my own separate vegetable one. I live in a residencia so I cook for myself but the one night I ate dinner with a host family, the mother made me my own separate vegetarian dish and was so nice about it and I really appreciated it. Barcelona also has a lot of specifically vegetarian and vegan restaurants that I was excited to try. My favorite has to be Gopal in the gothic quarter. It is a small deli with sandwiches, salads, and a variety of veggie burgers. Despite the number of great restaurants that I’ve tried, the one I go back to at least once a week for lunch is the Dada Café (picture of some of their dishes below) because it is right near CIEE. Although not exclusively vegetarian, they have a ton of amazing quiches and salads.

Contributor:  Anna, EC Student from University of Wisconsin, Madison

Security Service in Catalunya

With the invitation from the American Consulate in Barcelona, in conjunction with the local government authorities, CIEE and other study abroad providers attended a presentation that informed us of the important security unit for the region of Catalunya called CECAT.  We were impressed on how this entity is organized and of its role to step in when crucial events, such as natural disasters, large displacement of people, etc., would occur.  One of their key responsibilities is to facilitate for example the most updated statistics and information to the local area police, fire units, and hospitals so that these entities in turn can strategized on how to disperse their resources most effectively to assist those in need.  After CECAT´s explanation, we were able to visit in person their on-site calling center as well as their mobile assistance unit (picture attached.)  Overall, we were impressed with CECAT and sensed that we would be able to count on their expertise in case of a severe crisis.

Contributor:  Quynh, RD for the EC Program



Special Dinner Invitation

On March 17th, I alongside three other CIEE Economics + Culture students attended a dinner at the Llebot household in Gracia. Not only was I excited for the typical escalivadas and rich mar y montañas dish, but also to meet another Spanish, I mean Catalan family in Barcelona, Spain. I say Catalan because Esperanza Llebot and her two daughters are Barça fanatics sporting banners, scarves, pajama sets, socks, and other FCB paraphernalia. As they mentioned over dinner, Barça isn’t solely a football club, it is “més que un club,” it is living your life along party lines and playing light hearted pranks against Real Madrid neighbors. Their enthusiasm surrounding the culture of FCB exuded an enormous amount of pride over their city and heritage.

The three Llebot women and the two CIEE Liberal Arts exchange students welcomed us with open arms for Esperanza’s “25th” birthday. Having the desire to open up your home and share a special day with four strangers was touching and somewhat unfamiliar. This resonated with me and despite having travelled to over 30 countries; I am still surprised by their hospitality and interest into our backgrounds, studies and opinions regarding the Spanish education system. I believe I can speak for the other Economics students who attended the dinner when I say that Esperanza and her daughters were beyond warm and inviting – so much so that we were invited to return to watch a Barça game over the typical Catalan dish of pizza.

Contributor:  Ali, EC Student from Barnard College



Economics & Culture, Spring 2014, Issue II


Andalucía:  Old and New

I had been several times already to Andalucía, but was still very impressed again by its well-known charm and warmth, by its delicious food offering and of course by the numerous and amazing monuments that are spread out throughout this region of Spain.  In fact, I was so pleased to be able to visit with our students a relatively new monument, locally designated as the “mushroom”, which allows for a spectacular view of Seville´s historic buildings.  Usually the best time to make a visit would be in the early evening, so that the sunset could be seen.  However, given that it had been cloudy and rainy for the most of that weekend when we were there, we decided to go later that evening, and was able to see another beautiful view, one of the city beautifully lit up at night.  It had been wonderful trip overall with an engaging and respectful group of students!
Contribution by Quynh Phan, RD for Economics and Culture Program

  El Mirador

Open Patio

Takes on Seville and Córdoba

Normally, I would dread a 6:00 am wake up call, but when my alarm went off this past Friday morning I jumped right out a bed. With my bags already packed and my outfit picked out, I was ready for my weekend adventure to begin. My roommate and I headed to Plaza Espanya—a small breakfast in hand courtesy of our wonderful host mom—to catch the bus to the airport where we would meet the rest of the group for our flight to Seville. A few hours later we had landed on Andalucían ground. The weather was absolutely perfect—60 degrees and sunny! After dropping our belongings off at the airport we headed out to explore the city.  The streets were lined with orange trees and colorful building. We ate amazing tapas and took plenty of photos as we made our way to the river where we were welcomed with beautiful views of the city. Seville’s beauty continued to amaze us as we had a guided tour of the famous Cathedral and the old Jewish neighborhood. Oh, and who could forget the spectacular Flamenco show that had us all attempting to imitate the moves for the remainder of the weekend!

            On Saturday morning, we made our way to Cordoba by bus for a guided tour of the Mosque and Jewish neighborhood. Despite the horrible rainy and windy weather, we made the best of our time in Cordoba. The architecture inside the Mosque was absolutely incredible, and the tiny winding roads of the Jewish neighborhood were picturesque, lined with cute local shops and decorated with colorful flowerpots. After a nice nap on the bus back to Seville, we were ready for the next activity of the weekend: beautiful nighttime views of the city from the top of El Mirador followed by yet another round of delicious tapas.

            Sunday morning came upon us quickly. With only a few hours left before we would embark on our journey back to Barcelona, we made our way to the Royal Alcazar Garden. Even in the pouring rain the gardens and royal palace were beautiful. The rain wasn’t going to stop us from making the most of our weekend in Seville!
Contribution by Meaghan, Elon University


Sevilla sidewalk

 Impressions from a Professor

Helena, a CIEE Spanish teacher for students with no or very little Spanish proficiency, accompanied the EC students during their weekend trip to Andalucía and had summarized her experience with these words: “To share with these students the experience of travelling to another city in Spain, to be outside of the usual context of the classroom, was extremely beneficial for me as I could see up close their process of trying to practice their language skills and their attempt to integrate in the local culture.  In addition, this experience made me reflect on the language difficulties that these students encounter when trying to speak, to comprehend the Spanish that is spoken in the south of Spain, which can be much faster and with many of the syllables not being pronounced at all. It is not surprising that in the classroom setting at CIEE, these students feel very comfortable and confident about their skills, but here during the trip a few of them experienced some minor degree of frustration at times when they questioned themselves if they had improved at all their Spanish at all since arriving a few months ago.  I encouraged them of course and reminded them of that gaining proficiency is not a straight and smooth path, and that even at times when they feel that they worse that before, they actually are improving.  I enjoyed tremendously this trip as it also brought me closer to the students, gaining their confidence.  Overall, I would recommend this type of interaction with students to all of my colleagues."
Contribution by Helena, CIEE Spanish Teacher

Helena and Guide

Helena and Students ll


Economics & Culture, Spring 2014, Issue I


King´s Day Cakes


I can already tell that the EC Spring group will get along just fine!  Though having spent only two days together, albeit very intensively in terms of activities and time during the Orientation period, it seems that these new students have known each other from the very beginning.  At the start of our first lunch as a group, EC students were asking each other many questions and by the time the desserts and coffee had come around, they had begun to poke fun at each other´s idiosyncrasies and exchanged jokes about each other´s home schools. Another sign that indicated to me that they were becoming a well-bonded group was their decision to make their first week-end trip together: 11 out of the 12 students (the remaining one could not join as he had previously set plans to travel to another city with other CIEE students in the Business and Culture Program) flew to Madrid and all survived and many had explained that they had “an amazing time”.

I have little doubt that the rest of the semester will progress as harmoniously for our Spring EC students.

EC Group SPRING 14


One way in which we encourage our students to venture out and to start conversing with local Catalan and Spanish people is via a scavenger hunt that is organized in one of Barcelona's most festive and authentic barrios called “Gracia”.   Rachel from Tufts University found the scavenger hunt in Gracia to be “a great way to get to know the neighborhood and explore the area” and “felt accomplished that I could make my way around using a map and asking locals for help!”  Another EC participant, Zachary from Texas Christian University had commented that “spending the late morning in Gracia was an enlightening experience as it revealed a historical and lively side of Barcelona.”  He added that “while I had seen the main sights already, I felt truly immersed in the Catalan capital during my exploration of Gracia.”  We anticipate that these students will apply their newly gained skills and confidence the next time they find themselves in an unfamiliar area of Barcelona.

DSC_1565  IMG_2305


We have seen in recent semesters an increasing interest from our students to do volunteer work during their study abroad semester.  The option to do a one-time volunteering “stint”, from activities such as distributing donated food, handing out water during a fund-raising marathon, etc. is particularly popular.  Laura, CIEE´s staff member who organizes volunteering opportunities, cites that these activities “immensely enrich the overall study abroad experience for our students by getting them involved in Barcelona in ways that they normal would not do on their own.”  At the beginning of every semester Laura holds a volunteering presentation to inform all students the organizations with whom we collaborate and how they can participate.  She stresses to them that “volunteering is an ideal way to practice their Spanish and to interact with people in the local communities while at the same time lending a hand to children, schools and/or different immigrant groups in the city.”



Economics & Culture, Fall 2013, Issue III


Dear Study Abroad Advisors,

We have had much to be thankful for during this Fall Semester and with the final week coming to a close, we wanted to highlight in this newsletter what some of the students themselves have shared with us that they are grateful for!

Happy Holidays and may the new year bring you joy, health and prosperity!


Thanks Received and Given


As during every Fall semester,  this November we had organized once a again a special Thanksgiving dinner for some 100 students, professors, host institution partners and the CIEE staff  at a well-known restaurant “Brasserie Flo” to celebrate this very important US traditional celebration.

Everybody came very well dressed and we all shared a good time, eating turkey with mashed potatoes and cranberries sauce, taking photos, talking, laughing, and enjoying the festive ambience. And of course, we wanted to provide an opportunity for students to give thanks and here is a representative sample of what was on their mind.

 “ I am thankful for my life, family, friends and all the experiences that have made me who I am today”

“I am thankful for the opportunities I have had and all of the friendships I have made”

“I am thankful for my family and friends that always support me”

“I am thankful for all the people I met on this study abroad program, my friends here. Having an amazing time in Barcelona and my awesome host family”


CIEE Barcelona Study Center

Christel, the CIEE Barcelona Study Center receptionist, is one of the our staff members who has the possibility to view first-hand, day in and day out, how our students' cultural integration changes during the semester.  What follows is her personal account on what she perceives: 

“With each passing week, I see how these young students change, first from being shy and doubtful students to becoming more outgoing and self-confident people. I take it as my personal commitment to make them feel like at home by: welcoming every day with a friendly and sincere smile, being available to assist them, caring about how they are and how they feel, inquiring about their weekend plans and about their adaptation in Barcelona. I believe my interest and genuine concern helps them to become more comfortable and with time, they often would come to the reception desk to talk, either practice their Spanish or just to spend some time with me to explain to me their experiences.

The closeness that I eventually have with them makes the last weeks of the program to have a real “bittersweet” atmosphere. It's a feeling of mixed emotions because they feel excited to go home to see their family and friends but they also feel sad for leaving a city that they love, their teachers, the guardian angels, their host-families, their new friends that they have made at the host institutions, and all the CIEE Barcelona staff members. I share the same type of feelings: a happiness to see that they have lived an unforgettable experience, have learned new things, have engrossed in our way of life, our habits and traditions and at the same time I feel sad to see them depart. So, for that reason, when some alumni students choose Barcelona as a tourist destination for their holidays and decide to return back to CIEE to see us, we feel so proud of the work we do daily.

Based on this experience, the students have convinced me to believe and understand that it is the small gestures and details that we have with them are the ones that make an important impact.”

CIEE Barcelona Reception