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97 posts categorized "Language and Culture"


Language + Culture,. Fall 2017, Newsletter I


It has been almost a month since Language and Culture students arrived in Barcelona! They have been very busy with their classes, getting to know the city and participating in a lot of cultural events such as guided city tours; day trips, activities with their Guardian Angels; and their weekend trip among others.

Here there are some details:

Enjoying local traditions at the Barcelona Patron Festival

Students had the great opportunity to enjoy the 4-day festival of Barcelona in honor of its patron: Mercè. Some of the local traditions they participated were: castellers (human castles); correfoc; gegants (giants) or the famous fireworks with music and a water fountain show.

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Local budies for local integration

Our Guardian Angels (GA’s) are Spanish students that help our students to get familiarize with the city, to manage practical matters the first weeks, and to get integrated better in the Spanish culture. LA students already enjoyed a Tapas Night, a beach volleyball game, a flea market visit or a tour to Montjuïc Castle, among others.

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Basque Country: Gastronomy, Art, and Game of Thrones scenarios

Language and Culture students travelled this semester to Bilbao-San Sebastián in the Basque Country in northern Spain. The visited the world-famous Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, toured Bilbao and San Sebastian old towns, did a local tapas workshop and recreated scenes of the Game of Thrones in San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. Students learned about the differences between regions in Spain and they really enjoyed the trip.

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Liberal Arts, Fall 2017, Newsletter I


It has been almost a month since Liberal Arts students arrived at Barcelona! They have been very busy with orientation, getting to know the city and their local institution, Pompeu Fabra and participating in a lot of cultural events. Here there are some details:

Orientation and UPF Welcome Session

During the three-day orientation, students had the opportunity to meet the group; attend the Welcome, Safety and Security talk, Academics and Cultural Activities talk, start to get familiarize with the city, meet their Guardian Angels and tour the Gothic Quarter. 

Students also attended the host institution, Pompeu Fabra, welcome session where they learned about the university; academic offerings; the presentation of the Hispanic and European Studies Program; and a tour to campus.

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Practical Spanish: let’s go grocery shopping!

In order to practice the language in a useful context, CIEE Liberal Arts Spanish classes took students to the groceries! We went to a local market and students had to buy something using idiomatic expressions, and they had to interview a clerk and a customer to get to interact with locals. They enjoyed the activity and we had a picnic afterwards with all the goods students bought!

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Independence Referendum: What’s happening in Barcelona?

Due to the current political events in Barcelona, we organized a Talk-Debate about the Catalan Independence Referendum in our Study Center. The talk was conducted by three CIEE professors: Jesús Marchán, History professor; Eduard Tunyí, Politics professor; and Ferrán Macipe, Economics professors. Students had the opportunity to understand the situation from different perspectives. They also asked a lot of questions and there was a very productive debate afterwards.

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Language + Culture, Spring 2017, Newsletter III


Spring semester is gone and students are back home. In our last newsletter, you can learn about student’s internship experiences and last field trips. We hope students now are  better global citizens after their enriching cultural experience in Barcelona!

 “My internship has allowed me to grow and evolve in a way that wouldn´t be possible in the US”

Stephen did an internship at WholeGenix, research and development startup focusing on whole genome sequencing and how it can help in the treatment of diseases like cancer. He commented about his experience: “I am really enjoying my internship and I think it has allowed me to grow and evolve in a way that wouldn't be possible in an internship in the U.S.  I’ve learned a lot about the workplace culture in Barcelona, the relationships are more casual and personal while still maintaining professionalism and diligence in their work, which is something I quite liked.”

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Stephen from Rutgers University and his internship placement

“Being of two very distinctly different cultures I have gained a new perspective on the professional world”

Richard did his internship with the SOLIDUS project that is part of CREA, a research organization in Europe. SOLIDUS focuses on investigating how to improve the social inequality and psychological wellbeing of European citizens.

This is what he commented about his experience:  “CREA so far has been a very enlightening experience as it is my first time interning in a foreign country. I have already learnt so much no just from the nature of my research-based work, but also from simply interacting with my new colleagues. Being of two very distinctly different cultures, I have gained a new perspective on the professional world. I no longer leave immediately after work, but I wait on my colleagues. Those who also ride the metro, we take the metro back together. When there is not silence onset by our intense focus on the task, we are discussing many topics from politics to our cultural differences.  Also, we eat lunch together, all of us. It seems to me that it is a very team based approach to work; we are all in this together so let’s all try to be friends.

As it pertains to my work, I am currently summarizing the research findings of CREAU on acts of solidarity across Europe. I am assessing the political and social impact of these projects. It is a good way for me to become better acquainted with Europe and the work of my company. If have seen my interesting projects from Learning Communities trying to better the standard of educations and non-profit refugee assistance organizations.”

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Richard from University of Washington-Seattle with his co-workers

Street Art Tour

Students at the CIEE course Urban Culture in Contemporary Barcelona had

the opportunity to attend a street art tour around Barcelona. The tour showcases Barcelona’s historical neighborhoods of El Borne and the Gothic Quarter highlighting many of the classical, earlier examples of Barcelona street art found all over its walls with some remaining for years, and some even decades. Many students highlighted this field trip as their favorite one!

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Language + Culture, Spring 2017, Newsletter II


Spring semester is going fast! Language and Culture students have been very busy with classes, cultural activities, and academic trips. Find here some details.

A Syrian Refugee tells his story to our students

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Mayar Skita is a Syrian refugee from Alepo who is studying a Master’s Degree at the Pompeu Fabra University Barcelona and came as a guest speaker to the Past and Present in Barcelona CIEE class. He made a presentation about the current war situation in Syria and explained how he got to be a refugee in Barcelona. Students asked many questions about the Syrian war and his experience leaving the country. Professor focused on Barcelona as a city who welcomes refuges and how was when people from Barcelona were refugees in other countries during the Spanish Civil War.

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Students at the CIEE Catalonia and Spain Through the Arts course had an on-site class at the Catalan National Art Museum where they learned about the Romanesque art. As part of their assignments, students have to prepare an oral presentation on-site. In this case, three students presented their work about the Romanesque art of: Sant Climent de Taüll;  Pantocrator; and The Monastery of Santa Maria de Ripoll. In this way, students are not only listeners but also active presenters.

Don Quixote, first edition: 1506

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Students taking the CIEE course Literary Images of Catalonia and Spain did an onsite class at the Catalonian National Library. There, they saw the first edition of the Don Quixote by Cervantes dated on 1506! and had a tour of the Library. 


language + culture, spring 2017, newsletter i


It has been almost a month since Language and Culture Arts students arrived to Barcelona! They have been very busy with their classes, getting to know the city and participating in a lot of cultural events such cooking classes, gym classes, day trips, or the intercambio (language exchange event).

These are some of the must-do while studying in Barcelona:

Start cooking Mediterranean Food

Paella, Spanish omelet, pan con tomate, vegetables with romesco sauce,  and crema catalana (the local version of crème brulee) are the dishes students learned how to cook at their Cook and Taste workshop. The class also emphasizes on learning about the Mediterranean diet, local fresh food, and how to cook it. Students had a great time and learned how to master a complete Spanish meal.

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Stay healthy

Zumba, yoga, running, biking are some of the activities that we organized for students to get them to exercise and stay healthy while studying abroad.  Students enjoyed participating in these activities; they met local people and stay healthy.

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Practice the language

Language and Culture students are taking Spanish classes at the local institution Pompeu Fabra. They are in the following Spanish  levels: beginning, pre-intermediate and intermediate They participated in the first Language Exchange Event organized by CIEE where they met Spanish students to practice Spanish/English language conversation, which helps them to improve their oral skills.

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language + culture, fall 2016, newsletter iii


Fall semester is gone and students are back at their home institutions. In our last newsletter we wanted to show you student´s reflections about their experience abroad. Here you can find some of the digital videos they made for the CIEE class Intercultural Communication and Leadership about their intercultural experience in Barcelona.


“My experience with food help me to better understand certain cultural values of Spain”

Olivia from Elon University talked about Spanish and Catalan food and how it helped her to better understand certain cultural values.

“This experience has taught me to get out my comfort zone”

Catherine from Elon University commented in her digital video how her experience in Barcelona helped her to get out of her comfort zone.


language + culture, fall 2016, newsletter ii


Fall semester is going fast! Language and Culture students have been very busy with classes, cultural activities, academic trips, volunteering or doing an internship. Find here some details.

“I love that my internship deals directly with political advocacy and the well-being of others”

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Jasmine from University of La Verne at her internship placement

Jasmine from University of La Verne is doing her internship with the SOLIDUS Project which is part of CREA, a research organization in Europe. SOLIDUS focuses on investigating how to improve the social inequality and psychological wellbeing of European citizens.

Jasmine commented about her job: “We work with 15 universities all over Europe. My job is to decipher over 100 case studies and create an interactive newsletter for researchers and the citizens of Europe to learn about the different programs and initiatives that SOLIDUS has researched. I really like my internship, I am the first international student to be working for CREA and it has defiantly helped not only my Spanish speaking skills but to integrate more into the Spanish lifestyle. The best part of my internship experience is being able to learn about the different political and social issues around Europe and the strives people are making to help make a difference. I love that the SOLIDUS Project deals directly with political advocacy and the well-being of others. 

“I get to explore the city and write about my experiences”

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Max from University of Boulder Colorado with his co-workers

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Max’s wrote about the BIG IF, Europe´s largest Improvisation Festival

Maxwell from University of Boulder Colorado is doing his internship at a tourism website called Barcelona Connect. It is a tourism website and magazine geared toward an international audience and is written in English.  He is writing and composing articles about Barcelona such as the Europe´s largest improvisation festival, eating out in Barcelona or theatre plays, among others. Max assured about his placement: “I talk about different activities around the city and what are some fun things to do. I get to explore the city and write about my experiences. The part I enjoy most is being able to see parts of Barcelona I might not have thought of before.” 

 “The coolest part about my internship is that I get to interview and work with artists that I respect and admire” 

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Paris from University of la Verne at his internship placement in Lenovo magazine

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Paris got to help Antony Lister to paint his mural in Barcelona

Paris transition from an internship for a political organization in California, to an internship in a news publication, Lamono magazine, where he often researches and writes stories revolving around skate culture, art, fashion, and music.

Paris declared: “ I think the coolest part about my internship is that I get to interview and work with artists that I respect and admire. Last week I worked with world renowned street impressionist Anthony Lister.  He was in Barcelona to paint a large mural. I had the opportunity to not only watch him paint the mural, but also helped paint the mural's white background. 

The week before that I wrote a story  on the Volcolm x Anthony Lister collection.  A couple other artists I've had the pleasure of interviewing and working with are Lisa Leone, Ivory ierra, and Lief Pohajsky.  It's truly been an amazing experience.



6a010536fa9ded970b01b8d10b2fe0970c-800wiBienvenidos, Welcome to Barcelona!

Language and Culture Program students have already been in Barcelona for almost a month and they have already done a lot of activities! We held orientation; they participated in tours and excursions; attended the host institution Pompeu Fabra (UPF) Welcome session; took their Spanish placement test, and started their UPF and CIEE classes. Here there are some details: Foto Portada

Welcome to Pompeu Fabra University

Language and Culture students attended the host institution Pompeu Fabra University Welcome session. They had an introduction to the university; learned about academics, cultural activities and student’s resources; and they took their Spanish placement test. Students had a tour of the university to get familiarized with the campus. Students also enjoyed a welcome lunch with CIEE and their Spanish Guardian Angels. LC2

Cádiz as a new destination in the weekend trip

LC students had the opportunity to visit the new destination of Cádiz, a southern and coastal town in the Andalucia region during their weekend trip to the south of Spain. There, we toured the historical downtown of the oldest continuously inhabited city in Spain and one of the oldest in Western Europe.  The city also has an historical meaning because the first Spanish Constitution was signed there in 1812. Students learned about the history and also enjoyed the nice beaches of the Atlantic Ocean.  We also visited Sevilla where we saw the Cathedral, the Jewish Quarter and the Royal Palaces of Alcázares. 


Rock the Vote Spain LC

Rock the Vote Spain is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to build political power for young people. They came to our Study Center to make easier for students to register to vote from Barcelona and to obtain their absentee ballot. Once completed and signed it will be addressed to student’s local election official in their home town. Rock the Vote will then put their applications into a diplomatic pouch for free delivery to the official office responsible for sending them the absentee ballot.  Students filled out the form and were pleased to be able to vote from overseas.




Getting familiar with the city


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!).


Jhoalmo, Nels and Cosi meeting their host mothers

Desktop11Students enjoying Tapas Night with their Guardian Angels


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.


Arrival at Generator Hostel 


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.







Our spring semester has come to its end. Students have learned and enjoyed their stay in Barcelona and we hope they have gained intercultural knowledge after four months of living in a different culture. We wish them a good and safe return home!  Here you have some of the last activities they did. 

Students get inspiration through Service Learning


Liberal Arts students participated in a service learning/community engagement activity as part of their CIEE Advanced Grammar, Composition and Conversation II course.

Lauren from University of Iowa read and sang “The Wheels of the Bus” to the 5 years old kindergarten kids; Sara and Taylor from Vanderbilt University talked about animals and animals sounds to 1st and 2nd graders; Alex from Cornell University and Larkin from Colby College did an oral presentation about Thanksgiving in 3rd grade; Kyle from University of Minnnesota and John from Fordham  talked about Thanksgiving to 4th graders; Anna from Vanderbilt and Caroline from Fordham explained 4th of July celebration; and Zach from University of Iowa did a presentation about rock guitar to 6th graders.

Children were thrilled and they were very interested in asking questions about the American society. “Do you live in Hollywood”, “Do you have music in the States” or “What is your favorite food” were some of the curios questions children asked.

After their volunteering, students interviewed the school principal and the Academic Team to learn about the educational system and compare it to the American one.

We love Granada!

We went to Granada in our program weekend trip.  We toured the traditional muslim neighborhood, Albaicín; visited the number one momunent in Spain, the Alhambra; attended a flamenco show and saw the Catholic Kings (Isabel and Fernando) tombs at the Capilla Real.

Students really enjoyed the trip and some of them even dared to dance some flamenco!

When playing soccer brings people together


Alex from Cornell University played soccer in his neighborhood on Saturdays


This is what he wrote about his experience: “Playing soccer in Gracia has been a great experience so far in that it has allowed me to feel much more a part of Gracia as a neighborhood and experience local culture and language through another means. There is a mixture of Spanish, Colombian, Chilean, Argentinian, and other spanish-speaking players who are incredibly outgoing and interesting to talk to. For instance, two weekends ago I met a man from Santiago, Chile, and we talked about a bit about Patagonia and South American politics. Also, it's quite a different experience from our regular classes at Pompeu Fabra or CIEE in that the players and locals speak incredibly quickly--especially in vastly different accents if they come from South.

CIEE also organizes soccer matches with locals that way our students get to practice sport and meet local people to better integrate in the society.