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27 posts categorized "Local Culture"

04/18/2018

Advanced Liberal Arts, Spring 2018, Newsletter II

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Exchange

Exchange is one of the cornerstones of any experience abroad. The American students that participate in the CIEE Advanced Liberal Arts program exchange with the local youth: ideas, languages, conversations, moments, food, class notes, dances and kisses… Ultimately, they exchange diverse ways –yet always complementary– of understanding life. 

The cultural and academic clash that our students experience is considerable. Even though we try to pave the way during orientation, when we warn them of the most frequent difficulties that a person will always encounter while living in new country, it is only first-hand experience of this new reality that may permit assimilation and incorporation into our cultural background.   S2-2

(Adam –Columbia University–, CIEE and UB Prof. Mar Forment, Cecilia and Lilla –Tufts University–,  Marcella –Saint Edward's University–, Eva –Williams College–, and Quinn –Vanderbilt University–)

Acting on professional bias –and why not admit it as well, a certain ethnocentrism–, we tend to focus on the perspective that American students have of the country and the chosen city and of its people so much that we forget the other variable of the equation: the local students. How do the University of Barcelona students perceive the CIEE students? What do they think and feel about them? What do they learn about and from them? Do the friendships that emerge in these months help to better understand the United States, its people and the values that they represent? These are difficult questions to answer. We know that some of these friendships that begin through these exchanges endure in time and that is when mutual comprehension between young American and Spanish students grow and become profound. We know this because the friendships –and many times also love relationships– that develop in these few months in Barcelona are translated in various two-way visits. For example, it is very common to find local Spanish students who have just come back from visiting their friends from CIEE in the United States or CIEE alumni that, years later, come back to Barcelona to solidify a friendship that distance has obliged to make virtual.

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(Robert –University of Barcelona–, Jane, Nick and Sydney –Vanderbilt University–, and Daniel –Bowdoin College– taking a selfie and eating "churros")

For ten years now, we have had a tool at CIEE Barcelona that helps us respond to many of the questions that University of Barcelona students might have about American students and the United States. And it is for this reason that CIEE Barcelona started to collaborate with the Language Scholar Program at Reed College. Thanks to this extraordinary linguistic, cultural and academic program, every year a student from the UB is given the opportunity to live, study and work on an American campus. Thanks to Reed College, we can better understand the other side of the exchange between American and Spanish students. It is an honor and a source of pride for CIEE Barcelona to be able to contribute to and strengthen this exchange.

María and Lizara, two students from the University of Barcelona, tell us in first person what their experience in the United States has been like.

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(María and Lizara, UB students, with Owen, Reed student and former participant of the CIEE ALA program in the UB)

University of Barcelona students at Reed College

We are María and Lizara, this year’s Spanish Language Scholars at Reed College, Portland. Now that we are at the end of this adventure, we look back and we find it difficult to put into words just how beautiful this experience has been. Studying abroad implies many complicated decisions; the most obvious one is the willingness to be far away from all things familiar as well as your closest ones. Nonetheless, in retrospect, we feel extremely lucky to have been granted this opportunity.

Since the day of our arrival, Reed College made us feel at home. The faculty, the students, and especially the Spanish Department introduced themselves and helped us discover the genuine details that make Portland such a special city. “Keep Portland Weird” is a motto that made us fall in love with this rainy but charming place since the very beginning. We will have a hard time forgetting Reed’s campus, with the canyon that divides it, the Greek amphitheater, its gorgeous nature, magical red buildings, moss-covered trees and even its squirrels.

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Furthermore, this experience has also been an opportunity to grow both personally and professionally. We have developed a set of skills in a demanding but supportive environment. It has been a pleasure and a challenge for us to bring our language and culture (the Balearic and Aragonese, in particular) to America and be able to share it in an atmosphere as special as the one created in La Casa Hispana. We will hold dear good memories: movie nights, cultural parties, game board evenings, Cafecitos… with all the residents and reedies; and of course, we will remember all the classes where we have seen our students surprise even themselves with their growing knowledge of Spanish.

Nowadays, being so close to the end, we just have words of gratitude. Thanks Reed College and CIEE for making this dream come true.

02/13/2018

Advanced Liberal Arts, Spring 2018, Newsletter I

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Libertas perfundet omnia luce
When new students arrive at the Barcelona airport after a long transoceanic journey and make their way to the CIEE Advanced Liberal Arts program orientation, upon arrival they find students wearing CIEE shirts that welcome them, help them with their luggage and accompany them on the bus to the orientation location. These students, of the same age as the recent arrivals, are in fact, students of the same institution that will host the participants of this CIEE program: The University of Barcelona. Minutes later, after the bus has taken them from the airport to the center of the city, the students will get off at Hotel H10 Universidad, situated on the corner of Plaza de la Universidad. The hotel and plaza are named Universidad because both are in front of the historical University of Barcelona building. Founded in 1450, it is an institution without which you could not easily understand the history of this city or the country over the past 568 years. At CIEE, we want our students in the program to familiarize themselves with their new university from the very beginning. On the second day, they undergo the academic session and language assessment, which are administered by professors of the Philology Department at the UB.

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(ALA students visiting the UB Old Main with Dr. Anna Vallugera, Professor of the CIEE course "Masterworks of Catalan Art"

What I’m trying to say is that for CIEE the relationship that we want our students to establish with the host institution is key for many reasons: it guarantees quality and indisputable academic rigor while also guaranteeing the level of integration and immersion of our students for whom, in any other way, it would be much more complicated. The professors that teach the ALA program courses are also professors of the UB. The university students that attend the linguistic exchanges are the same students that our students will cross paths with and share classes with in the different departments of the UB. And through the possibility of internship positions, or volunteer programs, our students may further strengthen their sense of belonging and expand their circle of contacts.

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(Students after taking the Spanish language placement test in the UB Philology Department during the orientation)

The motto of the UB is “Libertas perfundet omnia luce” (Liberty fills everything with light). A few days ago, I wrote a brief message of gratitude to our new students for their attention and excellent behavior during the orientation. To it I attached this picture that I took during our visit to the UB Old Main, in the Rector’s office, where the Barcelona winter light was shining down on them. I sincerely wish them a term where libertas perfundet omnia luce…

SP181a(CIEE ALA students in University of Barcelona Rector's office)

 

 

12/22/2017

Advanced Liberal Arts, Fall 2017, Newsletter III

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F3-0(CIEE ALA and UB students in the streets of Barcelona)

End of the term
Owen, Reed College
I will always remember my semester abroad with CIEE in Barcelona as a time of great personal growth.  As a study abroad experience, having to overcome the challenge of adapting to a whole new culture comes with the territory.  But in addition to that, having to conduct my personal and academic lives in a second language (and sometimes even a little of a third) proved to be a significant complicating factor at first.  During my first few weeks of classes at the University of Barcelona, I’d leave each class deeply concerned that I wouldn’t be able to pass the classes because I couldn’t understand the professors.  However insurmountable it all appeared at first, I discovered that with time came more comfort.  Now at the end of my semester, I feel almost like I’ve always been running around the city and taking my classes at the university with the friends I’ve made here.  It’s strange to remember that, in reality, I’ve only known them all for four short months.  Building a whole new life in a completely different country and language was something that all of my study abroad classmates and I have mentioned to one another as an incredible rewarding accomplishment.

F3-01(Owen –Reed College–, Florencia –University of La Verne–, Allison –Vanderbilt University–, and Lucía –Wellesley College– riding a bike...)

Give and Receive

Living and studying in another country inevitably involves being exposed to something different: a new language (of course), new customs and time tables that could be radically different from what one is used to, a different way to understand life, education, or even human relationships. The students of the CIEE Advanced Liberal Arts program in the University of Barcelona (UB) have the opportunity – and the good fortune, I would say – to be exposed to these differences from the very beginning of their stay in Barcelona: in their regular classes in the different departments of the UB, as well as in many diverse activities organized by CIEE through the term such as linguistic exchanges, cultural or volunteer activities, or through study groups at the CIEE Barcelona site led by UB local students. These personal relationships between American and Spanish students are not always easy, nor do they necessarily appear spontaneously. Like other aspects of life, personal relationships require time and dedication; it is necessary to accept from the first moment that what you give is also what you receive, but also that a person naturally receives what they give. It is the magical balance between giving and receiving.

F3-1(Sasha –George Washington University–, Nicole –Tulane University–, Maya –UC San Diego–, Kassandra –University of La Verne–, and Ralitsa –Columbia University–, in front of Bilbao Guggenheim Museum during the CIEE weekend trip)

When Samia and Dani, two students from the Philology department of the University of Barcelona, started their academic internships in October at CIEE Barcelona, I knew that, in their contact with the American students from our different study programs, they would quickly find this balance of giving and receiving. The tasks and goals of these two students were quite clear: take their first steps as educators taking the hands of some students that specifically needed these other “local” hands to guide them, and to improve their comprehension and integration into this new life and new educational system. But, I am not sure if Samia and Dani were aware during those first days of October that their generosity and fantastic work with the students would go in two directions. As I said before, they face the fortunate cycle of giving and receiving. These testimonials will better explain what I am trying to say…

Dani, UB Student
My name is Daniel Cuní Díez. This semester I collaborated with CIEE during my external curricular internship. I am currently seeking study a Master’s degree in Spanish as a Foreign Language in Professional Environments at the University of Barcelona. Because of my connection with the UB, I participated in some activities for the Advanced Liberal Arts program.

I have been able to improve my teaching practice by organizing tutoring sessions for the students that were taking Spanish language courses in CIEE Barcelona, but also leading study groups for the ALA students that were taking direct enrolment courses in the Spanish Philology Department at the UB. I assisted them, most especially on literary themes, since many of them do not have academic training in this area. In addition, I presented them with a general panorama of literature in Spain and in Europe, and I also resolved specific doubts they had about the topics. In my case, I focused on Spanish Illustration and I explained the contents through text analyses.

My experience has been really positive in several aspects, given that the relationship with the students was really close and rewarding. I have increased my overall competence in relation to Spanish as a foreign language and, most importantly, I learned new things about the American educational system, which is really different from the Spanish one.

F3-2(Alicia –Carnegie Mellon University–, Rocio –Wingate University–, and Emma –Columbia University– with Dani)

Samia, UB student
My name is Samia Aderdouch and I am a student intern seeking a Master's Degree in Spanish as a Foreign Language in Professional Environments at the University of Barcelona. I have completed my internship at CIEE and my experience in tutoring American students of the ALA program has been fantastic.

Typically, the tutoring sessions covered subjects that I had already studied while majoring in Hispanic Philology, so I was able to explain my own experiences with the subjects and professors and give them lots of advice as well. It has also been a great opportunity to see how American students are and what aspects are more difficult for them. For example, when discussing literature, they often did not know all the historical or literary context of the novels.

And since I had never given classes before, I discovered how they work, what things I have to improve on and what subjects are easier for me... And I've always tried to do my best by getting involved a lot and helping them to the fullest. My goal was that they pass their exams successfully–something I think I have achieved.

Additionally, the students were always very nice, so during the various classes I always felt very comfortable and that I had a good rapport with them, likely because our ages were very similar.

F3-3(Sophie –Princeton University–, Haley and Allison –Vanderbilt University–, and Emma –Columbia University–, with Samia)

Emma, Columbia University
Samia’s and Dani’s “tutorías” completely eased my transition into Spanish academic life. The classes I enrolled in at the University of Barcelona – Spanish narrative in the 20th Century and Spanish Enlightenment literature – took some adjusting to, especially because Spanish isn’t my native language. During the tutorías, I was able to ask Samia and Dani questions I hadn’t been able to pose in class, as well as have engaging discussions to supplement the UB’s more lecture-oriented style. Samia and Dani were quite knowledgeable about the subject matter and they were able to explain complex literary and philosophical concepts in a way that I could understand despite the language barrier. It was also nice to spend time with Spanish students whose interests are similar to mine. Overall, the tutorías were an academic highlight of my time in Barcelona!

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10/05/2017

Language + Culture,. Fall 2017, Newsletter I

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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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09/22/2017

Activities with Flatmates Laura, Georgina, Sara and Marc

Laura Montjuic

Fall has arrived and Laura and her flatmates Kristie and Annie know how to make the most of it!

The first weekend that the girls were in Barcelona, they went to visit the Montjuic Mountain. There, they went to visit MNAC, which is the National Museum of Catalan Art and they could admire the fantastic views you have of the city from there. Once they went down the mountain, they walked through Pl. España and went to the renovated Arenas shopping mall where you have also wonderful views of the Montjuic Mountain. After, they met another flatmate Cris Bernal and the four girls went together for a drink.

Diada Castellers ALL students Castellers Laura

On September 11th, in the region of Catalonia, we celebrate our biggest festivity, la Diada. A few local flatmates gather with the students and they went to enjoy the sun. They could admire the Castellers (real human towers) and enjoy concerts in Arc de Triomf.

They also went to eat some tapas together in Passeig de Gràcia in the center of Barcelona, and they finished the night with a delicious ice-cream.

Jordina foodtracks Jordina cena

Georgina and her roommates spent a foody weekend. They went to a food themed event and tried food from all over the world while enjoying a nice day out in the park! To make the day perfect, they went for a cool tapas night out!

Sara and Marc, local flatmates, rather than going out for dinner, prefer to eat at home all together with their flatmates! Rachel, a student living with Sara, cooked her first chicken dish and it looked really promising; no wonder she aspires to be a real chef!

Marc and his flatmates also had dinner together but it was a home-made one! Doesn’t food taste better when you cook it yourself? It sure did for them!

Cocinar Sara

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03/22/2017

Living with your Local Flatmate, Ñam ñam!

by Lidia Llovera and Carlos Gómez (locals Flatmates Sp’17)

Lidia Llovera and her flatmates have a dinner together at least once a week! This way they get to enjoy each other’s company while enjoying a great meal made by them! Carlos Gómez, another local flatmate, also organized with his students a dinner night! And they decided to make delicious pizzas! The result looks really yummy! They sure enjoyed the preparation and the delicious result! Cooking and eating is a really nice and funny ac-tivity so what better that do it all together!

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02/23/2017

Living with your local flatmate, by Cristina Bernal

Happy dinners by Cristina Bernal (local Flatmate Sp’17)

Either is a pizza or a salad these girls enjoy each other company while having fun! Have you ever tried a Nutella and Oreo pizza? They already have taste it and it’s worth it!

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Living with your local flatmate, by Jordina Casals

Cooking chefs by Jordina Casals (local Flatmate Sp’17)

Jordina Casals and the two students living with her decided to become chefs and cooked delicious Brownies and another day they had the typical Mexican meal: fajitas. As you can see the result looks delicious! They had a lot of fun cooking together.  Not only they are a really good cooks, moreover they have become really good friends as they share together special dates as birthdays and lovely nights having dinner and talking about their experiences and new life in Barcelona. 

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Living with your local flatmate, by Gemma Charro

Sagrada Familia by Gemma Charro (local Flatmate Sp’17)

Gemma, local flatmate, and two of her roommates went out this month to discover Gaudi’s masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia. They discovered the temple’s beauty and saw the monument from a handful of different points of view, as you can see in the pictures! All of them enjoyed, La Sagrada Familia, a stunning and still uncompleted Roman Catholic Church in Barcelona. After the visit they deserved a tapas night out!

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11/29/2016

Having fun with my new friends! by Marta Delgado

I have shared lots of good moments with the girls of my apartment Sydney, Erica and Margaret since their arrival to Barcelona. We shared panellets and chestnuts during the typical festivity of la Castañada in Cataluña.

We have done other things together: we shared moments in the kitchen preparing delicious food and having lunch or dinner together in the apartment. We also like going to eat tapas together and to try new things. 

What we like doing the most is sharing moments when we are together at home having a tea or an ice-cream.

I hope they feel as if they were at home.

Pictures