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23 posts categorized "Local Culture"

10/07/2015

An unexpected journey

PostsI'm a Spanish student working part-time as Guardian Angel of CIEE, and I had the unexpected opportunity to travel to Madrid the first weekend of October with American students of Business + Culture program, with other 3 GAs.  I already visited Madrid in other occasions, but it was the first time I did tourism in the city with lots of guys of my age. We've been hanging all day around the city, and one day in Toledo, and we lived great experiences:  eating at a delicious Churros bar, going dinner Tapas at Madrid old district and laughing in a charming square, etc.  The best way I could have ever imagined to visit the capital of Spain.

Marcos Rodes

04/04/2014

Liberal Arts, Spring 2014, Issue III

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Our semester is coming to an end. The students have enjoyed their stay in Barcelona and we hope that they have gained intercultural knowledge after spending four months living in a different culture. We wish them a safe return home and many trips back to Barcelona in the future! Here you have some of the latest activities we've been doing with them:

Chocolate creations for Easter

One of our delicious traditions in Catalonia is the “mona” a chocolate cake creation that godparents give to their godchildren for easter. Nowadays, the cake is made into many different chocolate sculptures... from SpongeBob Squarepants, Disney characters and Justin Beiber to Barça football players. Chocolate makers display their "monas" in the windows of their shop during the Easter week and try to outshine each other with sheer creativity and inventiveness. Our students participated in a Chocolate Workshop at the Chocolate Museum of Barcelona where they made chocolate lollipops. They demonstrated their high creativity and were able to eat all the chocolate they wanted! After that, they visited the museum and were able to admire all the giant monas such as a representation of Guernica by Picasso, or la Sagrada Familia.

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Language Assessment

Starting last semester we have incorporated a new method of assessing students' language progress during their study abroad experience. They take a Spanish placement test before coming and another one a week before leaving. The results should be able to give us a better understanding of students' language outcomes.

Watching a Barça-Madrid game with locals

Club Quijotes students went to local bars around the city to watch the most important Spanish football game of the season: “El Clásico” between Barcelona and Madrid teams. The idea is to experience the game along with Spaniards in a local environment. Caitlin from University of Iowa said: “I loved to see the football culture in a bar during a game. Go Barça!!"

LA partido Barça-MadridHost family ties

One of the most enriching experiences while abroad is to live with a host family. Bridget from University of Iowa was shocked when her host family prepared a special birthday dinner for her. She wrote for our blog: “When I saw everything they did for me I thought, my host family really has become my family in Barcelona. Despite being far from my home, I realized their house is a place where I can be in good company and enjoy life with these people that I can call my family.” You can read about her special day here: Mi Feliz Cumpleaños.
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03/31/2014

Calçotada

Name: Hilary
CIEE Barcelona Program:
Liberal Arts
Semester:
Spring 2014
Home School
: Vanderbilt University

Durante mi tiempo en Barcelona, he tenido muchas experiencias nuevas y divertidas que voy a recordar para el resto de mi vida. Un recuerdo que es muy bonito para mi es cuando mi programa y yo fuimos a una caminata a las colinas de Barcelona y después tuvimos una comida tradicional catalana. Este viaje fue el primer viaje con mi programa nuevo y con las personas que no conocía muy bien. Fue una oportunidad para conocer mi programa mejor y formar amistades duraderas.

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Primero, caminamos durante una hora y media al punto más alta de la colina y vimos una vista espectacular. Me quedé muy sorprendida por la belleza de Barcelona y de la capacidad de ver vistas hermosas tan cerca de mi casa en Barcelona. Conecté con la gente de mi programa mientras caminábamos por la colina hasta el restaurante catalán.

Quijotes2Cuando llegamos al restaurante, nos sentamos en una mesa larga en una habitación que tenía una vista espectacular de Barcelona. Los dueños del restaurante trajeron enormes cantidades de comida a nuestra mesa y muchos porrones con vino. Teníamos que aprender a verter el vino para apuntar a la boca en lugar de a la ropa. Fue una experiencia muy divertida y todos se rieron mientras tratábamos de dominar los porrones.

Quijotes3 El primer plato era los calçots que son como una cebolla a la parilla y son delicioso. El próximo plato era un plato grande de carne que incluye cordero, varios tipos de embutidos y carne de res. Nuestro postre era la famosa crema catalana hecha con yema de huevo, leche y azúcar. Todos estábamos llenos al final de la comida y listo para ir a casa a dormir una siesta. ¡Fue una experiencia magnifica en Barcelona!

03/26/2014

El sur de España: Sevilla, Córdoba y Granada

Name: Lena
CIEE Barcelona Program:
Architecture & Design
Semester:
Spring 2014
Home School
: University of Colorado Boulder

 Southern Spain was absolutely gorgeous. I traveled to Seville on Friday, Cordova on Saturday, a modern section of Seville on Sunday morning, and Granada until Monday. 

FRIDAY

After we dropped our bags off at Fernando III (our hotel) we met up with a Guardian angel from CIEE, Seville. She showed us around a few sites including the Seville CIEE study center, Placa España, the University of Seville, and a walking tour of the city.

Lena1Seville used to be the capital of Spain, way back when. Catedral de Sevilla was enormous; in fact it is the third largest in the world! We climbed to the top of the bell tower and were welcomed with a breathtaking, 360-degree view of the city. Christopher Columbus's tomb is there, so neat! His burial place is located in this cathedral because he sailed from Seville in 1492! Lenanew
Lena3Outside here the building was lined with horse and chariots. There were horses all around the city, it was so cool.

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Probably the most impressive thing to see here was Placa España. There were canals running around a semicircle of walkways filled with columns. This building was extremely colorful. I loved it!

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 SATURDAY

Early Saturday morning we took a 1.5 hour bus ride to Cordoba, east of Seville. This city was very prosperous during the Middle Ages and was at one point the largest city in the world!  We saw the Córdoba Mezquita in which encompassed Catedral de Córdoba —a famous mosque, absolutely incredible. The mosque was very well preserved with the addition of a cathedral inside! There were 1000 columns in the mosque originally, where as the cathedral knocked down 150. Surprisingly, with the Catholics help, the mosque was in close to perfect condition. Unfortunately we had a tour guide that rushed us through the entire thing, but I made sure to take some good shots-of course!

  Lena-6Afterwards we saw a synagogue and had lunch. We made sure to get some typical dishes from Cordoba, such as a battered eggplant with honey- Berenjena Con Miel. I feel very fortunate to go to Cordoba. I feel like it is a city in which I would have never visited if CIEE did not take me. I am so happy I went!

On the way back to Seville we stopped by Madinat al-Zahra, a modern archeology study and museum. After exploring the building and its artifacts we took a bus to another site in which had mosques that were built a few hundred years after the ones in Cordoba. In contrast, these were not preserved at all! Lena16
At 6 o’clock we took a bus back to Seville. Next on our agenda was watching a flamenco show. It was absolutely incredible. The dancers feet moved so fast as if they were vibrating!Lena8

I finished my day with my friends eating some tapas, some of the best I have had! Southern Spain is known for their goat cheese. This only made me more excited for the tapas in Granada!

SUNDAY

The following morning we had a Contemporary architecture tour of Seville. We saw this super modern sculpture/building that looked like a giant waffle! Its purpose was to hold and display roman ruins on the bottom floor and if you took an elevator up you were able to walk over the sculpture, with a view of the city and cathedral especially. This building was super curved, which I loved, of course!!! Lena9On Sunday afternoon, 5 of my classmates from the architecture and design program joined me on a trip to Granada. Sadly we had backtracked from being in Cordova the day before. This city was a 3-hour bus ride northeast. The bus was super easy to find!

Our hostel there was really cool, hostel Vita. The gentleman working the front desk was really nice and took us to a great tapas place. In Granada every drink you buy you receive a tapa, ranging from 1.5-2 euro, a great deal! The idea of a drink with food came from King Alfonso X (the name of my metro stop!) He made a law that with every drink a person would buy at a restaurant they would receive food. Granada keeps this tradition, which I absolutely loved! The drink of southern Spain is called Tinto de Verano -a mix of fizzy water with wine. This is the drink of the south in oppose of Kalimotxo where they mix coke with wine (gross)!

We went back early to our hostel in order to get a good nights rest before the Alhambra.

MONDAY

The Alhambra. I was so excited for this, I have learned about it countless times since freshman year in my architecture classes! My friend and I had tickets to the palace at 2. God was it amazing! The details on the walls are absolutely remarkable. When I got to the fountain of lions I literally started crying. I just could not believe I was there!!!!Lena10Throughout the palace and Alhambra site there were breathtaking views of the city. All of the houses were white stucco with tiled roofs. It made me really feel like I was in Spain! After the palace my friend and I enjoyed exploring the gardens. The coolest thing we had witnessed was the water stairway; the way in which they moved water around the site was incredible. The gardens were spectacular.Lena11Afterwards, around 6, my friend Meg and I went to the Catedral de Granada. This is the most unique cathedral I have seen yet. Everything in there was white! I would imagine it was to match the city.Lena12

Subsequently we met up with our other classmates and went on a quest to see the caves with gypsies in them--in the mountains. Unfortunately we did not find the caves but we were welcomed with more breathtaking views, especially during sunset. It was cool exploring the neighborhoods.

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When we were finished with this adventure we were starving and went to go get tapas, of course! We went to Babel in which it was all our outright favorite; it had 20 options of tapas to choose from, in oppose to the night before where there was an assigned tapa for the drink you got.  The food here was absolutely amazing and such big portions! 

All in all this was by far the best weekend of my life, especially considering my major. Spain has so much to offer!

02/26/2014

Santa Eulalia Festival: Castellers

Name: Bodie
CIEE Barcelona Program: Global Architecture & Design
Semester: Spring 2014
Home School: University of Colorado Boulder

Time has flown by! With a month under my belt I still feel like I have barely scratched the surface of this amazing place. The past few weekends I stayed in the city and really tried to get to know it better.

Last weekend was a holiday celebrating Santa Eulalia, the patron saint of the city. To celebrate the city had a festival in the old district. There were a number of events, but the most notable was the Castellers, which is the Catalan sport of making human towers. It was amazing; citizens crowded tightly into the main square to try to get a good view of the event. Looking around at the people, however, I couldn't see anyone that looked like they were part of the sport. Then I noticed everyone was turning their heads to look at the back of the square. Sure enough, people in matching red shirts and white pants slowly started to make a single tower. As they began to climb another group from their team ran through the crowd to clear a path. Once the tower was completed with a large group as the trunk and three more people standing on top of each other, the group walked together towards the front.

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After all of the teams entered in the same manner, the competition began. Each team presented a different formation of a tower, with different heights and different numbers of people in each 'level'. The scoring system is based on the difficulty of the formations. It was truly an incredible sight. We were just at the base of one of the teams. I could see the faces of the competitors, their eyes focused hard as the weight sank in with each additional person.

Every attempt was a success, but there were times when the towers were shaking and swaying under the weight. The most amazing part is that the tallest level is done by small children. Once the tower is constructed, mostly of young adults, children of 6-10 years old start climbing on the backs of their teammates, ascending to the top. To signify the completion of the tower, the children wave to the mayor of the city, who is watching from his 2nd story balcony.

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MORE PHOTOS

Check out more of Bodie's incredible photos here: https://bodiehultin.jux.com/

 

01/27/2014

Peanut Butter and other reasons I love my homestay

Name: Ellen
CIEE Barcelona Program: Language & Culture
Semester: Spring 2014
Home School: University of Colorado Boulder

Before coming to Barcelona I was really torn on which housing assignment to choose. Long story short my advisor from home convinced me to do a homestay and I can honestly say it is the best decision I have made so far. My host family consists of a single mom around the age of 65. She is the absolute cutest women in the world and from day one treated me like her own child. The first time I left the house she ran through a long list of things I may have forgotten. She asked if I had a coat, the keys, an umbrella in case it rained, money, my phone, and my metro ticket. Typical questions my real mom would ask.

A few days after we moved in she heard me talking about how much I love and miss peanut butter. Spoiler alert: they do not eat peanut butter here. The next day I walked into the kitchen for breakfast to find a jar of peanut butter sitting on the table. Not only did she manage to find peanut butter, but she also set out every possible type of bread or fruit that you could eat peanut butter with. She laughed as she watched me try it on all the different things she set out, and I eventually convinced her to try in on a cracker. She loved it.

One detail I forgot to mention, my host mom only speaks Spanish. At times this is a little challenging but we always manage to either laugh and forget about it, or find a dictionary to look up the words we don’t know. Imagine trying to explain how you blew the fuse in the bathroom with your hairdryer in Spanish. I definitely did not learn those vocab words back in the states. No matter what the situation is, it always ends in both of us laughing and eventually figuring it out.

Living in a home stay has made my transition to Barcelona so much easier. Although I am half way across the world from my real home or family, I already feel like I can call this place home. I am beyond excited for the rest of the semester with my host mom!

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01/24/2014

cafe con leche

Name: Hanna
CIEE Barcelona Program: Language & Culture
Semester: Spring 2014
Home School: University of Colorado Boulder

Whenever I drink coffee in the States I’m running to my 8 am class, hoping I have a spare $5 to give to the incredibly overpriced, yet convenient coffee shop on my way to campus.  In Spain, it’s very different.  No one rushes down the street holding their venti Starbucks as if it’s the key to their own sanity. They, instead, enjoy every taste their coffee brings, which I must say is incomparable to the states.  

CafeConLeche

I've found enjoying a cafe con leche with my new friends has been one of the most enjoyable way to spend my time here in Barcelona. A few hours becomes a combination of endless conversation with new friends and incredibly enjoyable people watching. 

TheoTheHeroOne day after orientation activities we were having cafe con leche in a little plaza in the Gothic area.  Two men came in the middle of the plaza and began playing lovely music.  Within about ten minutes about several police showed up and actually ticketed him and confiscated his chello! Apparently in the city of Barcelona it is actually illegal to play music in the streets without a permit, something this guy clearly did not have. 

Arrested

It was a very emotional event for everyone in the plaza.  People were yelling "muy feo" (very ugly) at the police in disapproval.  The man knew he was going to get in trouble and attempted to give his chello to anyone besides the police.  A guy in my program actually tried to help this guy out but then figured it was probably not a good idea to get involved with anything that involves the police! The police ended up taking the man's chello away in a large van.  It is little things like that, that I have been able to while enjoying the Spanish tradition of "cafe con leche".  

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01/20/2014

Kings Day with our Host Family

Name: Asya
CIEE Barcelona Program: Business & Culture
Semester: Spring 2014
Home School: Indiana University

I couldn't be happier with my decision to do a home stay! I chose it originally because I really want to learn Spanish. I know it has helped immensely already because the first day of Spanish class, all the home stay kids thought it was pretty easy!

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Cynthia and I live with Ana and her son (in his mid-twenties), who is usually gone but stops in every couple of days. Ana is wonderful and absolutely caters to Cynthia and me and really cares for us. She's a primary school Spanish teacher which has been a huge help with the language barrier as well- as she understands what concepts foreign speakers struggle with and can assist us.

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She also has a daughter who lives in Switzerland and came to visit for three king's day which was an awesome experience. About 15 members of Ana's family came to her house for lunch... Which lasted until dinner, where we chatted and shared the interesting differences between our home towns and Barcelona. It was awesome and kind of reminded me of Thanksgiving.

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Cynthia and I both got the king in our slices of the bread which was cute and exciting. And We woke up to gifts (a scarf, gloves, a book on Barcelona, and candies) from "the three kings" outside of our doors!

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Ana is the sweetest and I am sincere in saying I couldn't imagine a better situation! Seeing the culture of Spain and learning the language as fast or as well simply wouldn't be possible without the home stay option and the help of Ana!

THREE KINGS DAY

What is Kings Day? Epiphany is celebrated 12 days after Christmas and marks the day the wisemen arrived in Bethleham with their gifts.

"January 6 - Dia de Los Reyes in Spanish - is virtually as important as Christmas itself in Spain, especially for kids, as this is the day when they get their presents! The fun starts the evening before, when the three kings lead their procession through the streets, throwing sweets to the children. The next morning, the children wake up to find their presents have been left overnight (rumors that Santa moonlights as the Three Kings when times are hard are unfounded). Read more about the three kings.

A popular tradition is to eat a Roscón, a sweet, donut-shaped bread (though much bigger than a donut) covered in glacier cherries and sugar. A plastic toy is buried inside the mixture, so don't dive in too quickly. He or she who finds the toy gets good luck for the next year (double the luck if they also ate the grapes on New Year's Eve!)." - From http://gospain.about.com/od/christmasinspain/f/three_kings_day.htm

03/21/2012

Messi becomes the highest scoring barça player of all time

Lots of CIEE students withstood the cold and rain last night at Camp Nou to watch Leo Messi become the highest scoring Barça player of all time.

From MSN sports report this morning:

"Barcelona forward Lionel Messi broke the club's all-time goalscoring record of 232 on Tuesday in style - and at the age of 24. Previous leader Cesar Rodriguez was thought to have scored 235 official goals for the Blaugrana but that has now been amended to 232 after a study removed three goals attributed to him.

And Messi wasted no time in overhauling the milestone - having scored an incredible 48 goals in 40 games for the Catalan giants this season, including eight hat-tricks - with another treble in a 5-3 win against Granada.

The three-time FIFA World Player of the Year slotted home Isaac Cuenca's cross in the 17th minute and then secured the record outright in the 68th minute when he lobbed the ball over Granada goalkeeper Julio Cesar, before rounding the keeper late on for his third.

Manager Pep Guardiola said after the game: 'You have few players who dominate like this, but he does it. You can compare him perfectly to [basketball legend Michael] Jordan. I want to thank the team for overcoming all adversity and this guy who is continuing to make history. It's all been said before about Messi. He doesn't only score goals, he scores great goals; each one is better than the last. We are seeing the very best in action. This kid is different, better, we are excited to have him.'

Rodriguez's goals came in the early 1950s and although he currently holds the record in official matches, Paulino Alcantara has the overall record of 369 goals in 357 official and friendly games."

Some CIEE student certainly got good seats! Can you spot our Language & Culture students hanging out with Messi?!!

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This shot is from a great video of the highlights in El Pais. Click here to see it!

11/21/2011

Where the hell is Matt?

Where the hell is Matt?

In Barcelona! Matt stopped by Barcelona at the end of October during his contstant travels. Here he is teaching everyone the dance:

And here's everyone teaching Matt how to do the Sardana: