This week ends the classes of the CIEE Advanced Liberal Arts program in the University of Barcelona. We celebrated a wonderful term at the beginning of the week with a farewell event where we shared memories (always in Spanish!) of these past months.
This fall, of the 31 CIEE students enrolled in UB, 55% were attending classes in the Hispanic Philology Department, 19% in Geography and History, 13 % in Law, 6% in Psychology, 4% in Economics and Business, and 3% in Fine Arts. Many of them took classes in more than one department, thus completing the academic requirements for the majors and minors of their universities and colleges. For this reason, the CIEE Advanced Liberal Arts Program has broadened its course offerings with these departments: Biology, Business, Classics, Chemistry, Economics Sciences, Education, Fine Arts, Geography, History, History of Art, Hispanic Philology, International Affairs, Law, Mathematics, Modern Language and Literatures, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology.
This variety of academic departments involves a double advantage: on the one hand, the students encounter a greater quantity of courses that satisfy their academic interests; and on the other hand, this will facilitate student integration in the host institution, since they are taking classes in departments that traditionally enroll very few US students.
In this newsletter, we have the collaboration of our students: Michaela M. Wetter (Vanderbilt University), Tahil Sharma (University of La Verne) and Sean McCarthy (University of Colorado at Boulder), who have written about their experience during this fall term.
And last but not least, I am proud to share an example of the film adaptation class exercise that some students of the CIEE course “Literature & Cinema in Spain” made as a final project, adapting the screenplay “Viaje a la luna” (Trip to the Moon), that the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca made during his time in New York in 1929-30 after having been shocked by the work of his two close friends Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí. I am sure that you will enjoy this short movie:
Tapas with friends, dancing until dawn and Europe as my backyard, are just the beginning of my list of why my time in Barcelona this fall was absolutely remarkable. The ability to utilize my Spanish to connect with a culture so full of Catalan pride, urban energy and beach ease was incredible. With the Advanced Liberal Arts program I was able to have the independence to truly make this experience my own, travel with the program, as well as on my own, and have the opportunity take a range of classes that I was interested in. Taking classes at University of Barcelona was an enlightening experience allowing me to improve my Spanish, as well as my understanding about Catalan culture. Furthermore, the ability to live with a host family allowed me to truly feel like I lived here and was not just a visitor. I lived with a Dominican family and next to a Swedish family and although neither is from here originally, they all moved here after studying; giving me the confidence that maybe one day I could do it too.
I cannot wait to return to my new home across the Atlantic and check even more off my list.
¡Hasta pronto Barcelona!
Michaela, Vanderbilt University
The Advanced Liberal Arts Program of CIEE Barcelona gave me the opportunity to explore the heights of my linguistic ability while providing the atmosphere of acculturation and independence. Classes through the program and through the Universitat de Barcelona provided me with a greater understanding of the cultural, historical and philological contexts of a country I have never been to, including many activities and excursions that help us take a more in-depth look at the ancient and modern world. With my focus on culture, religion and language, my goals to enrich and diversify my understanding of the world were meet with numerous opportunities to expand my knowledge and experience first hand the splendor and power of some of the greatest empires. From exploring cathedrals and mosques to Sevilla and Córdoba, to walking the hills of Tibidabo and Montserrat, to mingling with locals while tapeando, the ALA program and their amazing staff have provided all the means necessary to provide the utmost comfort, academic rigorousness and fun that really made the best of my experience while abroad.
What made the problems probably most worthwhile was the addition of Guardian Angels, fellow UB students who took time of their schedules to welcome us to Barcelona. While allowing us to practice our Spanish, we ended up building friendships with them and getting to spend a lot of great time together creating memories that would last a lifetime.
Tahil, University of La Verne, Senior - International Studies, Minors in Japanese and Spanish
Before I arrived in Barcelona I was unsure of what to expect. I had studied abroad before but I still had doubts it would be the same type of experience. Upon arriving I immediately fell in love with the city and the culture of Spain and Cataluña. After the program started I started making friends but was upset about the housing situation because most of my classmates were not staying in the residence, which is what I chose to do. The residence was empty and felt oppressive at first because of the rules they have set in place. However, CIEE Barcelona has helped give me the best experience I could have ever hoped for. I allowed time to pass to see if the residence would get better and it did. I ended up meeting some of my best friends here in Spain, including my roommate who is like a brother to me now. I wouldn’t have ever had the chance to meet and become friends with so many Spanish students if I did not live in the residence. I overheard many incidents from my classmates that they were having difficulties meeting Spanish students, so I think overall I made a great choice.
The professors from both the CIEE program and the University of Barcelona did wonderful jobs helping me resolve my problems and issues with school and my personal life. A friend of mine from the states past away in October and the staff of both institutions attempted to help me and were always there to talk to me when I was upset. They truly helped me feel welcome and cared about.
If I could give anyone a word of advice, it would be to study abroad with CIEE. They are wonderful people who really do care for the well being of their students. They also provided amazing resources to help us make the best out of our experiences.
Sean, University of Colorado at Boulder