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57 posts categorized "Travel"

06/18/2013

Newsletter Summer 2013 Programs, Issue I

NewsletterBannerBarcelona

SUMMER ARCHITECTURE

Students in CIEE's Summer Architecture program take a Foundations Architecture Studio. For this class, they are not only visiting great buildings, urban spaces and architectural offices in Barcelona, but are also designing an “archi-tourist information pavilion” in Barcelona's old port, the traditional urban gateway through which thousands of cruise ship passengers pass every day. The pavilion is intended to be an information stand, a meeting place for architectural walking tours and to hold a small multimedia exhibition. But most importantly, students are working on designing a structure that is expressive of the city's urban-architectural heritage.

AD studentsSUMMER LANGUAGE + CULTURE

Students enrolled in our Summer LC program are greatly improving their Spanish language skills while experiencing local culture from a privileged perspective. Through the arts, architecture and design they are exploring the city, learning about its past and present, artists and styles, history and traditions. Both the language and the content classes include tours and observations of the Gothic quarter (which encloses Barcelona’s past), the Eixample (the 20th century expansion of the city), the Raval neighborhood (with its cultural blending) or the new 22@ tech district. All students are creating personal portfolios as result of their learning experience: we will share more details with you soon!

SUMMER CONTEMPORARY SOCIAL ISSUES IN EUROPE (barcelona + amsterdam)

Students at the Summer Contemporary Social Issues multisite program Barcelona/Amsterdam are taking their first class “Spain Today: Politics and Society.” This course examines some of the major political, social and economic changes that have taken place in Spain since the end of Francisco Franco’s dictatorship in 1975. There are several site visits during the course including the Catalonian Parliament, a Spanish Civil War bomb shelter, the Museum of the City of Barcelona, the Museum of the History of Catalonia and a tour of the immigrant neighborhood of Raval, among others. In Amsterdam, they will be taking the course Contemporary Dutch Social Policy and there will be sessions where they will be able to compare Barcelona and Amsterdam.

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SUMMER LANGUAGE + CULTURE MODULAR PROGRAM

Students in the 3.5 week Summer Language and Culture Modular Program are enjoying their class, site visits, excursions, and cultural activities we offer them. On one of the day trips, the students went to Tarragona, a city in the southern part of Catalonia, to admire the UNESCO World Heritage Roman ruins. We toured the city, visited the Roman Circus, Amphitheatre, city walls and the old quarter. After a guided tour, students had some free time where they were able to explore more of the city and enjoy the Mediterranean sea.

Tarragona Summer 2013 (43)

All Programs: Costa Brava Weekend Trip

Last weekend we took the students to the Costa Brava and French Catalonia. Summer is the perfect time to enjoy these areas, and while we had a lot of fun in the sun, students were also able to learn about Catalan history and its ties to the land.

We started with a guided tour of the city of Girona. Founded by the Romans, the city has wonderful ruins and picturesque medieval streets. We visited a medieval monastery, the protective walls and the historic Jewish quarter. The highlight of Girona, however, was a special treat – an ice cream from Rocambolesc, the dessert shop opened recently by one of the brothers at Cellar Can Roca, voted best restaurant in the world in 2013!

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After Girona we went to the coast where we had a traditional Catalan lunch and then went sailing in a 100 year old fishing boat. We learned about the maritime tradition of the coast, tried some traditional tapas (food was a big theme of the weekend) and got to swim in a very special cove that is part of a nature reserve. We saw the house where Truman Capote went to write In Cold Blood and even spotted a moon fish!

Sunday we got up early to cross into France where we got to see how Catalan identity remains in this region. We visited a castle that has defended the Catalans, the Spanish and the French all in their turn. It was even used to house refugees crossing the border at the end of the Spanish revolution.

A quick crepe for lunch and we were back on the bus so that we could get to the Dalí museum in Figueres. Dalí designed the museum himself, and is buried in it. The guides really help give a more in-depth understanding of the life of Dalí and how those influences appear in his work. Even tired from two busy days in the sun, the students were attentive and asked lots of questions. We had a fantastic weekend! You can see our photos on our facebook page and a video of the weekend here:

 

04/18/2013

An Awesome and Inexpensive Afternoon.

Name: Charles
CIEE Barcelona Program: Business & Culture
Semester: Spring 2013
Home School: University of Wisconsin - Madison School of Business

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A couple Fridays ago a couple friends of mine and I came up with and idea for what to do for the afternoon.  One of them had been by this store in the Gothic quarter that rented bikes for prices that almost seemed to be too good.  So we went there to go check it out and it turned out the prices were 2 euros for 2 hours or 4 euro for 4 hours! (along with other options) We took the bikes out only planning on being on them for two hours but it was so much fun and time was flying by that we went well past.  We spent our time biking along the boardwalk as well as biking out by the W hotel and climbing on these big concrete blocks out there that were covered in cool graffiti and right on the ocean.  We took a healthy amount of time to appreciate the beautiful and unique scenery and then got back on our bikes to cruise the boardwalk some more.  We then biked to MNAC to watch the amazing fountain show as it was now dusk.  The bike rental shop closed at nine and we left the fountain show at 8:40 so we frantically biked down Gran Via to layetana to return the bikes before the shop closed and cost us an extra day worth or rental.  It was a dramatic way to end to end what was such a fun and calm afternoon but we reached the shop with two minutes to spare.  Quite the afternoon for just 4 euro!

04/15/2013

Flamenco en Sevilla

Name: Eric
CIEE Barcelona Program: Liberal Arts
Semester: Spring 2013
Home School: Macalester College

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 “Si va a Andalucía, tiene que ver flamenco.”  Esto es lo que nos dijeron, y lo que siempre había oído.  Por lo tanto, cuando todo el grupo de Artes Liberales de CIEE fue en un viaje a Sevilla, me alegré de oír que haríamos algo que tanto nos habían dicho hacer.  Ahora, esperaba algo fantástico.  Algo diferente.  Y lo conseguí, pero era muy diferente de mis nociones preconcebidas del baile flamenco.  Habíamos tomado una clase corta en la Casa sobre el baile flamenco, pero estaba muy seguramente que no soy un profesional.

Llegamos al teatro un sábado por la noche para encontrar un espacio muy íntimo lleno de espectadores.  Me senté con unos amigos al nivel superior.  Era como si nos estaban cas suspendida sobre el escenario.  Lo que empezó con un talento cantado pronto se convirtió en las palmas, pisoteando, espectáculo completo.

Era un rendimiento informal, muy gratificante para mirar.  En vez de estar en un teatro grande y oscuro, estábamos básicamente en la escena con los ejecutantes.  Los miramos mover sus manos y pies, haciendo ruidos que eran muy fuertes aún sorprendentemente hermosos.  Miramos a los cuatro ejecutantes sudar (uno de los cuales tuvo una interrupción momentánea en un momento para aguantar su respiración y permitir que el público un momento para reírse de este escenario) y el ajetreo de la escena.  La vista de la mecánica tanto como el acontecimiento flamenco actual era fascinante.  Creo que hemos llegado a comprender mejor de qué va en cada espectáculo de flamenco.  Durante más de una hora, cuatro personas fueron derramando su corazón en el escenario.

Al final, cuando nos levantamos para salir, tejiendo el camino a través del área de la escena y del teatro donde acabábamos de ver una obra de arte hermosa y abstracta, no estaba completamente seguro cómo interpretar lo que había visto.  Pero, si no entendí las palabras que fueron pronunciadas o ser capaz de traducir la danza en palabras, estoy muy contento de haber llegado a ver el flamenco cuando en Sevilla.

04/12/2013

Razones por las que siempre amaré Barcelona…

Name: Lucia
CIEE Barcelona Program: Liberal Arts
Semester: Spring 2013
Home School: University of Washington

Blog03Con sólo una semana preciosa dejado aquí, en Barcelona, la ciudad que he llegado a amar tanto en los últimos cuatro meses, he reflexionado sobre esta experiencia. Antes de mi experiencia de estudios extranjeros, yo tenía muchas ganas pero realmente no sabía qué esperar. Mi tiempo aquí, las cosas que he aprendido, la gente que he conocido y las cosas que he visto han superado cualquiera de las expectativas que tenía.

Blog01Me encanta esta ciudad única, entre las montañas y el mar Mediterráneo. Me encanta la música, la arquitectura, el arte y los idiomas. Hay un cierto sentimiento de esta ciudad que sería difícil de explicar a alguien que nunca ha visitado. Se siente lleno de vida incluso a las 5 de la mañana y de alguna manera hay un brillo al cielo incluso en días nublados que no es el mismo que en Washington.

Blog02Las cosas que estaba más emocionado por antes de venir eran las cosas normales como ver Park Güell por primera vez y hacer excursiones a otras partes de Europa, pero al final de la experiencia ... mis momentos favoritos eran cosas que nunca consideré antes de mi llegada, como caminar de nuevas partes de la ciudad sola, hacer conexiones con personas en mi programa y conversaciones profundas sobre el mundo en la mesa de la cena con mi familia española. He crecido mucho con esta experiencia y las lecciones se quedarán conmigo por el resto de mi vida. Barcelona ​​siempre tendrá un lugar muy especial en mi corazón.

 

04/11/2013

El Barrio Borne

Name: Lynne
CIEE Barcelona Program: Liberal Arts
Semester: Spring 2013
Home School: George Washington University

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Una de mis favoritas experiencias en España ere el día en que me perdí en el barrio de Borne. Fue uno de nuestros primeros fines de semana en la ciudad y un par de mi amigos estábamos tratando de visitar las atracciones turísticas. En este punto, estando en la ciudad durante una semana y nos confiados mucho sobre nuestro sentido de dirección y capacidad para navegar por la ciudad.

En primer lugar, nos bajamos en un lugar muy lejos de Jaume I. Caminamos por la calle y después busque una de las calles más pequeñas cerca del Museo Picasso. Terminamos tomando un descanso en una cafetería oculto y conseguimos algunos tan necesitado café con leche. Fue tan delicioso! Luego, nos dimos cuenta de que necesitábamos un poco de ayuda, so le pedimos algunos locales si podría señalar a nosotros en la dirección correcta. Resultó que nos encontrábamos en el Borne todo el tiempo!


 Dejamos la principal calle y hacer nuestro camino en las pequeñas callejuelas del Borne. En el camino, nos topamos con pequeñas tiendas con ropa única y joyería, grande lugares para encontrar recuerdos y otras interesantes tiendas y restaurantes. Intentamos utilizar Google Maps para encontrar el Museo, pero equivocadamente encontramos un bar de temática de Picasso en lugar del Museo real! Hemos optado por seguir.

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Desafortunadamente, habíamos ido un poco demasiado lejos y acabó en el Passeig de Colom. Aquí, que toda la ciudad se abrió a una gran calle con hermosas palmeras. Fuimos sorprendidos en lo cerca que nos quedamos al océano! Era tan diferente de las pequeñas calles que nos habíamos explorado. Todavía no teníamos ni idea donde estaba el Museo Picasso y pidió a una chica si ella podría apuntar en la dirección correcta. Ella nos dijo que eran "muy muy lejos!", pero que debía continuar hasta el Passeig de Colom y volver al Borne.

Aún así, era un día hermoso y continuamos en nuestra búsqueda. Nos dijeron que nos encontraríamos con una enorme iglesia gótica y una vez que llegamos a esa iglesia, estaríamos sobre una calle del Museo. En nuestro camino a la iglesia, vimos algunas increíble obras de arte callejero que cubrió un edificio entero. Nos detuvimos en un lugar que venden helado delicioso. Vimos más diversión, tiendas únicas y bares y restaurantes que parecía eran increíble, estábamos tan cerca del Museo Picasso que decidimos volver a hacerlo después.

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Finalmente, llegamos a nuestro destino, el Museo Picasso! Me encantó ver todos las obras de Picasso y fue especialmente intrigado por su estudio de las Meninas. Sin embargo, tanto como me encanta la historia del arte, yo no pude evitar seguir pensando de lo emocionado que estaba para seguir explorando el barrio del Borne.

Después de terminar mirando todas las obras de Picasso, decidimos ir hacia atrás a la Iglesia de Santa María del Mar. Entre y estaba tan asombrada por la belleza de la iglesia. No podía creer que estaba escondida allí todo el tiempo! Cuando nos sentamos en la banca, pensé sobre el gran día que había tenido. Pensé en cómo no pudimos haber escogido un mejor lugar para perderse.

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 Me di cuenta de que habíamos estado tan necios pensando que teníamos que marcar los destinos turísticos, porque el real Barcelona, lo que habíamos venido a estudiar y sumergimos en, era las tiendas más pequeñas, las joyas ocultas, la iglesias y museos, todos cada aspecto de la los barrios. Barcelona no puede explicarse en una guía, y definitivamente no podemos confiar en nuestros teléfonos para nosotros llegar a ninguna parte. Aprendí que lo mejor era explorar sin miedo. Tengo que confiar en mi español y aprender que perderse un poco esta bien.

04/09/2013

La Boqueria

Name: Amanda
CIEE Barcelona Program: Business & Culture
Semester: Spring 2013
Home School: Indiana University

Filled with locals, tourist and vendors La Boqueria is an awesome spot to stroll through on your spare time or to stop by for a quick bite to eat. The official name of the market is Mercat de Sant Josep and was built in honor of the Sant Josep convent that was destroyed in a fire around 1835. In 1914 the market was redesigned with its current iron frames giving feel to its Modernista style. La Boqueria is now one of Barcelona’s largest public markets with over 100 stalls located right on Las Ramblas. The market is filled with colorful fruit, decadent chocolate and fresh meat and seafood. Many of the vendors even offer free samples to customers who pass by. In order to avoid large crowds, the best time to go to La Boqueria is early in the day. If visiting La Boqueria I suggest buying a 2 euro fruit smoothie- perfect to take on the go! 

Source: http://www.aviewoncities.com/barcelona/laboqueria.htm

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03/28/2013

The Magic Fountain

Name: Kati
CIEE Barcelona Program: Business & Culture
Semester: Spring 2013
Home School:  Indiana University


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I had heard about the magic fountain from the minute I met all of the kids in CIEE. I heard that it was something everyone had to see when they came to Barcelona. I had no idea where it was or what this Monjuic area involved or what was so special about any of it. It wasn´t until my friend had people visiting her from her school that I even ventured into that area. None of us knew much about Monjuic and actually had a bit of trouble getting to the spots we wanted to see. We paid 10 euro for a round trip to go up the furnicular and then it ended up closing before we even had the chance to ride it down. Most of the group felt discouraged from this trip and decided that they wanted to go home and take a nap. But my friend Katie and I decided that we needed to see what this magic fountain was all about. It was the best decision we ever made.

We watched the show just as the sun was setting to a music score filled with Celene Dion, classical pieces, and a few Disney tunes. Both Katie and I just sat there, our minds filled with wonder, thinking about how lucky we are to live in a city like this. When the show was over we turned around to see the art museum and pillars all lit up with beams of light shooting from behind the art museum. It was the greatest experience to see the difference of the plaza from light to dark. I think I will always say that seeing the fountain in Monjuic has been my favorite experience since coming to Barcelona and absolutely everyone must see it before they leave.

http://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.com/en/albums-en/magic-fountains-montjuic/

03/23/2013

El Clásico

Name: Harsh
CIEE Barcelona Program: Language & Culture
Semester: Spring 2013
Home School:  Rutgers University

I find myself in the largest stadium in Europe. A tad fewer than 100,000 people are in the stands, getting ready for history. There’s no feeling like it. Before this trip to Barcelona, I didn’t even care much for football (soccer). This amazing city hosts FC Barcelona, the football team widely regarded to be the best in the world. The night before the game, I managed to find a ticket to “El Clásico”, the most important football game in Spain. This match between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona is much more than another football match. The teams lay everything out on the table and refuse to lose to each other.

As soon as I walked into the stadium, I was originally underwhelmed. I must have arrived 30 minutes before the start of the game and about half the seats were empty. I was definitely confused. 28 minutes later, the stadium is packed jam tight with people. There is barely any room to move. Every person is waving a flag, waiting for the game to begin.

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Cool moment in the game:

In the year 1714, Catalonia was absorbed into Spain. To honor the year, at 17:14 every half, the “Catalonia: Europe’s Next State” banner comes out.

Going to an FC Barcelona game is a “must” in any long trip to Barcelona. It doesn’t necessarily have to be against Real Madrid to be an experience of a lifetime. The tickets for games are easy to get at any FC Botiga store or online at https://entrades.fcbarcelona.cat/. Their stadium, Camp Nou, is easy to get to by metro and hosts the “Camp Nou Experience,” the second most visited museum in Barcelona. The stadium is often considered the Mecca for football fans.

If you are already a fan or want to be more than just an observer, I’d recommend going to:

http://en.fanchants.es/football-team/barcelona/

It’s a good website to pick up on some major chants and “El Cant de Barça”, the most important song to know. There are English translations as well for those who want to know what they are actually saying. Below, I have a video that I took of the song before the game. There’s nothing quite like 100,000 people waving flags and singing in unison with passion.

A few more tips for interested people:

1.  BRING FOOD!!!  The security is more than okay with you bringing food with you. I would go as far as to say that I was one of the few people who didn’t bring a bocadillo with me.

2. If you really want to go to a major game and don’t want to pay a fortune, just wait till 2 or 3 days before the game. The season ticket holders will surrender their tickets for their money back and the https://entrades.fcbarcelona.cat/ will release dozens of seats! Just be quick on the trigger with your credit card out and ready to pounce!

3. Buy a cheap FC Barcelona scarf. You can definitely blend into the crowd a little bit better!

There’s NO way you won’t have the time of your life. Trust me. I went to a game where Barcelona lost 3-1 to Real Madrid. From my experience, I think the nosebleeds are the place to be for the big games. I saw 10 year olds and 50 year olds start chants even when the game looked bleak. When FC Barcelona went down 2-0, some of the people started leaving but the fans in the nosebleeds didn’t budge!!

BARÇA! BARÇA! BAAAAAAAAAARÇA!

03/04/2013

Catalonia's Unique Culture

Name: Kaylyn
CIEE Barcelona Program: Business & Culture
Semester: Spring 2013
Home School: University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

I planned on going to Barcelona for over six months before finally boarding the plane on January 1st, 2013. I thought I had an idea what Barcelona was all about, I knew that they had tapas, an incredible Barça Futbol Club, and amazing Gaudi architecture. Little did I know there was so much more.

I always associated Barcelona as being a part of Spain, but shorty after arriving here I learned that the majority of the people prefer to be associated with Catalunya. Through numerous classes and discussion with locals I learned that Barcelona is responsible for a large percentage of the nation´s GDP and provides a great deal of economic support to other regions of the Spain including Andalucia. Many Independents wave a different Catalan flag with a blue triangle to show their support for Catalunya to secede from the rest of Spain.

 

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Catalan Flag

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Independentist Flag

Not only are the Catalan people different politically, but also culturally. I went on a weekend trip to the Andalucian town of Málaga. After this trip I realized that Barcelona and Catalunya are not quite as “Spanish” as I was expecting. Málaga had bull fighting, Iberican jamón, and flamenco. Barcelona has these things as well but are not quite as prominent. I think it is interesting that Barcelona is often branded as a part of Spain even though they don´t always want to be associated with the Spanish brand, and they are so much different.

 

I have fallen in love with Barcelona and their unique culture and architecture. I knew I was expecting something different, but I appreciate what I know now and understand.

03/01/2013

Want to play tour guide?

Name: Brandon
CIEE Barcelona Program: Business & Culture
Semester: Spring 2013
Home School: University of Wisconsin - Madison School of Business
 

          When my girlfriend visited Barcelona the first day we were here we walked all the way across the city to Montjuic. I figured this would be the best way to show her the whole city, get a feel for the different neighborhoods, and see the beautiful Olympic area and castle.

 

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   We went through the Parc de la Ciutadella, explored the gothic area and stopped at the Cathedral, and ended up on La Rambla. After walking for a while down La Rambla, we got picnic supplies at the Boqueria and headed through Raval to Plaza Espanya. We checked out the national palace and then the Olympic area and had lunch in the square there before continuing up to the castle. The castle was gorgeous in the sunset, and when it was dusk we hiked down the other side into the Parallel district and got on the subway there.

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The reason I'm including this day in this blog post is because it was an awesome way to see a large part of Barcelona, from the Port Olympic district all the way to Montjuic. We got to experience the newer, Eixample part, and then the Gothic area and the Rambla and the great views from on top of the mountain. If anyone brings friends here who have limited time and want to experience a lot of Barcelona in an exhausting but fulfilling fashion, this is definitely a good way to do it.

Market3Another intersesting aspect is that this tour included no Gaudí works, which the city is so well known for. This way, the next day could be full of Gaudí pieces, like Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, and the block of discord. This will give visitors who are only in town for a weekend an excellent contrast in the themes of the city, and help them understand how diverse, unique, and amazing the city is.