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Advanced Liberal Arts, Spring 2018, Newsletter III


In and out of the classroom

In CIEE we believe that the learning experience should be polyhedral and should not limit itself to two weekly sessions in class during the term. The acquisition and assimilation of ideas, opinions and content that is produced strictly in the academic setting must be extended into the other spheres of the life of a student. Said in another way: that which is learned in class should be complemented – and on occasion refuted – out of it.

The CIEE Advanced Liberal Arts Program in the UB has many tools to make this possible: spaces for open debate about current socio-political issues mediated by our professors who help contextualize the contents of the courses, the “Diálogos” (open classes to all students of the program where two of our professors have a dialogue about a subject from the perspective of their specialization), museums visits, art expositions, conferences, cinema sessions, or our Cultural Week are only some examples. But without a doubt, one of the best examples of this effort of CIEE to expand and complement the academic experience out of the walls of the classroom is the trip that we organized at the beginning of May to the North of Catalonia and to the South of France.

The first leg of our trip brought us to the Exile Memorial Museum (MUME), an interpretation center which recalls the exiles brought about by the Civil War in Spain, a conflict inseparably linked to the Europe of the ascent of totalitarianism and which was the prelude to the Second World War. This museum is located at the same border crossing where most of the exiles fled, and our students had a perspective that links the past with the present, since the conflicts that cause exiles have been a constant in the history of the 20th century and continue to be so today. Thanks to this visit, our students taking “Contemporary Spain”, “Masterworks in Catalan Art”, or “Literature & Cinema in Spain” could understood much better some of the content explained during the term in those CIEE courses.


Another leg of our journey was to the French city of Colliure, a beautiful place next to the Mediterranean Sea and which was the inspiration of great artists of the past century such as André Derain, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, James Dickson Innes or Tsuguharu Fujita. in Colliure, our students were able to walk along the cobbled streets and enjoy a pleasant day by the beach, in addition to visiting the cemetery that contains the tomb of Spanish poet Antonio Machado, who fled to Colliure to escape advancing Francoist troops at the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939, and where he died.

SP3-C(Colliure, France)
SP3-C(ALA students reading poems by Spanish poet Antonio Machado in front of his tomb at the Colliure cemetery)

This academic and personal experience that our students live during their stay in CIEE Barcelona would not be possible without the work and the solid commitment of our professors. The latest to be incorporated onto the team of professors of the ALA program has been Dr. Manel Risques, who teaches the CIEE course "Contemporary Spain".

Jack & Daniel about Dr. Manel Risques

When we first came to Barcelona and we were registering for courses, we both had not planned on taking the CIEE course "Contemporary Spain." Due to changes in our schedule, however, we ended up joining this class, and the experience more than exceeded our expectations. The ability to learn and understand the history of this beautiful country and the nuances of its government have been extremely rewarding. Taking this course allowed us to better appreciate the city we lived in and the sociopolitical climate its people are currently experiencing. Not only was the class itself an incredible immersion into Spanish politics, which allowed us to gain a richer global understanding that we can now apply to US/International Relations, but the opportunity to have met Dr. Manel Risques and been taught by one of the leading experts in Contemporary Catalan/Spanish politics was one of the best aspects of our study abroad experience. Having him as a professor inspired and motivated us, and although we now part ways, we are thankful to have gained Manel as a mentor and most importantly, a friend. 

SP3-3(Jack –Columbia University– and Daniel –Bowdoin College– with UB and CIEE professor Dr. Manel Risques)


Meet Our Faculty

Dr. Manel Risques has been a Professor in the History Department at the University of Barcelona since 1978. His research has been focused on the Catalan social movements, general Franco’s dictatorship period, and the Spanish transition process to democracy. He has published numerous articles in specialized journals such as "Recerques" and "L'Avenç", and he has curated important exhibitions such as "Catalonia Under the Franco Regime” (Universitat de Barcelona, 1985), "1939. Barcelona, Year Zero” (Museu d'Història de la Ciutat, 1999), "Franco’s Prisons” (Museu d'Història de Catalunya, 2003), and the international congress "The Concentration Camps and Prisons in Spain During the Civil War and the Dictatorship Period” (Museu d'Història de Catalunya, 2002). Among his extensive bibliography are remarkable titles such as “The Civil Government of Barcelona in the XIX Century” (1995), “History of Contemporary Catalonia” (1999, with Àngel Duarte, Borja de Riquer and Josep M. Roig), “Process to the Civil Guard: Barcelona 1939” (2001, with Carles Barrachina), “Amnesty Time: The Demonstrations of February 1st, 1976 in Barcelona” (2001, with David Ballester), and “Democratic Identity or Spanish Unionist Tradition” (2003).



Business + Culture | Spring 2018 | Newsletter III


Before you even realize it, 4 months have passed by. Hopefully the best experience of your life, something that has changed you for the rest of your life. But, which is the best recipe for an amazing study abroad experience? Try new things, meet new people and look beyond what´s right in front of you. Those are keys to understanding this amazing world we live in and to take the most out of your study abroad experience.

Maria, one of our students from Babson, gives us a wonderful explanation of what the best recipe for a great Internship experience is: Blog-Post-Receta-Internship_blog

Aimee from Colorado Boulder has explained to us how she feels her experience has been.

 “it is crazy to realize that not only are you getting an inside look at Spain, they are getting an inside look at the United States, through you”

As F. Scott Fitzgerald said: “It’s a funny thing coming home. Nothing changes. Everything looks the same, feels the same, even smells the same. You realize what’s changed is you."

I want to share the great explanation that one of our students gave about her experience here.

“Coming home after studying and interning abroad is hard. You may not realize it but everything about you is different. You are now used to a Spanish timetable, Spanish interoffice communications and much more. While nothing at home has really changed, YOU have. Your experiences have shaped you into a more cultural and well-rounded individual. And that is a crazy and wonderful thing”.


Liberal Arts | Spring 2018 | Newsletter III


Spring semester is gone and we wish students had an enriching cultural experience in Barcelona. Here it is some of their experiences:  

Host family bounding

Foto Matt

Foto Matt 3
Foto Matt 3

Matt from Vanderbilt University had a wonderful experience with his host family. They did activities together; excursions, day trips and even dressing up for Mardi Gras! He commented he had a great experience, he practiced his Spanish a lot and he recommends it to future students.

“A stereotype is a simplified image of a reality”

Emily from Vanderbilt University took the UPF class: “From stereotypes to transcultural dialogue: A Critical Approach to culture” where she learned about how to develop a critical perspective of a new culture. This is her final project:

Re-entry Workshop to learn strategies for adjustment back in the States

Foto re-entry 2
Foto re-entry 2

Liberal Arts students participated in the Re-entry Workshop, a session dedicated to reflect on their experience studying abroad in Barcelona, to understand the re-entry process and challenges, to learn strategies for adjustment and ways to stay globally engaged and how to incorporate their experiences into their daily lives. One of the activities consisted in sharing their best memory of the semester while forming a web between them, symbolizing their interconnection. Some of the best memories of our students shared were related to their experiences living with a host family, meeting new friends and travelling.

Language + Culture | Spring 2018 | Newsletter III


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

“The hour I spent volunteering was always the highlight of my week “

Foto Jake

Jake from Vanderbilt University volunteered as English Teaching Assistant at Escola Pía  16-17 year old kids.  Jake commented "I had an amazing experience with my estudiantes at Escola Pia! They taught me so much about everything from culture to language to reggaton. The hour I spent every Tuesday was always the highlight of my week, and I am so grateful to CIEE, Escolar Pia, and the group of 25 fantastic 17-year-old Spanish students for such an amazing opportunity."

Here you can find some of the digital videos students made for the CIEE class Intercultural Communication and Leadership about their intercultural experience in Barcelona.

“Being born Mexican, a goal of mine had always been to completely immerse myself in a Hispanic Culture”

Miranda from Cornell University talked about being born Mexican and grown up not learning much Spanish. Being in Barcelona helped her to improve her Spanish a lot and to appreciate her own culture.

“Going abroad shaped my perspective on how our cultures are distinctly unique”

Adam from Cornell University focused his storytelling project in going beyond the pictures. He commented: “Studying abroad rounded my understanding for what my culture deems normal, while others sincerely question.” 


Global Architecture + Design, Spring 2018, Newsletter III


Another edition of Global Architecture + Design has ended and our students have completed their academic work. On Monday, the IaaC hosted the final presentations of the CIEE Global Architecture and Design Program, with the participation of Enrich Llorach, Chiara Farinea, Mireia Luzárraga, Rodrigo Aguirre, Johana Monroy and Alex Mademochoritis as Jury members. In the next video, Mathilde Marengo, instructor of the Future Cities Studio, explains the nature of the project during the Final Presentations:

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The Studio project was oriented towards the development of a productive envelope, to be partially prototyped, with an ecological metabolism, aimed at putting into discussion the link and/or relationship between nature and artifice, and more specifically the future ecology and productivity in our urban areas. A large-scale propagation strategy was also developed, allowing for an impact evaluation of the proposal in an urban framework. 

The students explored various techniques to study the urban phenomena that are linked to digital tools in order to find site specific context-related data. They created apps or tools that were able to provide information, which can be mapped and represented through physical models, and applied this data in the formulation of parametric derived forms, which are responsive to local conditions.

With the instruction from leading designers and innovators in the field, students were able to broaden their perspective through cultural exploration, advance their academic studies with globally relevant issues, and gain a professional edge by learning advanced design techniques and cutting-edge technologies.

This term's 11 students where split in 4 groups, 2 of which focused on energy production and the other 2 on food production. Below you can check their final prototypes and final videos:


By Sarah and Jessica, from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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By Katina from University of Massachusetts Amherst, Gabriella from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and Christine from University of Colorado Boulder


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By Carla and Madison from University of Colorado Boulder and Julia from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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Joseph and Reid from University of Colorado Boulder, and Rohan from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo 

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Economics + Culture, Spring 2018, Newsletter III


The semester has come to its end. It is time for students to bid farewell to Barcelona and be conscious about their experience here. Aside from the more personal experiences they may have had, it must not be forgotten that this study abroad program is mainly an academic one. That's why some students wanted to take part in this newsletter by talking about their favorite courses in Barcelona, either at CIEE or at our host institution, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

Check them out in the following videos:

Yvonne, from Colgate University 

Shahnoor, from Carnegie Mellon University

On the other hand, as an example of what students can give back to the city while abroad, here we see Peter (College of William and Mary), Justin (George Washington University) and Yvonne (Colgate University). They participated as volunteers in the Barcelona Marathon, clearly showing that, besides academics, studying abroad can provide a great opportunity to grow as a person.

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Advanced Liberal Arts, Spring 2018, Newsletter II



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.


(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.

(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.


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.


Liberal Arts | Spring 2018 | Newsletter II


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

Students visit the Fallas Festival in Valencia

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Valencia 7
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Valencia 7

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Valencia 8Valencia 7Liberal Arts students travelled to Valencia for their weekend trip. In there, they had the opportunity to experience a local festivity called Las Fallas, a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage of humanity.  It is a traditional celebration held in commemoration of Saint Joseph. People build monuments out of wood and paper-mache, a lot of times with a satire, political meaning, and they burn them on Saint Joseph day, March 19th.

Students also toured the old town, did a street art tour and went to the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias. They also learned that this year, the main Falla (monument) was made by a famous Spanish street art artist, Okuda San Miguel.

“My project is unique in that I have the opportunity to work with people from other countries”

Foto Laura
Foto Laura

Laura from University of Minnesota-Twin Cities is doing an internship in a public hospital, Vall d’Hebron research institute on a project called MyHealth. The project aims to improve the healthcare of immigrant communities throughout the EU. She commented: “I have been given the task of writing the first drafts of some of the documents which is great and shows me that they have a lot of trust in my work. The experience has been amazing. The people I work with are really nice and patient with me learning Spanish. My project is unique in that I have the opportunity to work with people from other countries. We have a weekly video conference with our partners from all over the EU and I learn a lot about their working culture from those interactions.

How to grill calçots
Foto calçotada 3
Foto calçotada 3

As one of our new day trips, students grilled a traditional Catalan meal, the calçotada. Calçots, are variety of green onions that are barbecued and dipped in romesco sauce. They are accompanied by pieces of meat and roasted bread slices. Calçots are eaten with your hands and you need to wear a bib. Students had a lot of fun with that!

Language + Culture, Spring 2018, Newsletter II


We have already passed the spring mid-semester point. Students have been very busy with their classes, cultural activities, internships, and volunteering. Here it is some of their experiences:  

Mastering Paella cooking in Valencia

Foto paella 2
Foto paella 2
Foto paella 2
Foto paella 2

Language and Culture students went to Valencia for their weekend trip. They toured the old town, went to the modern Ciudad de las Ciencias y las Artes and participated in a paella cooking class. In there, they learned how to cook the traditional Valencian paella which is the mother of all paellas! Students really enjoyed it and they commented it was one of the highlights of the trip.

“An internship allows you to feel like you are living in a foreign land, not just studying/travelling”

Foto Ari

Ari, from University of Washington is doing an internship in a travel agency, Stoke Travel. He is doing marketing for the company; rewriting sales documents; and contacting other business in the travel space for potential partnerships. Ari commented: “ I really like my experience, I am learning a lot. An internship really allows you to feel like your living in a foreign land, not just studying / traveling.  You will make local friends, go to more native events and do many of the activities that interest you / what residents do.  By the end, you will be able to create a whole new life for yourself, which in the long run, will help you grasp who you truly are.”

Volunteering in a soup kitchen

Foto comedor social

We offer students different volunteering opportunities to be able engage with the community and get a more immersed experience while in Barcelona. Christine from Vanderbilt University and Kelaiah from Cornell University participated in a soup kitchen in one of the neediest neighborhoods in Barcelona, the Raval. The soup kitchen provides breakfast and lunch to the needy people: most of them homeless or people with social exclusion problems. Christine commented: “Volunteering was great, I am glad I had the opportunity to partipate! 


Global Architecture + Design, Spring 2018, Newsletter II



In the context of the the Future Cities Design Studio, the students had the opportunity to do a site visit to the exhibition "After the End of the World" at the CCCB. During the exhibition, CIEE students had an immersive experience on how the earth of 2017 has irreversibly transformed into the Anthropocene planet after two centuries of human impact on natural systems. It was an exhibition about how we will reach the world of the latter half of the 21st century, and about our society’s responsibility to the generations who will be born and grow up in it. The result was a hypnotic and startling experience, that on the one hand exposes the traumas caused by the magnitude of the crisis and on the other speaks of the opportunity for change and of the pressing need for an intergenerational pact.

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Sketching Abroad

One of the most valuable experiences for an architecture student while abroad is the prospect of appreciating some of the highlights of the history of architecture on-site and then sketching them. Sketching may be a good way to better understand architecture, shapes, colors and proportions. Rohan, from CalPoly San Luis Obispo, spent last semester in Rome where he worked extensively on his sketches. Of course, now in Barcelona, he is still improving his technique and getting the most out of his experience in the city. In fact, Rohan spent some time sketching during our weekend trip to Valencia at the end of February. For now, have a look at his drawings from Valencia! More sketches from Barcelona will be included in the next newsletter.