Not sure what program is right for you? Click Here

© 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Study Abroad in

Back to Program Back to Blog Home

6 posts from November 2017


Economics + Culture, Fall 2017, Newsletter II


In Barcelona the dry weeks and beautiful sunny days already belong to the past and Fall season has begun with all its splendor. Tree leaves turning yellow and red, spiraling around the feet of the passing by, with temperatures slowly falling. Meanwhile our students have become fully acclimatized and are now part of the daily city life of Barcelona. They assist their classes, work on their assignments and have even taken their midterm exams! 


However not all is work and the season was greeted by making the typical Catalan dessert ‘Panellets’ and roasting the traditional ‘Castañas’. The students cooked the Panellets helped by our staff and later shared their delicious experiment with other students at the Study Center!



One of CIEE main efforts is the student’s immersion in the local culture and ways of life, believing that this will enrich their life experience and help them shape their future in better ways. This is why we confer such importance to the activities with locals. There are many ways for CIEE students to practice this immersion, they can participate for example in the ‘Castellers’ workshop, were local students teach them how the typical Catalan Human Towers are built (these are traditionally performed during major Catalan festivals at many locations within Catalonia).


Although EC students are very busy practicing cultural Immersion, studying for midterms and doing class assignments, they also have plenty of weekends for travelling around Spain and Europe! This Fall EC students visited Granada, the beautiful southern Spanish city, were they enjoyed visiting the Alhambra and the popular neighborhood of ‘Albahicín’. They learned much form the local culture and food, tasting the delicious southern ‘tapas’ and even danced some Sevillanas!


Business + Culture, Fall 2017, Newsletter II


An example of the immersion within the local culture are the volunteering activities. Some of our BC Students, like Annie from Bradley University, have engaged in volunteering at local schools, teaching English to Spanish teenage students. The students are really happy to learn English and American ways of life, and Annie has learnt so much about the everyday life of Spanish High School students. But it is much better if she herself explains her wonderful experience:

BC Students could also travel to other cities in Spain during their weekend trip. Students going to BC Vic travelled to beautiful Granada, where a really good weather welcomed them to visit the Alhambra and its spectacular gardens, to eat some delicious tapas, and to enjoy the sunset at the ‘Mirador de San Nicolas’ contemplating the white peaks of Sierra Nevada at the background. They even learned how to dance Sevillanas!



Language + Culture, Fall 2017, Newsletter II


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

“I love that I have been set such different tasks, from making videos to interviewing cool bands!”

Rebecca 2
Rebecca 2
Rebecca 2

Rebecca from Northeastern University is doing an internship in Lamono, a lifestyle magazine based in Barcelona.  She is working as a video editor, animator and article writer. She is currently working on a promotional video for the new issue, 'Voyeur', showing viewers where abouts they can pick up a printed copy around the city. 

Rebecca commented: I absolutely love working at Lamono, it's a super cool vibe and the stuff the company produces is right up my street! It's hip, fresh and innovative in their field. Everyone who works there are amazing and the amount of work they produce for such a small team is truly impressive! I love that I have been set such different tasks, from making gifs to interviewing cool bands! I think that's my favorite part of working there, the range of cool stuff that I get to do and the freedom that the company allows me to do! 

For example, I got to write an article on Rave culture in Britain, and presenting different photographers along with it!  I learnt so much and it was awesome to discover these photographers.

You can find her articles here:

Don Quixote, first edition: 1605

Foto Biblioteca Nacional 3
Foto Biblioteca Nacional 3
Foto Biblioteca Nacional 3
Foto Biblioteca Nacional 3

Students taking the CIEE course Literary Images of Catalonia and Spain did an onsite class at the Catalonian National Library. There, they saw the first edition of the Don Quixote by Cervantes dated on 1605! and had a tour of the Library. 

Visit to the Catalan Parliament

Fotos Parlamento

Students at the CIEE Past and Present in Barcelona course had an on-site class at the Catalan Parliament. The visit was especially interesting due to the current political situation in Catalonia with the independence movement. Students had the opportunity to be at the parliament seats and learned about the reestablishment of the Catalan Parliament in 1980 after the dictatorship. 

Liberal Arts, Fall 2017, Newsletter II


Fall semester is going fast! In this issue, we would like to talk about students participating in sports while in Barcelona and the visit to a primate rehabilitation center. Find here some details.

“Fencing here allows me to use my Spanish while continue training for the NCAA season”

Foto Ilana

Ilana from Columbia University practicing fencing with a Spanish team

Ilana from Columbia University is at the fencing team back home. She didn´t want to miss her practices so she joined a local fencing team. She commented: “Fencing here has been one of the highlights of my trip. Going to practice allows me to use my Spanish while continue training for the NCAA season when I return back to school. The other fencers are very nice, and have found it a great way to meet local people and become friends.

She travelled with the Barcelona fencers to compete in a tournament in France. She said: “We took a 6-hour car ride together across beautiful terrain to get there, and during the competition I was part of the camaraderie of Barcelona fencers, so when I was competing I had people cheering and coaching me, and I was able to reciprocate. This made the tournament very fun and I also learned the words to cheer and support athletes.”

“It has been so much fun playing with the UPF team”

Foto Carla

Carla from Lewis and Clark College plays at the soccer UPF team

Carla from Lewis and Clark University joined the fútbol 7 (soccer) team at the local university Pompeu  Fabra. She assured: “It has been so much fun playing with the UPF team. The girls are all really welcoming and so nice! My favorite part is going to hang out with the team after practice!”

Visiting a primate rehabilitation center

Fundación Mona
Fundación Mona
Fundación Mona

Students had the opportunity to visit the MONA foundation, a rehabilitation center for abused chimpanzees and macaques that are recovering from their previous lives as circus artists, television actors, and even pets. MONA gives these primates a second chance at a life free of pain and abuse.  They provide the primates a curative, nurturing, and restorative environment in a group of their own kind within a spacious and natural installation.

Students enjoyed the visit and afterwards they visit the medieval town on Besalú.


Advanced Liberal Arts, Fall 2017, Newsletter II


Poetry and education

We live in an accelerated time and are led by the technological changes that are impacting our lives in many ways: from human relationships and communication to work and the easy access of information; and these are only a few examples. Education in general, and the university in particular, is not immune to these profound changes that have pushed our institutions toward a deeper revision of the ways and methods of teaching.

Paraninfo Nueva

(University of Barcelona Old Main)

It is easily verifiable that in these past years, the university has diverted its focus toward professional learning and the development of applied investigation. Its primary objective these days seems to be professional training in the diverse and specialized areas of the job market. But we cannot ignore that there are also many voices that have recently been raised alerting and asking us if we want, and if we can afford, a university that is mainly dedicated to professional development, therein marginalizing another type of intellectual training that permits us to educate committed citizens –those capable of understanding the present, judging it critically and thinking about a future for themselves and those around them– in a society that should be more free and reasonable. An important number of books and articles reminds us these days that without a solid understanding of history, anthropology, art, literature, philosophy and ethics, –these spaces of reflection that humanities can teach us– only with great difficulty can our youth be prepared for the complexities of the adult world. A few months ago, my colleague and friend, Dr. Paul DeYoung, Director of International Programs at Reed College, mentioned that our work as educators is “bringing new and important opportunities to young engaging minds that will lead our future.” Yes, Paul is right: we are educating our leaders, and we want –and need– the best leaders. Excellence, integrity, respect, collaboration: these are CIEE’s core values.


(ALA students in front of CIEE Barcelona)


The students of the CIEE Advanced Liberal Arts program at the University of Barcelona (UB) are a good example that this indispensable equilibrium between technical training and a solid knowledge of humanities is not only possible but recommendable. To illustrate this point with a couple of examples, this term Sophie, from Princeton University, is taking the course “Artificial Vision” in the UB Computer Engineering Department and also the courses “The Spanish Narrative in the 20th Century” in the UB Spanish Department and “Literature & Cinema in Spain” at CIEE Barcelona. Meanwhile, Julio, from Columbia University, is taking courses at the UB such as “The History of Economic Thought” and “Philosophy of Law” along with “Photography” and “Masterworks in Catalan Art.” This combination of scientific and technical courses with humanities permits our/your students to incorporate these necessary and complementary perspectives during this important formative period of their lives.


(CIEE "Contemporary Spain" class at the Catalan Parlament)

In my opinion, amongst all the humanities studies, few better facilitate the spiritual mission of education like poetry. It is because of this that at CIEE we offer our ALA program students the unique opportunity to attend a conference and poetry recital given by Joan Margarit, one of the most important poets in recent Spanish literature. Margarit’s recital and lecture was the inaugural act of our Semana Cultural (Cultural Week). His poetry teaches us that “culture is not decoration, it is as serious as penicillin, energy or electricity.” He believes that a poem is “an instrument with the same effect of science, which creates structures so that we do not suffer cold nor hunger and that we are cured of our disease.” For Margarit, “there is an inclemency that is not physical, but moral, which makes reference to loss and love, and where there exists no button like those in a furnace that we can push when we are cold”. In the face of this moral inclemency "there are few things that can help except perhaps poetry, paintings, fine arts, philosophy and, for some, religion. It is not much, but we have nothing else.” We can only say thanks to Joan Margarit for visiting CIEE Barcelona and for sharing his words, poems and wisdom with the CIEE ALA students.


(Renowned poet Joan Margarit lecturing and reciting to the ALA program students)

Allison, from Vanderbilt University, wanted to share her impression of Joan Margarit’s recital with us:

Alison, Vanderbilt University

It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to hear Joan Margarit recite his poetry. The poems themselves are so rich in both personal and historical context, but they took on even greater meaning for me when I could hear his inflections and the emotion in his voice. Margarit made it clear in his discussion after the recitation that he feels poetry is an incredible outlet for the expression of impossible human emotions. We were then able to ask questions and engage with him and his writing on another level, asking about his inspirations, unintentional meanings, and the experiences that led him to write. I am so grateful to have met a poet who is a part of living Spanish literary history and who took the time to speak with us about his life's work. 

Three poems of Joan Margarit (with the authorization of the author):

The time has come
when life that is lost no longer hurts,
when lust is a useless light
and envy is forgotten. It is a time
of wise and necessary losses,
it is not a time for arriving, but for going away.
It is now that love
finally coincides with intelligence.
It wasn’t far away or difficult.
It is a time that leaves me only the horizon
with which to measure solitude.
The time of protective sadness.

Closer through that which no one will ever know,
we raise our two glasses.
We see our light, each in the eyes of the other.
A man and a woman, in an instant,
can be wrong.
But the instant will never come back

(translated by Anne Crowe)

Nuestros, como canciones
que nos hacen llorar, son esos días
que fueron la verdad de los anocheceres
sonrientes y del baño de los niños.
El alegre cansancio de la cena.
Las caras que no han vuelto
a confiar como entonces.
La vida se alimenta de días generosos.
De dar y proteger.
Si se ha podido dar, la muerte es otra.




Architecture + Design, Fall 2017, Newsletter II


Global Citizens

Part of CIEE’s mission is to make active and responsible Global Citizens and prepare them for the changes and challenges of future generations to come. They must be able to understand cultural differences, and therefore, developing soft skills which allow them to be flexible and adaptive are key points for students studying abroad. Through all of the academic obligations and cultural activities that the Architecture + Design students have been experiencing this semester, some have found the time to reflect on their soft skills and thoughtfully rethink what it means to be abroad.

Samantha, from Tufts University, is an excellent example of how to be proactive and motivated while abroad. Besides focusing on her classes at ELISAVA and CIEE, Samantha has taken a very active role in learning the local language. Even though she was not able to take any Spanish classes, her interest in learning it has driven her to expand her limits and take advantage of her experience. In order to further immerse herself in the community, she speaks Spanish with her host family and even volunteers at a local school. Recently, Samantha participated in a language class with 14-15 year old students—a project that was more than satisfactory for all of them.

Voluntariat escola 1

Voluntariat escola 2

Voluntariat escola 4

Another student, Giang, from Temple University, embodies the spirit of awareness and adaptability of being abroad. Born in Vietnam, she moved to the US while in high school and has been living there since. Her time now in Barcelona is her third experience abroad, after Tokyo and Prague. But since her first one, she’s realized the potential of being abroad to improve her soft skills, level of adaptability and to be more aware about intercultural aspects and mutual understanding. Check out this video!