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7 posts from December 2017


Advanced Liberal Arts, Fall 2017, Newsletter III


F3-0(CIEE ALA and UB students in the streets of Barcelona)

End of the term
Owen, Reed College
I will always remember my semester abroad with CIEE in Barcelona as a time of great personal growth.  As a study abroad experience, having to overcome the challenge of adapting to a whole new culture comes with the territory.  But in addition to that, having to conduct my personal and academic lives in a second language (and sometimes even a little of a third) proved to be a significant complicating factor at first.  During my first few weeks of classes at the University of Barcelona, I’d leave each class deeply concerned that I wouldn’t be able to pass the classes because I couldn’t understand the professors.  However insurmountable it all appeared at first, I discovered that with time came more comfort.  Now at the end of my semester, I feel almost like I’ve always been running around the city and taking my classes at the university with the friends I’ve made here.  It’s strange to remember that, in reality, I’ve only known them all for four short months.  Building a whole new life in a completely different country and language was something that all of my study abroad classmates and I have mentioned to one another as an incredible rewarding accomplishment.

F3-01(Owen –Reed College–, Florencia –University of La Verne–, Allison –Vanderbilt University–, and Lucía –Wellesley College– riding a bike...)

Give and Receive

Living and studying in another country inevitably involves being exposed to something different: a new language (of course), new customs and time tables that could be radically different from what one is used to, a different way to understand life, education, or even human relationships. The students of the CIEE Advanced Liberal Arts program in the University of Barcelona (UB) have the opportunity – and the good fortune, I would say – to be exposed to these differences from the very beginning of their stay in Barcelona: in their regular classes in the different departments of the UB, as well as in many diverse activities organized by CIEE through the term such as linguistic exchanges, cultural or volunteer activities, or through study groups at the CIEE Barcelona site led by UB local students. These personal relationships between American and Spanish students are not always easy, nor do they necessarily appear spontaneously. Like other aspects of life, personal relationships require time and dedication; it is necessary to accept from the first moment that what you give is also what you receive, but also that a person naturally receives what they give. It is the magical balance between giving and receiving.

F3-1(Sasha –George Washington University–, Nicole –Tulane University–, Maya –UC San Diego–, Kassandra –University of La Verne–, and Ralitsa –Columbia University–, in front of Bilbao Guggenheim Museum during the CIEE weekend trip)

When Samia and Dani, two students from the Philology department of the University of Barcelona, started their academic internships in October at CIEE Barcelona, I knew that, in their contact with the American students from our different study programs, they would quickly find this balance of giving and receiving. The tasks and goals of these two students were quite clear: take their first steps as educators taking the hands of some students that specifically needed these other “local” hands to guide them, and to improve their comprehension and integration into this new life and new educational system. But, I am not sure if Samia and Dani were aware during those first days of October that their generosity and fantastic work with the students would go in two directions. As I said before, they face the fortunate cycle of giving and receiving. These testimonials will better explain what I am trying to say…

Dani, UB Student
My name is Daniel Cuní Díez. This semester I collaborated with CIEE during my external curricular internship. I am currently seeking study a Master’s degree in Spanish as a Foreign Language in Professional Environments at the University of Barcelona. Because of my connection with the UB, I participated in some activities for the Advanced Liberal Arts program.

I have been able to improve my teaching practice by organizing tutoring sessions for the students that were taking Spanish language courses in CIEE Barcelona, but also leading study groups for the ALA students that were taking direct enrolment courses in the Spanish Philology Department at the UB. I assisted them, most especially on literary themes, since many of them do not have academic training in this area. In addition, I presented them with a general panorama of literature in Spain and in Europe, and I also resolved specific doubts they had about the topics. In my case, I focused on Spanish Illustration and I explained the contents through text analyses.

My experience has been really positive in several aspects, given that the relationship with the students was really close and rewarding. I have increased my overall competence in relation to Spanish as a foreign language and, most importantly, I learned new things about the American educational system, which is really different from the Spanish one.

F3-2(Alicia –Carnegie Mellon University–, Rocio –Wingate University–, and Emma –Columbia University– with Dani)

Samia, UB student
My name is Samia Aderdouch and I am a student intern seeking a Master's Degree in Spanish as a Foreign Language in Professional Environments at the University of Barcelona. I have completed my internship at CIEE and my experience in tutoring American students of the ALA program has been fantastic.

Typically, the tutoring sessions covered subjects that I had already studied while majoring in Hispanic Philology, so I was able to explain my own experiences with the subjects and professors and give them lots of advice as well. It has also been a great opportunity to see how American students are and what aspects are more difficult for them. For example, when discussing literature, they often did not know all the historical or literary context of the novels.

And since I had never given classes before, I discovered how they work, what things I have to improve on and what subjects are easier for me... And I've always tried to do my best by getting involved a lot and helping them to the fullest. My goal was that they pass their exams successfully–something I think I have achieved.

Additionally, the students were always very nice, so during the various classes I always felt very comfortable and that I had a good rapport with them, likely because our ages were very similar.

F3-3(Sophie –Princeton University–, Haley and Allison –Vanderbilt University–, and Emma –Columbia University–, with Samia)

Emma, Columbia University
Samia’s and Dani’s “tutorías” completely eased my transition into Spanish academic life. The classes I enrolled in at the University of Barcelona – Spanish narrative in the 20th Century and Spanish Enlightenment literature – took some adjusting to, especially because Spanish isn’t my native language. During the tutorías, I was able to ask Samia and Dani questions I hadn’t been able to pose in class, as well as have engaging discussions to supplement the UB’s more lecture-oriented style. Samia and Dani were quite knowledgeable about the subject matter and they were able to explain complex literary and philosophical concepts in a way that I could understand despite the language barrier. It was also nice to spend time with Spanish students whose interests are similar to mine. Overall, the tutorías were an academic highlight of my time in Barcelona!


Global Architecture + Design, Fall 2017, Newsletter II


This semester has come to an end and students were fully immersed in their experience abroad and in their academic projects. As part of the program, Global Architecture students participated in their academic weekend trip at the end of November when they had the opportunity to visit Berlin, Germany and meet colleagues in the two other Global Architecture and Design programs, which are located in Berlin and Prague. The weekend trip included a combination of walking tours, site visits, student presentations and free time.



During the trip, students had the chance to visit the historic part of Berlin as well as architectural-related buildings, such as the Jewish Museum and the Sony Center. Also, our colleagues at the CIEE Berlin Global Institute organized an afternoon in which students exhibited their projects and later discussed them in proper presentation format.

Hannah, from Washington State University, wanted to contribute to this post with her impressions about the trip. Check them out in this video: 


Mathilde Marengo, instructor of the Future Cities Studio, explains in the video above the nature of the program and the project for this semester, which has had satisfactory results. Students worked under these parameters and showed their prototypes and implementation and a way to implement it in the site. Here you can find the results of their research throughout the semester.


 Project created by Craig and Esther, from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and June, from Carnegie Mellon University

20171220_1121331HYDROCOOL PANELS

Project created by Jen, from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and Hannah and Mira, from Washington State University20171220_11213320171220_112133


Project created by Sofía, from Portland State University and Jessica and Rebbeca, from Carnegie Mellon University

20171220_112133ALGAE FLOWER

Project created by Alice, from University of Massachusetts Amherst.


Architecture + Design, Fall 2017, Newsletter III

Fall semester has come to an end and the Architecture + Design students are getting ready for departure. These days, as usual, have been hectic but the students are now finished with all their final presentations and projects. Students on the Architecture track presented their final projects on the creation of a urban community garden in the central part of a block in the Eixample area of Barcelona. Their very different perspectives and final projects not only showed their potential but also different ways of understanding the city.

On the other hand, students on the Design track displayed their final projects in an exhibition at ELISAVA. Elissa, from Simmons College, describes one of her favorite projects which she completed for a course at ELISAVA, proving the importance of personal experiences while abroad. Please check out the video and subscribe to her playlist on Spotify:  


To students, parents, guardians, advisors, instructors and whom may concern,

It has been a pleasure working in the CIEE Barcelona Architecture and Design program these last 7 years but now it is time to bid farewell to the program. As announced some months ago, Fall 2017 will be the last edition of Architecture and Design, a program that condense the best of an experience abroad.

The nature of the program itself, due to the reduced amount of students and its academic component, which is very focused on the city of Barcelona either in project work for the Architecture Studio or in the core course “The City in Visual Culture”, helped the students get to know their new home very well. Barcelona, as the students learned, has changed tremendously through the years and this program was able to witness them all – from the construction of the Gloriès area, the W Hotel, the transformation of the Raval neighborhood, etc. Barcelona has been always something to be experienced and also analyzed, especially by students who are able to understand the benefits of this powerful association.

Also, the students' experiences in our host institutions, ESARQ and ELISAVA, were always challenging but eventually positive. There, students were given the opportunity to be immersed in another academic culture and they learned different ways of working in a more global market. The language barrier, the different approach to the disciplines and the immersion in a local academic context did not stop our students, who successfully adapted themselves to each challenge.

With the idea of Barcelona as a solid center of experiences and studies, the possibility of visiting other Spanish cities during a weekend trip created a much more complete adventure, such that students could compare and experience other realities in the country. The weekend trips to Madrid, Santiago, Bilbao, Valencia, Sevilla and Granada always provided an academic turning point for them.

Right now, it is a pity to be closing the last edition of such a complete and genuine program, and that's why it is time to be happy and satisfied with the work we accomplished, to look back and remember: remember the good (and not so good) moments, all the ways we changed the lives of our students and also to reflect on how they have also changed our lives, especially mine… since I’ve spent much of my time at CIEE working very closely with the students, who curiously taught me a lot not just about Barcelona but also about myself... That's why I hope to not forget anyone and want thank all the students and instructors that made this genuine program possible! Thanks to: 

Vanessa, Zachary, Vanessa, Thomas, Taryn, Shawn, Sarah, Sandra, Nathan, Megan, Marena, Megan, Marc, Lindsey, Kathryn, Julia, Joseph, Jessenia, Hailey, Erica, Daniel, Cara, Britta, Ava, Alyssa, Abigail, Daniel, Justin, Paulina, Sarah, Taylor, Sarah, Valeria, Leah, Christine, Shantal, Abigail, Zachary, Gerard, Ashley, Siobhan, David, Drew, Erin, Omar, Eike, Maya, Elizabeth, Alejandra, Anna, Diana, Gisbel, Eugene, Meghan, Skyler, Khai, Johan, Evan, Graeme, Mariam, Connor, Annika, Lena, Sara, Ximena, Nicholas, Alexandra, Damaris, Chenita, Shelby, Rae, Aaron, Marilia, Alexa, Elizabeth, Brett, Tyler, Mercedes, Emily, Caroline, Gabriella, Lauren, Leroy, Joseph, Zoe, Shira, Melisa, Gustavo, Eytan, Hannah, Lindsay, Gavin, Hannah, Katharine, Kristin, Jill, Britnee, Melanie, Eliza, Jacquie, Audrey, Natalie, Jamie, Parker, Christelle, Jack, Caroline, Giang, Elissa, Samantha, Ana, Kay, Jessica and also the instructors and former director of the program: Magda, Rafael, Judith and Suzanne for all their efforts and knowledge throughout the program.

With gratitude,

Fernando Janeiro, Program Manager, Architecture + Design Program


Language + Culture, Fall 2017, Newsletter III


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

Street Art in Barcelona

Students at the CIEE course Urban Culture in Contemporary Barcelona had the opportunity to attend a street art tour around Barcelona. The tour showcases Barcelona’s historical neighborhoods of El Borne and the Gothic Quarter highlighting many of the classical, earlier examples of Barcelona street art found all over its walls with some remaining for years, and some even decades. Many students highlighted this field trip as their favorite one!

Some students made their final presentation about graffiti in Barcelona. Here it is an example:

When class takes you to a Bomb Shelter

Foto bomb shelter 2

Foto bomb shelter 2

Students at the Past and Present in Barcelona CIEE course got to visit a bomb shelter built by the locals during the Spanish Civil War. There they learned about when Barcelona was bombed by the Italian army who helped Franco’s troops in 1938, when around 1300 people died. Students learned about the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and got to explore the bomb shelter where locals protected themselves from the bombs. Students commented: “I think the fieldtrips are helpful for understanding the concepts taught in class”.

Farewell party

Students had the opportunity to say goodbye to their program mates, CIEE staff and professors at the farewell party. They enjoyed the occasion and we wish them a very successful future.

Foto farewell

Business + Culture, Fall 2017, Newsletter III


Fall semester is done and students have a bitter sweet feeling. Even though they are happy to be back home with their beloved families and friends, they will never forget the experience that has changed them forever.

I want to share with you the amazing experiences and projects students have done while in Barcelona.

Christopher, from ELON, has captured the essence of this experience in his Internship in this interesting blog post.

Blog 3

Blog 3

Blog 3

Blog 3

Students had an amazing time in their weekend trips with CIEE, getting to know more about the different cultures that coexist in Spain and learning to dance the Spanish most famous art: Flamenco.

To finish this extraordinary semester, we said goodbye to all students in our farewell event, in which they shared how grateful they were for having had such an amazing  experience.


Liberal Arts | Fall 2017 | Newsletter III


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

 “In my internship, I have gathered new strategies to promote equality, through legislation and daily interactions”

Foto Rachel

Rachel from Duke University at her internship at the NGO Fundación Mujeres Felices

Rachel, from Duke University did an internship with an NGO called Fundación Mujeres Felices, that works to promote gender equality in Spain, in Burkina Faso, and around the world. The foundation also works to prevent Female Genital Mutilation in Burkina Faso and organizes an annual women’s summit in Madrid. She commented: “I’ve enjoyed interning at FMF so far because it’s given me the opportunity to learn more about gender roles and sexism in different countries. I’ve also gathered new strategies to promote equality, through legislation and daily interactions, that I plan to bring back to the United States. The most interesting part so far is seeing the foundation’s goals to increase gender equality in Spain and comparing them with goals for gender equality in the United States.”

One of the projects in which Rachel worked was translating videos that promote gender equality from English to Spanish. Here it is one or her jobs:

“Volunteering at the school allowed me to expand my network and immerse into the city of Barcelona”

Foto Ilan

Ilan from Columbia University volunteering at Escola Pía

Ilan from Comlumbia University volunteered as English Teaching Assistant at Escola Pía  12-13 year old kids.  Ilan commented: “ I loved my experience volunteering at Escola Pía. In the United States I have worked as a soccer coach, and love doing it because I like working with kids. This opportunity was fantastic because I was able to continue working with kids, even if I was teaching them a language instead of a sport. 

In truth, what I liked most is that the experience made me think about how I learn languages. All of the kids I worked with knew Catalan and Spanish (Castilian). Therefore, English was, for most of them, their third language! In the different games we played they would give each other clues and hints in English, Catalan and Spanish. It made me realize how interconnected all languages are, and has only enhanced my own interest in learning more and more languages. Volunteering at the school allowed me to expand my network and immerse into the city of Barcelona.   

Catalan Christmas Traditions

Foto Tió 2
Foto Tió 2

Liberal Arts students made their final presentations at the CIEE Advanced Spanish Grammar, Composition and Conversation class about a Spanish/Catalan cultural aspect.

Rachel from Duke University, and Emily and Annie from Elon University talked about the Christmas celebration in Barcelona and Spain in compare with the United States. They presented the Catalan Christmas tradition of Tió. The Tió de Nadal is a character in Catalan mythology relating to a Christmas tradition widespread in Catalonia and some regions of Aragon. The story goes that in the days preceding Christmas, children must take good care of the log, keeping it warm and feeding it, so that it will defecate presents on Christmas Day.

Economics + Culture, Fall 2017, Newsletter III


Bye, Bye Barcelona! Our students are sad they must leave us and astonished to see how time flies, but also excited to go back home to their families and friends to share their amazing Spanish adventure. CIEE EC students have been very busy finishing their final projects and exams, packing their belongings and preparing for the happy holidays that are awaiting them ahead with their loved ones.

Before the starting of the finals students celebrated Thanksgiving and many enjoyed having their families over to visit. At CIEE we celebrated with some cakes and pies so the students could gain strength to challenge the forthcoming exams.


Benefiting from being in a city with so much cultural challenges some of the Economics students have taken this semester Arts and Culture classes with such a wonderful outcome. They enjoyed living Barcelona’s cultural vibe while learning so much! Some of the projects they had to work on include Research Projects under the form of Posters, as the one made by Claudia on Gaudí, or the creation of web pages as the one created by Nicholas on La Alhambra.



La Alhambra by Nicholas Alfaya on Exposure

After a thrilling semester full of new experiences students shared their last hours in Barcelona at the CIEE farewell party, where they talked about how have they changed during the last few months, the many new skills they have accomplished and how much they are going to miss their Spanish journey!


Adiós Barcelona!!