NEW CIEE MADRID STUDY CENTER
The CIEE Fall 2014 Liberal Arts group with the Spanish Student Network
Starting this semester, CIEE Madrid is proud to announce the inauguration of its new Study Center. This new facility is located in the heart of Madrid, just one block from Puerta del Sol, a very convenient location for our group of students with easy access to main public transportation lines, some Madrid historical sights and popular leisure places.
The new CIEE Madrid Study Center includes two fully-equipped classrooms and two spacious student lounges, where students can come to spend time together, work on their class projects, study and wait before attending CIEE classes. The Study Center also has offices for each program, meeting spaces and an office for Student Services for the better living of the students while being in Madrid.
A BUSY SUMMER
RD ATTENDED SIIC IN OREGON
Paco Frisuelos (far left) with classmates and course instructor Sivasailam "Thiagi" Thiagarajan
This past July, the Liberal Arts Program Resident Director travelled to Portland, OR to attend a training program in the Summer Institute of International Culture. As part of his training as RD and facilitator of the Seminar on Living and Learning , Paco Frisuelos joined the course Interactive Experiential Strategies for Intercultural Training following the professional development plan of CIEE for his employees. This course, taught by expert intercultural guru "Thiagi" provided a new approach to the tasks usually undertaken by RDs helping them to envision a new and fresh way that engages students from the start.
STUDENT SERVICES MEETING
Student Services staff from Southern Europe Region met in Barcelona
The summer is a good moment to get together and share experiences and ideas for the new academic year. Therefore, all CIEE student services staff in Southern Europe Region met in Barcelona for several days to share best practices and discuss how to best serve the students during their stay abroad.
Two members of the CIEE Madrid Study Center staff attended - Sonia Sales (Student Services Coordinator) and Patricia Witzig (Housing Coordinator) - bringing their expertise taking initiatives and offering an open willingness to apply new ideas to enrich the jobs they do. A complete new concept of cultural agendas and Housing services was the result of this meeting that surely will make our students' experience even better.
INTERCULTURAL COMPARATIVE EXPERIENCE (ICE)
Renee Spruit (CIEE Amsterdam) with Alana Meek and Paco Frisuelos from CIEE Madrid in Berlin
CIEE has run a new initiative this summer called Intercultural Comparative Experience (ICE). The idea is that students enrolled in some European programs for the summer enjoy a weekend in one chosen capital among Barcelona, Paris, London and Berlin. This initiative will allow students to increase their intercultural awareness though direct exposure to a different culture and to participate in some activities related to the city/country. In London they went to see a play at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Berlin exposed them to the political realities after the wall's demolition, Barcelona taught them the ins and outs of flamenco and the amazing architecture of Gaudí and Paris played with stereotypes of being French.
All the CIEE Madrid staff participated in this initiative travelling to these cities and helping with the large groups, organizing them and debriefing after the activities to ensure the weekend was not just a touristic trip but a reflective experience designed to learn.
Center Director, Eero Jesurun, presenting to the hosts
Living with a host is an important part of the student's experience and a key aspect of our programs. Therefore, we believe it is important that we offer regular training to the group of people that host our student every semester. During the time students were away, we organized a workshop for the hosts to share their experiences and do some case studies to help them prepare for different situations that might arise when having a student at home. Safety procedures, emergency protocols and CIEE rules were revised to assure everyone is on the same page and is able to provide and excellent living experience to each one of our students. This meeting was also held to get to know them better, learn from their experiences, hear about their expectations and help them understand cultural differences for a better experience with our students.
Some of the students participating in the Fall 2014 Liberal Arts Program at Madrid's Plaza Mayor
The start of a new semester always brings a busy week of activities and sessions with the new group. The Fall 2014 Orientation was organized around a series of presentations and activities about academics, safety and emergencies, registration, housing, cultural agenda and living in Madrid. Every day, students came to the study center to learn something new and share their excitement and fears of living in a new city. Visits to the Prado Museum to see masterpieces by Goya, Velazquez or Greco, a bike tour of Madrid Rio, a tour the Retiro Park, a flamenco show, group lunches and a walking tour of Madrid city center were some of the activities organized with the Spanish Student Network to help the group bond and start enjoying the city that will host them for the semester.
US STUDENTS WITH AMERICAN EMBASSY REPRESENTATIVES
CIEE students with US Embassy representative at host institution
While away from your country for four months it is important to count with the help of institutions that can provide assistance when needed. For this reason, we feel it is very important that our students attend the meeting with US Embassy representatives organized by Universidad Carlos III. During the meeting students had the opportunity to learn the services provided by the Embassy in Madrid and were given some recommendations to follow while studying abroad. In an informal and approachable manner, the meeting allowed students to see the city from the perspective of Americans residing here and served as a useful resource for them.
DAYTRIP TO TOLEDO
The Gothic Cathedral in Toledo, an invaluable learning experience
Toledo is one of the cities that everyone should visit when travelling to Spain. Just an hour away from Madrid, Toledo represents a wonderful trip to the past and an great opportunity to review the History of Spain. Being one of the few cities in the world where Catholics, Jews and Muslims lived in harmony, Toledo still preserves traces of the three cultures with its old mosques, its well preserved synagogues and its magnificent Cathedral, all of them presenting an unique mixed of styles that makes of Toledo a jewel for art lovers. Besides, the city is an excellent scenario to discuss recent historical and political events as well as try traditional dishes typical from the region (i.e. marzipan) and discover some of the industries that play an important role in the city's economy, such as steel or damasquinados.
HIKING THE MADRID MOUNTAINS
Taking a break during the hiking excursion to La Navata
Escaping from the big city is always a good plan when the weather is inviting to enjoy nature and fresh air. Thus, a group of students joined a excursion to La Navata, a beautiful area in the Madrid mountains that is a popular hiking destination for outdoors sports lovers. Just a short train ride left the group at the start of some of the paths that lead to different spots where students not only enjoyed the company of trees and rocks but also the presence of roman ruins and beautiful views of the Madrid surroundings. A fun day that will be cherished by all participants.
DAYTRIP TO ARANJUEZ
Student from U. of Colorado Boulder, Villanova U., Tufts U. and Washington and Lee U. over the Tajo River
Half an hour away from Madrid, there is the old town of Aranjuez, a place chosen by Spanish Royals in the 16th century to be one of their official residences. Known by its magnificent 17th century Royal Palace, which was used in some seasons as a retreat of the Madrid court, Aranjuez is a fertile area thanks to the rivers Tajo and Jarama. Thus, the economy of the town is based on the cultivation of strawberries and asparragus, classified as some of the best in the country. Sailing on the river, strolling in the royal gardens and visiting the palace were some of the activities our students participated in during our daytrip. The goal was to learn about the History linked to the city, which played a key role in the start of the Independence War in the 19th century, or the environment that inspired composer Joaquin Rodrigo for his masterpieze "Concert of Aranjuez" and surely our students enjoyed this trip away from the capital city.
A SPECIAL GUEST FROM GORDON COLLEGE
CIEE Madrid staff with Gordon College Professor
This past month, CIEE Madrid was honored with the visit of Professor Pilar Pérez from Gordon College. This was a good opportunity to show her the new Study Center as well as show her how the center works. Professor Perez was very interested in learning the ropes of the different programs we offered in Madrid. During three days she met with staff, visited a homestay, toured the university campus, attended a class of the "Seminar on Living and Learning", and joined a tour with students on diversity in some Madrid barrios. Professor Perez confessed how happily impressed she was with the work CIEE Madrid does with students and was very appreciative of our efforts to make the most of the students' experiences.
CIEE is always welcoming university and college professors and advisors as a good opportunity to exchange best practices while learning on students' needs, demands and expectations. Our study center is open to visitors since it helps us to improve our work undoubtedly.