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14 posts categorized "Resident Director"

04/30/2018

Spring 2018 Mid-Semester Newsletter Liberal Arts Madrid Spain

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This Spring 2018 semester our students are taking great advantage of the many cultural and educational opportunities in Madrid and Spain. Our CIEE Student Life Office staff meets regularly with our Student Representative Council, consisting of five elected CIEE students from the current spring group who provide us with feedback on activities, classes, and overall programming. All students are doing well in their courses and have completed their midterm exams. Here are some other highlights from our semester so far:

Visit to a Pig Farm

The role of pork meat in Spanish culture and cuisine is an essential part of the Iberian food system. Staff organized a visit to a pig farm, approximately two hours outside of Madrid, where animals live in natural environs. CIEE hired a tour guide who explained the outdoor rearing methods of the Iberian pig in the so-called “dehesa” eco system, its economic benefit for the region as well as the controversies surrounding the export of Iberian ham to the US. After meeting the pigs up close and in person, the participants went to a small factory, run by two sisters, who make specialty hams and organize tastings. They could accommodate some exquisite local cheeses for our vegetarian participants as well as provide Hallal meat options for our Muslim students (who do not eat pork). Pig farm 2
Pig farm 2
Pig farm 2
Pig farm 2

Overnight Excursion to Extremadura

Each semester the program has a weekend overnight trip to a region of Spain that allows students to explore the cultural diversity and similarities of the country. In mid-April the group visited the region of Extremadura, located in the South West of Spain by the Portuguese border. Several students commented that it felt like a journey into the heart of old Spain, from the country’s finest UNESCO world heritage sites of Roman ruins in Mérida, to mysterious medieval cities of Cáceres and the village of Trujillo. The local tour guides explained a lot of the historical significance of the cities in Spanish and also pointed out the film scenes from recent Hollywood productions and the storylines that were used for Game of Thrones in Cáceres and Gladiator in Mérida. Students also enjoyed some outdoor kayaking to learn more about the natural landscape and wildlife environment. Extremadura 1
Extremadura 1
Extremadura 1 Extremadura LA

Spanish Student Network

CIEE collaborates with many local students who share modern furnished, WiFi enabled apartments with our participants, but also participate with our students in various cultural activities in the city. So far, some of the more popular activities with Liberal students have been visit to a day trip to a village outside of Madrid with a local resident as tour guide to explain the typical traditions of rural life outside the capital, the visit to the Real Madrid Soccer Museum, and a very successful cooking class: Visit to LA to Mejorada Visit to Soccer Museum Cooking class LA
Health, Safety and Security: Self Defense Class and Sexual Assault Allegations

This semester, CIEE staff coordinated two sessions with a self-defense instructor who met with our student in the Retiro park after classes. The idea behind this class is for participants to learn and practice safe ways to get out of potentially violent situations without getting injured. Self defense class
Recently CIEE staff also spoke with our spring students about the NBC Today show interview with US college students who accused a tour guide with Discover Excursions, which is based in Seville, of sexual assault and other disturbing behavior that occurred between 2013 and 2017.  CIEE staff explicitly advised against using this tour operator because of these serious accusations that have been made against them.  Staff also cautioned students when booking travel with any tour operator that promotes party-centric excursions. In our meetings, we reviewed the independent travel notification protocol, recommend that students travel with companions who they trust and apply the bystander intervention tactics that we discussed in our orientation if a participant sees and determine that a friend might need help. The majority of our students travel together in groups when visiting other cities outside of Madrid and have not used travel operators for any excursions to other European cities.

Welcome to Additional CIEE Staff Members

Our team is growing. This spring we welcome two additional CIEE staff members, who are collaborating full time on various tasks and responsibilities that ensure a smooth running of our programs. We are especially pleased because it allows for additional interaction and support with our participants. Francisco Pascual, worked previously with CIEE Sevilla, and moved to Madrid to join our team in mid-March- as our receptionist and support administrator. Fran is now the first face that our students see when the walk into the Global Institute. He helps to advise students with local cultural resources, but also will lend an extra hand with arranging doctor´s appointments, filing insurance claims, organizing mail delivery, etc. Fran also participates in student activities, such as our bike tour of Madrid. Fran
Maria de la Huerga, is originally from Ibiza and a graduate of the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Maria spent a year living in California as part of a university exchange program and is thrilled to help organize various activities as program assistant with our Student Life Office. Here is Maria on the kayak activity, seated in front. Maria de la Huerga

02/16/2018

Spring 2018 Newsletter Liberal Arts Madrid, Spain

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We are happy to share a few highlights of the start of spring 2018 for the Liberal Arts program in Madrid. Participants have started their classes at the host university, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid after a great welcome by our network of CIEE student helpers, the Director of the International School, the U.S. Consul in Madrid, and the on-site CIEE staff team. Of course, we could not miss a group photo in front of Madrid´s Bear Statue located at Puerta del Sol.  Madrid welcome LA
Flat buddies
Welcome 2 Workshop on Health and Safety: "Cultural Tips, Gender, and Bystander in Madrid”

Students attended a two-hour session at the Global Institute on bystander intervention. During the session, participants discussed the cultural context of giving consent with the participation of Spanish students, who helped with roleplay situations of real examples involving past students. CIEE students learned specific vocabulary and appropriate phrases in Spanish to help in social situations. CIEE staff reviewed similarities and differences in body language, such a touch, physical space, etc.

Students also reviewed and discussed social media apps and its use in Spain with their local peers: How do young people communicate and meet each other? What role does social media play and what are necessary security measures for CIEE students who opt to use social media? When should you exchange your telephone details?

This semester there are several LGTBQ+ participants in Madrid. The group discussed the health and safety of transgender and gay students who want to meet and socialize in Madrid. What does it mean when someone offers to buy you a drink? Is that a common cultural behavior or not?  The session ended with a reminder that students should be intentional about their conduct when meeting others and encourage each other to maintain self-awareness. CIEE staff also shared local resources Cultural Meeting GenderSnow Activity with Spanish Peers in Madrid Mountains

Eighteen students signed up to meet with Spanish students and CIEE staff at 7 am on a Saturday morning at the train station and travel 30 minutes to the Guadarrama National park, located in the Madrid mountains and learn about the ecology conservation efforts and participate in a snowshoeing activity.  The guided event included an explanation of the park project´s aims to protect eleven different ecosystems present in the Guadarrama mountains, including the only Iberian examples of "high Mediterranean mountain". In addition to the surprise of a lot of snow, students also had to endure 20F degree temperatures in the early morning.  Students decided not to build a snow igloo but rather find a cafeteria-bar on the mountain edge for some hot chocolate. Afterwards, when the sun came out, students engaged in throwing snowballs and sliding down some slopes.  Students returned in the late afternoon and said they felt physically exhausted after seeing so much nature and mountains. Snow 1
Snow 1 Igloo 1
Igloo 2

Local Cooking Class with Spanish Chef

Students can choose over thirty cultural activities organized by CIEE staff throughout the semester.  But one of the most popular sign-ups each semester is the gathering for some good food. In this activity, students met at the Global Institute and then took public transport to the east of the city.  Participants joined a local chef in preparing some Spanish dishes, such as paella, in a kitchen environment. The interactive class includes a review of ingredient vocabulary, methods of traditional cooking, reading out recipes in Spanish, repeating pronunciation of Spanish words and learning some basic cooking skills. Students in shared apartments can use these ingredients to make food dishes for themselves during the week with others in their accommodation. LA cooking classSpanish Language Exchange

One of the homestay hosts runs a neighborhood cultural space in Lavapiés neighborhood, considered a trendy multicultural area of Madrid with lost of Indian restaurants, Arab tea rooms, and inexpensive Spanish tapas bars. As part of the Spanish language commitment for Liberal Arts students, CIEE organizes a cultural language event with locals so that students get to meet young Madrid residents who are not students at the host university. This optional event took place during the week and allowed for participants to mingle and practice their Spanish skills. El colmo exchange

 

 

 

12/23/2016

CIEE MADRID LIBERAL ARTS PROGRAM - NEWSLETTER #3

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URBAN ART WORKSHOP

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As a response to the growing interest in urban culture, students were invited to meet local artist JEOSM to learn more about the development of graffiti in Madrid, from the earlier examples by Muelle or Glub to the recent works by E1000 or Boamistura. This workshop not only helped students to learn more about local artists but also they could design their own graffiti and work on it collectively. The group chose to paint a mural with their names surrounding CIEE and leave it as a decoration of the Student Lounge for the remaining of the semester. They really enjoyed practicing with the spray although they were surprised with the difficulty of painting with it, but they loved the experience feeling prepared to appreciate urban art from a different perspective. 

WEEKEND EXCURSION TO GRANADA

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As a complement to our excursion to Northern Morocco, students were invited to visit Granada and learn more about the historical relations between Spain and Islam. Being the last Muslim kingdom in western Europe in the 15th century, Granada is worldwide famous for the magnificent palace of la Alhambra, the official residence of the Muslim kings which became a favorite of the group while visiting its beautiful patios and the splendid garden of el Generalife.  However, Granada is much more than Alhambra as the students had the opportunity to learn during the weekend: the tapas culture that regulates social norms when going out, the ethnic diversity with the presence of gipsy communities who own most flamenco caves in the Sacromonte; the Royal Chapel with the funerary monuments for Isabella and Ferdinand, the monarchs who unified the peninsula, the poems of local writer García Lorca or the crafted works on leather that can be bought for a few Euros. All these elements, make of Granada a fascinating place, a bewitched city where time seems to stand still inviting visitors to dream. 

THANKSGIVING DINNER

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Being far from home for such an important day as Thanksgiving is not easy. Thus, we organized our popular Thanksgiving potluck, inviting the students to participate in a celebration that could make them feel at home. Besides the traditional stuffed turkey, our Thanksgiving dinner offered traditional dishes from  Spain, South Korea and Nigeria that students enjoyed a lot. Dining in a long table, all together was a great opportunity to acknowledge their achievements during the semester and thank to everyone who made possible for them to study abroad in Madrid. It was a fun and touching time which strengthened the bonds among the group before they continued celebrating in the streets of Madrid. 

FAREWELL AT UC3M

FAREWELL

The semester was officially closed at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid in an event where CIEE students were invited to participate. The Director of the International School at UC3M talked to the students highlighting the importance of their study abroad experience and the impact that this semester abroad should bring to their professional and academic future.  IN this informal social gathering, students had the opportunity to say goodbye not only to their classmates but also to their professors who attended the event.

NEW BOOK BY PROGRAM RD

Francisco ("Paco") Frisuelos, Resident Director for the Liberal Arts Program, is the author of a chapter in the newly edited book "Cine e Historia(s)" (Film and History) about the use of misrepresentation and invented events in Film. Published by Université París Sud, Dr. Frisuelos demonstrates how screenwriters and film directors do not respect historical truth as a narrative tool, to build their own histories that become a unfaithful mirror of History.  

This book counts with the collaboration of many faculty members and experts working in the field in different universities in Europe and South America. 

Libro

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

from

ciee madrid

Happy Holidays CIEE Madrid 2016

 

 

 

 

12/01/2016

CIEE MADRID LIBERAL ARTS PROGRAM - NEWSLETTER #2

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EXPLORING A NEW CULTURE AND A NEW CONTINENT

Marruecos 172Riding a camel is one of the activities students have on their to-do list when they plan to travel to Morocco. The idea of visiting the African continent for the first time is very attractive to most of them although they are unfamiliar with the realities of the country. Visiting Morocco with the students is, thus, a great opportunity to explore the relationships between Spain and its African neighbor and approach an Islamic country to learn about the influence of religion on people's lives while escaping stereotypes linked to it.

Our first stop was the port city of Tangiers, where writers such as Paul Bowles or William S. Burroughs got their inspiration for some of their novels from its rambling streets and colorful markets. Students were taken to a women’s center to have lunch, where they met local students and had the chance to talk about social issues regarding youth, career, family, traditions, etc. while tasting local dishes such as couscous and harira soup. The group learned about the role of women in Moroccan society and the use of the hijab, the veil that many women use to identify themselves as Muslim.

Marruecos 119

In Tangiers, students met a group of sub-Saharan immigrants who are waiting for an opportunity to cross the Gibraltar strait and enter Europe in search of new opportunities. In a meeting facilitated by CIEE staff, students were exposed to the realities of immigration, their daily challenges and the way they survive in a strange land. This was an emotional and instructive moment that opened the eyes and raised awareness about a problem that needs to be addressed urgently. 

From Tangiers we moved to the blue city of Chefchaouen in the mountains, where the group was invited for lunch by a local family, having the opportunity to see rural life in Morocco. The members of the family taught the female students how to wear the hijab and showed them how to cook tajin. In this town, the group learned how to bargain and about the bathing rituals at the Hamman. 

Sin título

As an end to the weekend, and before flying back to Madrid, the group travelled to Asilah, a beautiful beach town where they could finally ride camels, leaving the country with the feeling that it had been an intense weekend where new learnings, new approaches and lots of fun mixed together in perfect communion. 

LANGUAGE EXCHANGES WITH CIEE

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Every semester, CIEE Madrid organizes, together with the host university, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, a series of events to foster opportunities to practice (and improve) Spanish with native speakers. In a fun activity, which is very popular among university students, CIEE participants met Spaniards of their age and shared their interest in learning a new language and making new friends. American students were surprised how interested Spanish students are about  the United States, American campus life, their knowledge of American sports and the desire to travel to cities such as New York City or Chicago. CIEE students could exchange WhatsApp and friend them on Facebook, making their first acquaintances on campus with whom to practice their Spanish. 

A CLOSER LOOK TO MADRID

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As part of our Cultural Agenda, students went on a guided tour to learn about the different areas of the city, especially those neighborhoods they do not explore on their own. This past month, we took them to Barrio de Salamanca, the residential and lively area of Madrid where they found a different physiognomy of the city. Exploring the markets, the commercial area with the most famous fashion designers shops (known as the Golden Mile), the monuments in the area, the cultural options and the history behind the urbanistic plan, resulted in an enriching morning getting to know Madrid a little bit more in depth.

However, their favorite part was the cereal bar in the area where we ended the tour. With a selection of more than a hundred types of cereal from all over the world, students enjoyed a late breakfast ordering their favorite brand with tasty toppings bringing them memories from home. 

PROGRAM RD AT CIEE CONFERENCE

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Francisco ("Paco") Frisuelos Krömer, Resident Director for the Liberal Arts Program in Madrid, attended the CIEE Annual Conference that was held in Los Angeles, CA from November 16 to November 19. With a topic focusing on Global Education, Paco led a session on "Intercultural Training for Faculty to Develop Global Initiatives" where he spoke about the importance of the acquisition of intercultural skills to improve the role of Faculty in the student's learning process. Together with Elsa Maxwell, CIEE Academic Director for Intercultural Learning, and two Faculty members from Ausgburg College and Marymount University, the session received record attendance by an audience of faculty and HE administrators interested in the topic.

BIKING ALONG THE MADRID RIVER

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Discovering new areas of Madrid in the middle of the semester is always a nice activity for students. Although they like to explore the city on their own, there are areas of the city they don't visit on their own when they see them on the map. However, when our staff takes them, they discover the wonders of these new areas. This is the case of the Madrid Rio Park. Students like to run and bike in central parks such as Retiro or Oeste, but after visiting Madrid Rio it becomes one of their favorites. New bridges, lots of areas to relax, playgrounds, running tracks, bike paths, nice cafes,... a great offering along the Manzanares river that becomes a park where they return frequently. 

US ELECTIONS: HELPING STUDENTS TO VOTE

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With the US Presidential elections, the students needed some guidance in the process of voting from abroad. Thus, we invited a representative of Rock the Vote to our Study Center to help students with the process of requesting their absentee ballots and to be able to vote on time for the US Presidential election. No student missed this meeting showing their strong interest in participating in the electoral process and in supporting their candidate. Living the elections abroad is also a new experience for students by being exposed to a non-American point of view and being asked questions about the process since Spaniards are very interested in learning about this from an American. 

09/19/2016

FALL 2016 CIEE MADRID LIBERAL ARTS PROGRAM - NEWSLETTER #1

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 ORIENTATION 

Although summer is not over yet, students arrived to Madrid to start their semester abroad. As soon as they were welcomed at the airport by the CIEE Madrid staff, and taken to their homestays, the group showed their excitement for being in such a vibrant city like Madrid. As an icebreaker, students came to the Study Center to meet each other and participated in a fun activity to get to know their respective hosts better. The game helped them discover some things they have in common to make them feel closer to who their family will be while in Spain.  20160823_191135Orientation lasted a week balancing sessions on different useful topics and free time for the students to rest and adapt to Spain's way of living. The group received great support from the CIEE Spanish Student Network who acted as their first contact with people their own age, providing them with tons of tips about the city, academic life, nightlife and local customs. 20160824_184631

Among the activities CIEE offered to the group in these first days, students especially liked the time spent in the Sabatini Gardens with their hosts. The group visited these beautiful gardens which are part of the Royal Palace, giving them a new opportunity to spend time with their hosts outside of the house, getting to know them better and sharing good experiences with them.20160824_203813Their favorite activity was, without a doubt, the cooking class. The idea of learning how to cook Spanish tortilla or learn the basics of a good paella were very enticing for the students who are always ready to try new dishes. Separated into different working groups, students became chefs for a day before eating what they prepared in the most exciting lunch to date this semester. COCINA2Introducing them to local traditions was part of Orientation too, and thus, bullfighting could not be missed. However, the aim of CIEE is to be respectful with everyone's beliefs and ideas and instead of taking student to watch an actual bullfight, they visited the bullring to learn about the tradition, but they also heard how bullfighting is viewed in Spain in different areas. For some students this was a surprise since they believed bulls were not killed or they thought that everyone in Spain were fans of this ancient tradition. However, the activity helped them learn about the fiesta from an un-biased point of view and let them form their own opinion about it. IMG-20160829-WA0001

The tour of the university campus was part of this week too. Students need to get familiar with the campus and the location of the different services offered there. As a way to provide them with a first taste of the university cafeteria, we organized one of the favorite activities for the students: a group lunch there, where they started to get used to eating meals without ketchup and order without waiting in a line. 

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After these initial days in Madrid, there is no doubt that students are ready to live the study abroad experience in Madrid. 

UNIVERSIDAD CARLOS III WELCOMES CIEE STUDENTS 20160902_133711

Alvaro Escribano, Director of the International School at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, inaugurated the academic year at an event where American students were the protagonists. This event counted with the presence of David Gil, director of International Programs at the institution and Mrs. Jane Strai from the American Embassy in Madrid who talked to the students about the services provided by the Embassy to its citizens abroad. The university clubs and associations presented the different activities offered on campus that students can join to enjoy their spare time between classes, which is an excellent opportunity to make new friends.  After the official inauguration and welcoming of students, they were invited to a social gathering where they could chat with professors and meet other students.RECEPCION

 BYSTANDER INTERVENTION WORKSHOP IMG-20160903-WA0012

With the start of the semester, recommendations on emergencies and safety are a must. CIEE is very concerned about the safety of its students and it does not spare any effort to provide as many recommendations as needed to ensure a safe stay to students. Not only do we have presentations on how to live (safely) in Madrid or emergency protocols, but we also held a two-hour workshop on bystander intervention.

Being alone in an unfamiliar setting can put students at risk and that is why CIEE insists on practicing intervention, to remind students of the importance of supporting each other, especially when they go out at night. Following a series of activities and watching some interesting videos with illustrative examples, students were introduced to different ways of intervening in ambiguous situations that might be the result of local customs but not exempt of a preventive intervention to avoid major issues. 

Some students have had similar workshops on their home campuses as this is becoming a widespread practice in the US, but they mentioned that it was very interesting, and enlightening, to go to this type of workshop in a foreign context. Some students had never experienced a workshop such as this and were very thankful for opening their eyes and alerting them of the possible risks they can face and ways of preventing them by collaborating with all participants. 

EXCURSION TO TOLEDO_MG_0303

The old city of Toledo welcomed the group of students on a Friday morning. As soon as the group exited the station, the impressive old town was in sight bringing lots of questions to their heads: the idea of a city founded in an ancient time is the best incentive to want to visit it. The first stop was at the old Roman bridge of Alcantara over the Tajo River where traces of Isabella and Ferdinand introduce the visitor to a trip to the past. Other stops included the old hospital of Santa Cruz (now a museum of religious art) with its beautiful entrance, the Plaza de Zocodover (where the Muslim market took place), the Alcazar, or Fortress, with its four different facades, and the 10th century mosque next to the city walls.  

The Cathedral left the group speechless with its impressive Greco paintings, the wooden choir chairs and Narciso Tome's 18th century decorative motifs. They learnt about Toledo's main tradition (Corpus Christi), the use of the chapter room or the reason behind every altar piece. We visited the Museum of El Greco located in a reproduction of his own house, and the Museum Sefardí, one of the remaining synagogues that now houses the Spanish Jewish Museum. The Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes also completed a visit to a past known for the  co-existence of the three main religious cultures during the Middle Ages: Christians, Jews and Muslims. 

EXPLORING MADRID: LAVAPIES NEIGHBORHOOD

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Could there be anything more attractive for a group of young students than learning about the newest and most vibrant initiatives in town? That's why we invited the group to tour the thrilling area of Lavapies, the most typical neighborhood in the city that is becoming the center of the artistic scene in Madrid. Touring the streets of Lavapies we had the opportunity to discuss recent phenomena such as the ethnic diversity as a result of being the home for many different immigrants of varied origins, and the gentrification of an area that gained a terrible reputation 20 years ago and now is the most attractive area of the city to live in. 

Students had the opportunity to visit an urban garden too, an initiative of the neighbors in the area to offer their children an alternative way of living in the city: tomatoes, lettuce, rosemary, and lavender are planted next to playground areas and communal spaces that welcome all kind of visitors. However, what the group liked the most was the visit to the old Tobacco Factory. A few years ago, a group of young artists occupied this abandoned building to create a space for collaborative initiatives: free music and dance workshops are offered daily, together with free concerts, a second hand clothing trade, a crafts market, and, mainly an underground area where artists can develop their artistic interests. They met a recycling artist and listened to the rehearsal of a music band, and on top of that they took tons of photos of the hundreds of amazing graffiti that decorate the space. 

Student took good note of the location of this place, promising they will return soon to participate in the activities and mingle with members of the community. 20160914_193053

05/20/2016

CIEE MADRID LIBERAL ARTS PROGRAM - NEWSLETTER #3

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DAYTRIP TO ALCALA DE HENARESAlcalá

2016 commemorates the 4th centennial of Cervantes' death, the famous author of one of the most important books ever written, Don Quixote. For this reason, this year has been labeled as "Año Cervantino" (Cervantes' year) to encapsulate all the events and activities related to this important writer all over Spain. Cervantes was born in a little town not far from Madrid, Alcalá de Henares, site of one of the oldest and most prestigious European universities (where CIEE has a summer program).  Thus, it was the perfect occasion to visit the town as a complement to our previous daytrip to La Mancha following the steps of Cervantes' character. 

Students were surprised by the charm of Alcalá; its quiet streets surrounded by ancient buildings invited them to travel back to the 17th century when the novel was first published; its welcoming population showed their pride of this little city that played an important role, culturally speaking, in the past. The group visited the university's old buildings, the old corral de comedias (one of the oldest theaters in the world), and the house where Cervantes was born in 1547 and many other sites that resulted in a happy discovery for the group of students. 

CIEE AT THE MOVIES  Julieta

Pedro Almodovar is the most well-known Spanish filmmaker outside of the country. Winner of two Academy Awards, his films are studied in many universities and are the subject of many International conferences. Thus, attending his new film release was a special occasion for our students who love movies. "Julieta", Almodovar's latest motion picture, is a story where women have an active and protagonist role - as is common in all  of his films - but also an excellent portrait of pain, guilt, and remorse. Based on three short stories by Canadian author, Alice Munro, the movie is a good example of Spanish idiosyncrasy portrayed by a series of female characters that show the intensity of human relations in Almodovar's universe

CIEE COURSE: INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION AND LEADERSHIP1459351777365

Communication across cultures is more difficult than what it may seem at first. Students arrive in Madrid confident with their Spanish as the key tool for an effective communication. Soon, they realize that language is not enough, there is a lot of non-verbal language that they don't understand or misinterpret; cultural dimensions that are unnoticed can create misunderstandings or false expectations, leading to frustration and stress. Thus, a course like the CIEE elective "Intercultural Communication and Leadership" helps students to understand the unseen elements of Spanish culture while comparing them with their own. They learn to appreciate different perspectives, approach reality suspending judgement and be open to difference in a new way.

This course, taught in Spanish, makes them work in reflecting on the study abroad experience and how it makes them mature and grow personally, acquiring the skills that will help them to lead in multicultural environments. The course mixes classes at the CIEE study center with activities outside of the classroom, like visiting Madrid’s largest cemetery as a way to learn about the concept of death in Spanish culture, the traditions linked to it, the idea of the eternal rest and the link to religion, the display of status through tombstones, etc.

Visits to the Royal Palace, LGTBQ quarter, markets, and an ethnic immigrant enclave help them learn not only about customs but also to be more aware of signs of identity and different approaches to daily routines.

CAREER PLANNING WORKSHOP20160412_164433

Given the successful workshop that Founder and Director of Pygmalion Branding, Javier Iglesias, offered to our students last semester, we invited him again to help students to work on their resumes and cover letters, as well as become familiar with numerous resources for job hunting. The workshop helped students to use new tools to transform a job application into an effective presentation of a qualified job candidate. Working on their cover letters and resumes was also a big part of the session, where the group had the opportunity to learn how to include their study abroad experiences, not only in academic terms, but also as new acquired skills and strengths. Students were very happy with the session finding it very useful for their future plans and taking away a deeper knowledge that will help them when applying for a job.

BIKE TOURIMG_9391

The good weather invited us to go out and enjoy the outdoors. We all rented a bike and went to the area of Madrid Rio, the new park of Madrid along the Manzanares River. This area used to be a highway and several years ago it was rebuilt underground to use the area as a recreational park, full of sports tracks, green areas, fountains, and a long path for runners, roller skaters and bikers. Next to it, the Matadero de Madrid (the old Madrid slaughterhouse) is now one of the alternative cultural spaces of the capital of Spain, with it amazing movie theater, its exhibition rooms and an excellent offer of theatrical performances. Students visited it learning about the transformation of Madrid, remodeling old abandoned spaces to convert them into areas where young people, like our students, can have access to many cultural and recreational resources. 

URBAN ART WITH LOCAL ARTISTIMG_9408

There is no doubt that our students have a strong interest in urban art. When we take them on tours, they are always asking and photographing all kinds of examples of art that seem to offer a bigger connection with them than the one they can find in art galleries. Therefore, we organize an interesting activity to help them understand much better about urban art and graffiti. For the first half of the activity, they met with urban artist, JEOSM who explained the regulations about painting in the street, the different types of urban art and some of the most famous works in Madrid. After the students got a better perspective and knowledge on the subject, they were invited to paint their own graffiti. To avoid any legal issues, they painted it in the artist studio, allowing their creativity to flow while using spray cans and templates freely.

At the end of the activity, all students received a book about Madrid graffiti as a present to remember their "contribution" to this extended way of artistic expression. 

RE ENTRY SEMINAR20160420_171048

Every year, when the semester comes to an end, we organize a "Re-entry" workshop. This is a very important event for all of our programs since it provides very useful information to the students about reverse culture shock and helps them to prepare their return to the US. Students always assume that returning home will be easy, they do not expect that they could face some distress dealing with mixed feelings and finding themselves out of place even being in their own culture. The workshop guides the students through the necessary steps to lessen the transition linked to the return, helping them to reflect on the things they want to do before leaving and be prepared for what they might experience once they are back. Through a series of exercises, activities and alumni testimonials, students approach a reality that is completely new for most of them and found it of great help. 

 

FAREWELL EVENT  20160427_133226_HDR

 Time flies and the Spring 2016 semester is over. Students are done with finals and use their remaining time in Madrid to do all those things they haven't done yet or to enjoy their favorite spots and activities before they leave the country. As a way to celebrate a fantastic semester, we took the group to a final activity to the Amusement Park of Madrid. It was the time to be together for the last time while having fun and laughing endlessly. But we also met at the study center to have some snacks and play our Madrid cultural jeopardy, to test, in a fun way, how much they know about their host city, which is always a popular activity. To put the final note to the semester we prepared the following video summarizing their semester in Madrid/Spain which will help them cherish their memories of an unforgettable time.  

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03/17/2016

SPRING 2016 - CIEE MADRID LIBERAL ARTS PROGRAM - NEWSLETTER #2

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 WEEKEND STUDY TRIP TO BARCELONA  BARNA02

Traveling to different parts of Spain is a very important element of a program whose aim is to get students to know the Spanish culture and its rich diversity better. Thus, in the month of February the group spent a weekend in Barcelona, the famous Spanish city by the Mediterranean Sea. Coinciding with the celebration of the city's patron saint, St. Eulalia, students were exposed to the political and social realities of the region as well as all the cultural manifestations of Catalan culture..

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Students were able to learn about sardana, the traditional Catalan dance, which is danced in a circle holding hands. Students were invited to join and they did not hesitate. Steps are not that difficult to learn and they mingled with the locals dancing in front of the cathedral.  

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As it was a holiday in Barcelona, we took the group to the Town Hall Square to learn about the Giants tradition, an old celebration in which  many cardboard figures representing old kings and queens parade in the streets swirling around as a symbolic representation of the different masters of the territories from the past.    BARNA03

It was also calçots season, a kind of spring onion that is only eaten in this region. In one of our group meals, the students could try traditional dishes of the Catalan culture, such as pa amb tumaquet, butifarra or calçots which were well enjoyed by them.  

BARNA01But being in Barcelona means learning about Gaudí and Modernist architecture. The amazing shapes Gaudi gave to his buildings still astonish visitors who fall in love with the mixture of colors and the imagination which he used to create such unique buildings. We visited some of the houses he designed along Paseo de Gracia and entered the Temple of the Holy Family, still under construction, one of the most important attractions of the city and one of the favorites for our group of students. 


CIEE INTERNSHIPS

A semester abroad is not only a lifetime experience, but also the opportunity to acquire professional experience through an Internship. Some of our Liberal Arts students chose that option with the aim to learn more in a professional setting, improve their resumes, and show future employers their ability to adapt to new and different working environments. Working in Madrid helps them develop new skills and also to put into practice a lot of the ideas and new knowledge they acquire in their studies. 

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This semester students are very satisfied with their placements since they are aware of the relevance of this opportunity. For instance, a Journalism major is interning at EL PAIS, Spain’s leading newspaper, leader in communication and media. She works for the English section of the newspaper, translating news and writing some articles for the online version. Working in such an important newspaper will undoubtedly be a great asset to the student when she starts working for a job back in the US. This semester we also have students interning in other fields such as Film (a student is working on a documentary about Spanish filmmaker Carlos Saura), Finances or Sports.

The Internship is a CIEE course which also has an academic component. Students have to meet weekly to attend a seminar on Spain and the specifics of the labor market, working philosophy and attitude toward work of Spaniards, an intercultural experience that is very eye-opening.  

CIEE ACTIVITY: LANGUAGE EXCHANGE

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This semester, the Liberal Arts Program has expanded the number of activities that foster the learning of Spanish language. Besides the traditional AELE sessions and the "Meet and Talk" events, this semester students have the opportunity to participate in language exchange meetings with Spanish students. Hosted in a local bar, owned by one of the CIEE hosts, the CIEE group were introduced to a group of Spanish volunteers through a series of icebreakers which helped them to find people with similar interests. Then, while enjoying a light drink and snacks, the groups split into pairs to chat informally. All Spanish participants had international experience, having studied abroad for one or more semesters, and for this reason, they want to stay in touch with international students providing their experience and knowledge to our students. These sessions not only provided a good practice of the language but an easy way to meet locals who can contribute to a more real experience in Spain, breaking the "American bubble".

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AN EVENING AT THE THEATERTeatro

 Madrid is an exciting capital with a varied cultural offering. Students have access to many different cultural events that can accommodate their different tastes in art, music, theater, etc. This semester we took a group of theater lovers to the amazing new playhouse in Conde Duque, a 17th century army barracks that has now been renovated as a cultural center. The play was a revisitation of Shakeaspeare's Romeo and Juliet by La Joven Compañía (The Young Theater Company), a troupe of young actors who bring topics that young audiences can connect with to the stage. In this case, the eternal love story of Verona lovers was transmitted to the TV  world of Big Brother context mixing music, images and the play itself. Students were enthusiastic about this version and the mise-en-scéne which resulted in a very enjoyable evening. 

 

MADRID QUARTERS: EXPLORING MADRID IN DEPTH   IMG_2393

Madrid is a multicultural city with a variety of areas with marked identities. The central neighborhoods are undergoing a rapid transformation as a result of the new urbanistic plans and initiatives which reflects the personality of their inhabitants. Not all students have an adventurous soul and those leave Madrid without visiting most of it. Thus, we organize these walks around different quarters of Madrid to help students discover new areas and a full new range of options. After visiting the most popular ones like La Latina, Sol or Malasaña, we took students on a walking tour of some areas that offer lots of interesting things and new perspectives on Madrid: Barrio de Salamanca and Lavapies. The former is a prestigious area where the high economic level is present through luxury businesses, and a different urban display as a result of being a relatively modern area of the city; the latter is one of the most multicultural areas of Madrid, where a huge number of immigrants live together with locals and where lots of social and cultural projects take place, offering an alternative view of what Madrid is.  IMG_2396

IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF DON QUIXOTE

  20160311_125354[1]Visiting rural Spain can be a very interesting activity that students usually don't have access to. Little pueblos can show the authentic idiosyncrasies of Spaniards and reveal some of their values and norms for living. Thus, we took our students on a trip to La Mancha, following the route of Don Quixote, the universal character created by Miguel de Cervantes with many ideas in mind. First, we wanted those students who are taking Golden Age Literature, or have read Cervantes' novel, to visit the real scenes that can help them picture those descriptions created in the 17th century. Also, we wanted to offer a business point of view and show students how the region has developed a very interesting industry around a fictional character that seems a historical figure. Besides, a trip around places like Almagro, Puerto Lápice or Consuegra, not only bring history into our discussion, but also anthropology, learning about typical dishes like pisto manchego, local industries like wine and Manchego cheese or  traditions like cesteria (basketmaking). A beautiful early Spring day accompanied us to enjoy one of the oldest theaters in the world in Almagro and the witnessing of the functioning of windmills which still use 16th century mechanisms. Quijote

HOUSING MEETING AND HOSTS TRAINING

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In CIEE Madrid we consider our Housing Program to be a key factor in the success of the student experience abroad. For this reason, we keep not only a close relationship with our group of hosts, but also we provide them support and guidance to help them improve the experience of having an American student at home. This month, we held our semester Host Meeting where different members of the Madrid staff participated. The Housing Coordinator, Patricia Witzig, provided all kind of updates on the program, communicated future plans, and especially she informed about all safety and emergency protocols and the role expected from hosts. After this presentation, Madrid Center Director, Eero Jesurun, talked to them about Academics, discussing student expectations and the most common incidents and situations related with exams, grades, and classes among students. To end the session, the Liberal Arts Resident Director, Paco Frisuelos, offered some training in Intercultural Communication speaking about Non-Verbal Communication in an aim to improve the way hosts can understand what students try to express. At the end of the session, hosts pointed how useful the content was and how eye-opening was for many of them. 

02/08/2016

SPRING 2016 - CIEE MADRID LIBERAL ARTS PROGRAM - NEWSLETTER #1

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ORIENTATION

The Liberal Arts group arrived on January 13th and were welcomed at the airport by CIEE staff who accompanied them to their homestays. Nervous and excited, they participated that evening in an initial activity to meet other CIEE staff, the Spanish Student Network and the rest of the Liberal  Arts Program students. This was the starting poing to the Spring 2016 Orientation that offered them many sessions and actitivities to ease their adaptation to Spain. 

20160113_194831Every morning students attended sessions at the Study Center where they were introduced to new approaches to topics such as safety in Madrid, the Spanish academic system, socializing in the big city, challenges for the semester, etc. Through a series of games and interative activities students were able to express their concerns about the coming months and fostered the discussion about how to make the best of the study abroad experience.

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Orientation included a welcome event at the host institution, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, attended by Mr. Sergio Moreno and Mrs. Jane Strai from the American Embassy in Madrid, who provided very useful tips regarding staying safe while being abroad, as well as ennumerated a list of services the American Consulate offers to American citizens. Students toured the campus, got familiar with some of the university facilities and learned to use the commuter train that will take them to the campus every day.

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But Orientation was also a time to mingle with Spanish students and get to know better everyone else better, so we organized a daily activity where they could learn more about Spanish customs, such as tours of the city, tapas night, a treasure hunt to help them learn the metro system, or a taste of churros and chocolate in one of the oldest cafeterias in Madrid. 

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SESSION ON SAFETY: BYSTANDER INTERVENTION WORKSHOP

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It is not always easy to know what to do in certain situations. It is not always easy to understand what other people's intentions could be. It could be confusing when cultural differences are present in ambiguos situations. Therefore, we host an interactive workshop on bystander intervention to examine what this is, as well as provide some tips on how to intervene in potentially risky situations.  Using real cases scenarios, very illuminating videos and some activities that invite participants to reflect, students participated in a two-hour worshop that gave them a culturally specific approach to intervention in situations that could be very common during their stay here. With the collaboration of CIEE Spanish Student Network, the workshop offered different perspectives and respected all points of views, but created a sense of group that will work collectively to preserve the safety of each other while being far from home. 

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CIEE MADRID SPANISH STUDENT NETWORK

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When students arrived to Madrid they are impatient to meet people their age and learn the ropes about young life. CIEE Madrid counts with the help of a group of Spanish students from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid who collaborates with the program from the start of the semester. This great group of students provides tips to American students about academic life,  what young people do, where to go, Spanish customs, colloquial Spanish, popular social apps, etc. Thus, from the very beginning, our students count with accesible youngsters who soon become their friends and an useful resource, not only in campus, but in the city as well. Our Spanish Student Network is very enthusiastic when it comes to participate in Orientation and activities. All its members have studied abroad either in the United States or Europe and they are familiar with the challenges that this experience presents to our students, so they enjoy helping them and organizing social events to take them like visiting the flea market or showing them around the most popular areas of the city.

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FLAMENCO WORKSHOP

When we proposed  participation in a Flamenco workshop to the students, the response was enthusiastic. They were excited and looking forward to the time they would meet Melody, the flamenco teacher. The day we took them to the flamenco school, no one hesitated to tap their feet onthe floor, raise their arms up gracefully, or clap their hands rhthmically. Students felt priviledged to be part in such a Spanish tradition that did not  mind the difficulties that this ancient dance entails. 

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Accompanied by a singer (cantaor) and a guitarrist, Melody asked them to follow her step by step to get them to feel at ease to enjoy the choreography. They laughed out of excitement and helped each other when they were stuck in a difficult part. Melody taught them not only to dance, but also provided them with cultural background and reviewed the different rythms that make Flamenco such an unique music. When the workshop ended, the students turned to CIEE staff and asked unanimously "when are we doing this again?"

 

CIEE MADRID CULTURAL AGENDA

Although the students have been here for less than a month, they have already been busy participating in lots of cultural activities. Every semester, CIEE Madrid organizes a complete cultural agenda that offers a variety of activities to respond to the group participants' different interests. Activities are optional but included in the program; they are always led by a CIEE member and provide a fun but rigurous approach to culture.  

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One of the first activities this semester was an exhibit about Jules Verne. The exhibit not only reviewed the life and works of the popular French writer, but also showed his visionary world of inventions and developments and his influence in the society of 19th century. Students loved to explore the exhibition discovering, in some cases, that the seed for modern inventions was in the mind of Jules Verne. 

They also participated eagerly in a cooking class. The idea of learning how to cook Spanish dishes was happily received. They all put on an apron and got ready to make easy Spanish recipes that they can practice at home and offer to their families once they return to the US. The group listened and followed instructions carefully, they worked diligently with ingredients that were  new to them and were surprised at how easy these tasty dishes were to prepare.

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Part of idea of the Cultural Agenda is to bring students closer to Spain's rich artistic legacy, thus a visit to the Prado Museum was a must. With paintings by Velazquez, Goya or El Greco and masterpieces by Bosch, Titian, Rubens or Rembrandt, a tour of this amazing museum is also a history lesson. Some of the students are taking Art History classes and this visit is their first approach in situ to the paintings they will study in class. For other students, art might not be among their academic interests but they join us to visit the Prado to learn more about the royalty patronage, the influence of the Catholic Church in art, and the different languages and symbols artists used to express their souls.  20160205_155735

The month of January ended with a daytrip to El Escorial. The 16th century monastery was also the royal residence for Phillip II, the most powerful man of his time. Created to pay tribute to his Hapsburg family and his religious beliefs, San Lorenzo de El Escorial is today a good way to approach to an era where buuildings were a monuments filled with symbols that provide us with a better understanding in the way people lived (and thought) several centuries ago.

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Not far from El Escorial el  Valle de los Caídos is located, the most significant monument of the Franco dictatorship. A basiclica carved-in-stone, crowned with a humungous cross is today an almost abandoned monument, still a very sensitive place for lots of Spaniards. However, it is a great scenario to teach students about the Spanish  Civil War and the Franco Dictatorship since it helps them understand what it meant for 20th century Spain and the impact of it today. The monument is located in a beautiful area in the mountains of Madrid, surrounded by trees and water, which would have been a great place for what the monument was supposed to be: the eternal resting place and tribute to the casualties of the Civil War, one of the saddest episodes in recent Spanish History.

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12/16/2015

FALL 2015 CIEE MADRID LIBERAL ARTS PROGRAM - NEWSLETTER #3

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WEEKEND TRIP TO GRANADA

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One of the most popular destinations in the world, Granada offers visitors a dazzling mix of past and present and a rich cultural link to its historical past.  After having visited the Basque Country, in northern Spain, visiting Andalucía was a must, providing our students with a unique opportunity to see the contrast between the North and the South and observe a different way of living. Granada was also on everybody's “must-see” lists. The old Muslim palace of la Alhambra attracts millions of visitors every year and they did not want to miss it. This beautiful and perfect combination of architecture and nature, royal residence, garden and fortress has not only inspired hundreds of artists and writers, but also provides a great frame to discuss the current conflicts derived from religion and the very peculiar historical past of Spain.   

Granada is also the birthplace of world-renowned poet and playwright Federico García Lorca and the city that the Catholic Monarchs, Isabella and Ferdinand chose as their last abode. It is a city with a lively, young nightlife based on the tapas culture, which delighted our group, and it is one of the best places in the world to enjoy pure flamenco in its multiple forms. Without a doubt it was a weekend excursion to expand knowledge and enjoy cultural differences.

 TOUR OF REAL MADRID SOCCER CLUB

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As part of the CIEE course, International Business, students visited the facilities of the Real Madrid soccer club. As a way to learn about an important Spanish Brand, students were able to go over the club's strategies, known all over the world even in countries were soccer is not a major sport. Some of the most important soccer legends such as Beckham, Zidane or Ronaldo have played an important role in the marketing plans of the club, not only in publicity but also as team assets who everybody wants to see in action at least once in their lifetime. Real Madrid is not only an important company/club that generates millions of Euros every year but also one of the best soccer teams in the world, winning many international and national championships every year which speaks not only of its intelligent management but also its excellent sport qualities.

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VISITING THE PRADO MUSEUM

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While being in Madrid, a visit to the Prado Museum is a must. The art gallery offers the visitor an excellent collection of masterpieces by artists such as Rubens, Titian, Rembrandt, and Bosch, as well as some of the best examples of Spanish paintings through the art of Greco, Velazquez or Goya. The tour was not only intended to give students a glimpse of the works at the museum,  but also to understand the evolution of art concepts and techniques, the relationship between art and society, and the role of the Monarchy and Church as collectors and patrons. Students could see, on site, some of the paintings they are studying in class and develop some skills to reflect in front of a painting.  

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This semester, the CIEE Internship course invited Javier Iglesias, Founder and Director of Pygmalion Branding, an innovative company that works in professional profiles to optimize job searching. Our group of students attended a session where they reviewed the steps to follow when it comes  time to search for a job. During the session, students were given some tools and hints that can transform their job application into a more effective one. Working on their cover letters and resumés was also a big part of the session, where the group had the opportunity to learn how to include their study abroad experiences, not only in academic terms, but also as new acquired skills and  strengths. Students were very happy with the session finding it very useful for their future plans and taking away a deeper knowledge that will help them when applying for a job.

CIEE COURSE: INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION AND LEADERSHIP

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Students enrolled in the CÏEE course "Intercultural Communication and Leadership" visited  the Ayaan Hirsi Ali women's center to learn more about attention to domestic violence and abuse against women. Students in the class were offered the opportunity to learn more about diversity in Spain, since this center works mostly with Magreb women but also Latin American, Eastern European and Spanish women. The group met with the center director, Concha Méndez, who explained the different departments of the center to help women deal with difficult issues, from domestic violence to eviction, and divorce. The center has a psychologist, an intercultural mediator, a lawyer and other professionals who understand the women’s cultural differences and what is considered right and wrong in their home cultures. This was a very interesting visit where students spent time asking many different questions about the topic which helped them to compare with the same topic back in the US.

The group also visited the Royal Palace as a lead in to discuss the Spanish concept of Power Distance and Hierarchical status. A walk through the never-ending halls and chambers learning about the privileges of royalty and the way they have been living for centuries helped them to understand this concept that does not exist in the US. Students were surprised with the way they lived and by the European fascination with royalty and aristocrats such as Queen Letizia of Spain, Duchess Katherine or Baroness Carmen Thyssen

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CIEE STAFF VOLUNTEERING AT NATIONAL CAMPAIGN 

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Every year Banco de Alimentos (Food Bank), a Spanish organization that works nationwide, organizes a food drive in a large number of supermarkets all over the country. The idea is to ask people to donate food for those in a precarious situation who need help to eat every day. CIEE staff decided to participate this year and volunteer  to help with the campaign. CIEE staff split into different groups to work in different supermarkets providing information about the campaign and selecting the products that were donated to prepare them for further delivery. During the weekend campaign, the expectations on food gathering were surpassed being a total success. After that, all food will be donated to different NGOs for distribution securing food for many families for the next months. A very gratifying activity before the Holiday season that CIEE staff enjoyed a lot. 

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THANKSGIVING DINNER

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The end of November marks a very special time for students abroad. Being away from home during Thanksgiving is not always easy, and so we organized a special dinner for all the students at our Study Center. Patricia Witzig, Housing Coordinator, cooked a big turkey that delighted the group.  They all contributed with some dinner preparations bringing those dishes that cannot be missing from a Thanksgiving dinner. In an unforgettable evening, students pronounced their appreciation words and participated in different fun activities and games that made the event even more enjoyable. The celebration ended late with happy faces that showed students satisfaction and acknowledgement for a celebration that made them feel (almost) at home.   

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HISTORY THROUGH THE WAY WE DRESSED 

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Madrid has a very unique museum which provides an interesting approach to History: the Museo del Traje (Costume Museum). The collection allows the visitor to see garments from 18th century onwards contributing to the idea of daily life back then. Through this lesson on the way people dressed throughout different decades we can relate to the changing roles of women in society, the way children were looked after, societal hierarchies, the importance of accessories for social use, etc. The collection reaches the 21st century with the works of important designers and the use of new materials never before used in fashion which also speaks of the sign of our times and provides an interesting glimpse into the far future. 

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The CIEE staff signed up for a charity run in the center of Madrid. Organized by a national NGO and an important corporation, the run raised funds for charity purposes. In a mass race, the blue CIEE t-shirt mixed with the runners who responded to a call of solidarity in a type of event that has become very popular in Madrid. People, just as CIEE staff, are attracted for the opportunity to contribute to those in a situation of need while practicing sports and having fun, always keeping in mind the good cause that motivates runners.

FAREWELL EVENT

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When the semester is over it is time to look back and think about the achievements everyone has made during the semester, review the goals they brought, comment on the challenges they went through and set goals for the future, but it is also a time to celebrate, get together as a group for the last time and toast for the completion of a great semester which allowed us to have a great learning experience meeting each other while learning about Spain and its culture. The group, then, went to the trendy area of Malasaña to celebrate and say goodbye to peers and staff and have a last happy memory as a group

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THE CIEE MADRID LIBERAL ARTS PROGRAM WISHES YOU  

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10/28/2015

FALL 2015 - LIBERAL ARTS PROGRAM NEWSLETTER #2

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STUDY TRIP TO THE BASQUE COUNTRY  20151002_175005_HDR

Exploring the diverse Spanish geography allows students to discover new and unexpected places. Our weekend excursions give students a break from their academic obligations while encouraging group bonding between participants and staff.

A visit to Bilbao, the capital city of Euskadi (Basque Country) was a good start to approach cultural differences within Spain and be surrounded by a very different landscape. Our first day in the city included a tour of the old town (revising local customs related to gastronomy, the conflictive political situation in the past and the transformative power of intelligent urban projects) and a visit to Frank Gehry’s magnificent Guggenheim Museum which astounded everyone.

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During the weekend we also spent some time in San Sebastian where the group was able to visit its main sights, including the beautiful beach of La Concha, home to several impressive works by the famous master sculptor Eduardo Chillida. A beautiful sunny day allowed us to enjoy the beach and learn about the International Film Festival that takes place every September in the avant-garde building by Spanish architect Rafael Moneo known as Kursaal.

After these trips, there is no doubt that our group has acquired a more in-depth understanding of the different regions of Spain, its people and its customs.

INTERNSHIPS  Aitana

Getting a highly competitive job after graduation is a priority for most of our students. The CIEE Internship course paves the path to a promising future full of professional opportunities through exposure to an intensive experience which combines a demanding academic component, as well as a committed placement in a company, or NGO, which best suits students’ interests.

 This semester, students from the Liberal Arts Program are working as interns in different areas. For instance, working with refugees and immigrants to provide legal support for living in Spain that defends and protects them is the main purpose of an NGO where one of our students has been working during this semester. From the very beginning she has had the opportunity to integrate into the NGO as a full member, attending different activities and meetings where she is learning what the day-to-day work with people in a situation of need is like, as well as the effect of the different European immigration regulations.

 After this four-month period of hard work, students will have gone through a learning process which will facilitate their access to the best opportunities of interest in the law field back in the US.

STUDENTS VISIT TELEFONICA FOUNDATION

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Telefónica is one of the most important Spanish communication corporations which is present in many South American countries as well as in Europe and Africa. Students enrolled in the CIEE course International Marketing visited as part of the class its emblematic building located on Madrid’s most popular avenue as part of the class.

Leader in technology and communication devices, during the visit students had the opportunity to see all the new products and, especially, the marketing campaigns created to keep their leadership in the market. The visit, led by the course instructor, allowed students to learn about new concepts on global marketing and international advertising campaigns, overcoming obstacles and beating competitors while maintaining the company's growth and expansion all over the world.

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MEET & TALK: A FUN WAY TO MEET SPANIARDS

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Separated in different mixed groups, CIEE students sat ready to participate in an activity host by CIEE and Aula de Idiomas at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. The groups filled with enthusiastic Spanish students looking forward to meeting new American friends and the CIEE students ready to have fun while establishing  first contacts with the Spaniards from the university. 

With pre-prepared questions in hand, they have three minutes to answer it in English or in Spanish before moving on to the next partner. The hour session allows students to quickly get to know their Spanish piers, and find the people they best connect with on common themes to get together later to go to concerts, practice sports or get to know Madrid’s nightlife.

After the quick ice breaker, students have the opportunity to sit with those they found a quick connection and discuss those topics of their interest before they exchange phone numbers to plan future meetings. 

THE CIEE DIFFERENCE: MARKETS EXPLORATION

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Food is an important aspect of culture and a great way to explore it. Not only through the tasting of typical dishes but going deeper exploring many other indicators related to food that provide a lot of information about a culture. Thus, we took our students to some markets in Madrid to expose them to many customs in the way Spaniards do their groceries. Concepts of freshness or product display, or the way people organize turns without forming a line were eye openers ideas for the group as well as a bunch of completely new products they have never seen before as percebes (barnacles), navajas (razor clams), chirimoyas (custard apples) or nísperos (loquats or Japanese plums).

They also looked at different concepts of what a market is today: from the touristic market of San Miguel to the regular market of Barceló, where Spaniards go to buy their groceries, without forgetting new spaces where visitors can have a gastronomical experience as well as purchasing the food they just tasted (like Market of San Miguel or San Ildefonso). Students commented on the beautiful variety of colors and products in the markets and the lively atmosphere that those spaces provided, inviting them to try everything that was there.

WORKSHOP IN AMSTERDAM: STAFF TRAINING IN INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION

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Madrid LA Program Resident Director, Paco Frisuelos, took the lead on two different cohorts in a training program on Intercultural Communication that took place in Amsterdam during the month of October. Together with Elsa Maxwell, Teach Coordinator at the CIEE Study Center in Valparaiso, Chile; Paco facilitated a series of sessions as part of an ambitious program led to reach each CIEE employee all over the world. Mixing activities, lectures, debriefs and self-reflection exercises, both cohorts were challenged to dive deep into the field of intercultural communication and its useful application to daily duties.

Staff from France, Czech Republic, Australia, Russia, Canada, Germany, Spain, Thailand, Ireland, Peru, China, Bonaire, Poland, Brazil and Jordan enjoyed these workshops putting together new insights on the work of international education as well as coming away with fresh ideas on how approach their work in a more intercultural way, enhancing bridging among cultures.

 

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